"What's in a name?"

Many words but little handwriting

Did he really write all those plays? And what about the soppy sonnets? Was Shakespeare not as other men are or does a good vocabulary make you good with colours? Forsooth - all will be revealed.

Tony has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Rupert Gould’s production of The Merchant of Venice so he gives insight as to how the bard is revered by the players. (He might even tell you the anecdote of meeting Patrick Stewart in a lift if you ask him!)

Much ado about nothing?

Who were the sonnets written for?

Shakespeare was a happily married man (as far as we know) and one supposes his wife Anne might have been his muse. But there is a school of thought that supposes the subject of many of his best love poems was in fact a man! It was the Earl of Southampton who was his main benefactor and he was said to be a good looking youth. Was the bard’s head turned?

All that punctuation

Tony’s talk will astound you with the numbers of commas, full stops and semi colons throughout Shakespeare’s work. But the biggest single thing to note is that he wrote the word 'love' a hundred times more than he wrote the word 'hate'.

Some curiosities

Unless you are Francis Bacon most people agree that he was the greatest author the English language ever spawned. But there are some curiosities. How can you write a play about Venice and not mention canals? How does a commoner know so much about royal protocol?

Did he write the plays?

A curse and candidate for authorship

When working at Warwick Castle, Tony uncovered a story that they think the author was the castle’s owner Fulke Greville. And there’s a curse on Shakespeare’s grave so we will never be able to did him up and analyse his DNA.