The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, is a West End theatre in Covent Garden, in the City of Westminster, a borough of London. The building faces Catherine Street (earlier named Bridges or Brydges Street) and backs onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663, making it the oldest London theatre. For its first two centuries, Drury Lane could "reasonably have claimed to be London's leading theatre" and thus one of the most important theatres in the English-speaking world. Through most of that time, it was one of a small handful of patent theatres that were granted monopoly rights to the production of "legitimate" (meaning spoken plays, rather than opera, dance, concerts, or plays with music) drama in London.
The first theatre on the location was built at the behest of Thomas Killigrew in the early years of the English Restoration. Actors appearing at this "Theatre Royal in Bridges Street" included Nell Gwyn and Charles Hart. It was destroyed by fire in 1672. Killigrew built a larger theatre in the same spot, designed by Christopher Wren; renamed the "Theatre Royal in Drury Lane," it opened in 1674.
26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet
, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language
and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England
's national poet
and the "Bard
" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays
, 154 sonnets
, two long narrative poems
, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in ions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623 two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected ion of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.