Edmund Shakespeare

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Edmund Shakespeare (1580 in Stratford-upon-Avon – buried 31 December 1607 in London) was a 16th- and 17th-century English actor.

Life[edit]

He was the youngest child of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden and the brother of William Shakespeare. He followed William to London to become an actor. While an actor, he had an affair with an unknown woman, probably around 1600 although there is no actual evidence. He fathered a son, Edward Shakespeare, in one record noted wrongly as Edmund Sharksbye. He died in 1607, at the age of 27, four months after the death of his son and in the same year William's daughter, Susanna, was married. Twenty shillings was paid for his burial (possibly by William) at St Saviour's in Southwark (known today as Southwark Cathedral) "with a forenoone knell of the great bell".

In popular culture[edit]

Edmund Shakespeare was the subject of a one-man show, written and performed by the British stage actor Ben Deery, in 2012, at The Last Refuge, Peckham, London. The play's title Most Savage and Unnatural, alludes to a line spoken by the character of Edmund in the play King Lear by William Shakespeare. The performance included elements of audience participation and was warmly received.

References[edit]

  • S. Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: a documentary life (1975), page 26