Issue Date: 05/04/2016
Issue Name: 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare
Producer: Buckingham Covers
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. To celebrate one of the greatest playwrights ever, Royal Mail are producing 10 stamps which will feature a quote from some of his most famous plays and sonnets.
The quotes on these five stamps come from: Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, and Much Ado About Nothing.
In the 16th Century English playing companies used inns, yards, halls and private houses for their performances. In 1576 the actor-manager James Burbage built the first purpose-built playhouse in London, the Theatre in Shoreditch. However in 1596 there was some dispute over the renewal of the lease, Burbage died in February 1597 and in April the lease expired, but the dispute went on for another two years.
In 1598, members of the company dismantled The Theatre beam by beam and transported it to a waterfront warehouse near Bridewell. In the following spring, the material was ferried over the Thames to reconstruct it as The Globe south of Maiden Lane, Southwark. Shakespeare was one of four actors who bought a share in the Globe. For 14 years it thrived, presenting many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.
On 29 June 1613 the Globe Theatre burned to the ground. During a performance of Henry VIII a theatrical cannon misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching. The theatre was quickly rebuilt, this time with a tiled roof. Shakespeare probably never wrote for the new Globe, though it remained the home for Shakespeare’s old company until the closure of all the theatres under England’s Puritan administration in 1642. It was demolished to make room for tenements in 1644.
The project to rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe was initiated by the American actor, director and producer Sam Wanamaker. He founded what would later become the Shakespeare Globe Trust. He died in 1993 after years of fundraising and research, having secured the site and beginning building work. The theatre was completed Three and a half years later.
Nobody knows for sure what the Globe originally looked like, but , other than concessions to comply with modern Health and Safety requirements the modern day Globe is as accurate a reconstruction of the 1599 Globe as was possible with the available evidence.
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the Globe are marking the occasion with a year-long programme of events which form part of a series of celebrations of Shakespeares legacy
Want to see our all the covers in our 5th Series? View them all here
Mark Rylance is an English actor, theatre director and playwright. He was the first artistic director of The Globe Theatre in London and has recently won an oscar for best supporting actor.
Cheryl Campbell is an English actor of stage, film and television. She starred opposite Bob Hoskins in the 1978 BBC drama Pennies From Heaven, before going on to win the 1980 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for Testament of Youth and Malice Aforethought, and the 1982 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival for A Doll's House.