Shakespeare signs covered in protest of Anonymous film

Sign with Shakespeare's named covered in Warwickshire Nine road signs have been temporarily taped over

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Shakespeare's name is being removed from signs in Warwickshire in a campaign against a new film which questions whether he wrote his plays.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is taping over nine road signs for the day to coincide with the premiere of Anonymous at the London Film Festival.

It criticised the film as an attempt to "rewrite English culture and history".

A memorial in William Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-upon-Avon is being covered with a sheet.

The sign on The Shakespeare pub in Welford, where the Bard is said to have enjoyed his last drink, is one of 10 pub signs that are being covered.

'Enormous legacy'

Diane Owen and Katie Neville gave the BBC's Jenny Hill a tour of Shakespeare's birthplace

The trust said it wanted to highlight the potential impact of the film's "conspiracy theory" that William Shakespeare was the "barely literate frontman for the Earl of Oxford".

Anonymous stars Rafe Spall as the Bard, Rhys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford, Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I, and asks "Was Shakespeare a fraud?"

It reignites the age-old debate over the authorship of Shakespeare's work, taking the view that it was Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and not William Shakespeare who was in fact the true author of the famous plays.

Start Quote

This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact”

End Quote Dr Paul Edmondson Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Dr Paul Edmondson, head of knowledge and research at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: "This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact, but there is a risk that people who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works could be hoodwinked.

"Shakespeare is at the core of England's cultural and historical DNA, and he is certainly our most famous export.

"Today's activity barely scratches the surface, but we hope it will remind people of the enormous legacy we owe to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Another piece of the arts (like ballet) subsidised by the working class Tax payers..

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    Oh dear.....'Double,double toil and trouble;Fire burn and cauldron bubble...'[Macbeth Witches!!]...Methinks Hallowe'en's approaching!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    OMG it's a piece of fiction - based around a person of history, but picking up the idea that Shakespeare may not have been the author.
    Same thing happened when Passion of the Christ came out, yet another film based upon the biggest work of fiction the world has ever seen...

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    If I were Shakespeare,I would simply want to see others enjoy my works. People all over the world have been inspired by his timeless themes of the defiant power of the human spirit, faced with challenges, tragedy, suffering and frailities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    A recently retired English teacher and academic told me that Shakespeare was known to be a Catholic . He said he likely did have an Oxbridge education but was never acknowledged because of his faith and was happy to obscure his life given the times he lived through. Rubbish at comedies though. Not a laugh in any of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    @leejefferies -- I would sincerely hope that no one goes to "read" Shakespeare. Rather to "see" it, as was intended.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    It seems to me that there is an over reacting to what is just a film, a piece of entertainment. Shakespeare himself changed history to suit his story lines. Did the same people complain about Shakespeare in Love? Accept it for what it is, entertainment. And you never know it may get someone to read Shakespeare that had not previously read it, and that can only be a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    Why are the Stratford Grammar school records missing for just the years WS was a pupil there? Why does his own son-in-law (Dr John Hall) boasts about the poet Drayton being a patient but never mentions having a famous father-in-law? Why is the First Folio dedicated to William & Philip Herbert (both dated de Vere's daughters)?

  • Comment number 232.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    Hollywood yet another untruth. This wiil be like Titanic another Hollywood fantacy.

  • Comment number 230.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    "I think some people are taking this a bit ott."

    This film is the tip of the iceberg. The anti-Shakespeareans have been chipping away at his reputation for years. Anyone with an academic interest in Shakespeare will have come across them. Their emotional arguments can sometimes be persuasive to those who haven't studied the evidence that exists for Shakespeare's authorship.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    Yet another attempt at destroying English history! Shame on the film makers and shame on the actors too! Boycott this film!

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    I think some people are taking this a bit ott. Surely people can see this is only a film that's been made to provide entertainment. If it was a documentary then sure, ok flip out about it if you want but over a fictional movie? Jeez, get a life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    But surely we all know that the Bard was a bird... an ancestor of Miss Fritton, the head teacher at St. Trinian's.

    History and fiction are simple to distinguish. Shakespeare WROTE fiction, he wasn't a fictional character himself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    Having studied Shakespeare I was excited to see Anonymous at the Toronto film festival. The film itself contains wooden acting and is borderline farce at times. The audience burst out laughing at the pseudo King Richard character several times. Showing this 'discovery' as reality rather than theory was a huge error. Shakespeare likely wrote Shakespeare. No one doubted that until 1850s. Film is a D

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    How politically incorrect! what a pathetic state this country has got into, even Shakespeare is getting the elbow from the PC Brigade........grow up! It's just a film for goodness sake.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    One day someone will produce a film claiming that pigs can fly.. My doctors handwriting is illegible but that doesn't make him illiterate

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Would it be possible for William Shakespeare to steal the plays from the 17th Earl of Oxford no. Would the Earl allow someone other than himself to take the credit for the plays, had he wrote them no.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Ah, Hollywood, the biggest dream machine since inception. Only good endings allowed.

    Let's have a truthful and inciteful film on the American Civil War. It wasn't just about freedom for slaves - but something much more disturbing - land and political power - that Americans of all colours/races died for.

    America has a dirty history in the Civil War that won't be made by Holywood?


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