The Beginnings of Shakespeare

New Finds and Fresh Thoughts with Professor Michael Wood

This is a recording of a past event
17 November 2021


What were the social, political and artistic influences that shaped the young William Shakespeare before he moved to London to find fame and fortune in the theatre?

Until recently, studies have tended to focus on the poet’s family background; his schooling and education; and his first encounters with drama. But increasingly, historians are understanding him as part of the generation which grew up during a huge shift between the traditional thought-world of late Medieval England and the new Protestant order, imposed during the reign of Elizabeth 1st.

Fascinating recent finds – including some twenty new documents on his father – are transforming our view of the poet’s background. In particular, the bitter politics of Reformation Warwickshire, which it is now clear touched his own family.

In this illustrated talk the historian Professor Michael Wood – author of the highly-praised biography In Search of Shakespeare (2003) – looks at what we can learn from the recent discoveries.

professor michael wood

Professor Michael Wood OBE

Born in Manchester and educated at the Manchester Grammar School, Michael Wood is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester. He is the author of many books and 120 documentary films including a four-part film biography of Shakespeare for BBC2 and Shakespeare’s Mother for BBC4. Michael was awarded an OBE in 2021.

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