Coventry & Warwickshire

Shakespeare signs covered in protest of Anonymous film

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

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'

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.

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."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites