By Me William Shakespeare, A Life in Writing

By me William Shakespeare offered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to explore Shakespeare’s will, as well as other unique documents that witnessed his life. Through original research, scientific analysis and a new digital installation, the exhibition looked at why the documents were created and what they tell us about the world’s most famous playwright.

Academics from the London Shakespeare Centre at King’s and specialists at The National Archives carefully selected the nine most nationally important documents held by The National Archives relating to Shakespeare’s life and presented them together for the first time for the exhibition.

The documents track Shakespeare’s life as a citizen of London, a businessman, a family man and servant to the King and even possibly a thief and a subversive. They explore both his domestic and professional lives, what it meant to live in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras and the social impact of his plays.

Visitors were able to encounter Shakespeare in his own words and in his own handwriting. They were taken on a journey from the birth of the Globe Theatre through to Shakespeare’s dying days in Stratford-upon-Avon. The exhibition was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see these key documents, including four of his six known signatures, alongside carefully selected artefacts and paintings from various institutions.