Running Time 1hr 59mins
A full-cast BBC Radio 3 production of Shakespeare’s quick witted summer tragedy
A full-cast BBC Radio 3 production of Shakespeare’s quick-witted summer tragedy.
In a town full of hatred, where the streets ring with the Capulet/Montague feud, and swords are too easily drawn, Romeo and Juliet find each other – and love – and never let go.
In Shakespeare’s famous play, first performed in 1595, the warring Capulets and Montagues have been sworn to keep the peace on pain of death. When Capulet’s daughter Juliet meets Montague’s son Romeo at a masked ball, they
immediately fall in love.
With the help of Friar Lawrence and Juliet’s Nurse, the pair decide to marry in secret. Disaster strikes when Romeo is banished for murder, and flees after just one night with his new wife. Juliet, meanwhile, is betrothed against her wishes to Count Paris. Friar Lawrence intervenes to help, but tragedy is at hand…
Rising young stars Trystan Gravelle and Vanessa Kirby play the star-crossed lovers, with David Tennant as Prince Escalus, Rosie Cavaliero as the Nurse and Ron Cook as Friar Lawrence.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, and was baptised on 26 April 1564. His father was a glove maker and wool merchant and his mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a well-to-do local land owner.
Shakespeare was probably educated in Stratford’s grammar school. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter the following year and twins in 1585.
Shakespeare’s theatrical life seems to have commenced around 1590. We do know that he was part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Company, which was renamed the King’s Company in 1603 when James I succeeded to the throne. The
Company acquired interests in two theatres in the Southwark area of London, near the banks of the Thames – the Globe and the Blackfriars.
Shakespeare’s poetry was published before his plays, with two poems appearing in 1593 and 1594, dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. Most of Shakespeare’s sonnets were probably written at this time
Records of Shakespeare’s plays begin to appear in 1594, and he produced roughly two a year until around 1611. His earliest plays include Henry VI and Titus Andronicus. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice and
Richard II all date from the mid to late 1590s. Some of his most famous tragedies were written in the early 1600s; these include Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth and Antony & Cleopatra. His late plays, often known as the
Romances, date from 1608 onwards and include The Tempest.
Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.
The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623 and is known as ‘the First Folio’.