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 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 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 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 216.

    It is a matter of opinion who wrote Shakespeare's plays and as we are living in a democracy people are entitled to disagree and make films about what they think. Although I actually believe Shakespeare did write his plays, I'm looking forward to seeing the film which looks well made and has a good cast. Protesting about the film by covering up Shakespeare's name seems counterproductive somehow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the real value is not in the name but in the work. Whoever he was he created art that expressed all that it is to be human and supplied insights that expanded our understanding of ourselves. There is no one else that comes even close to him in artistic achievement.


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