Desperately Seeking Shakespeare
With the Museum of London and Barbican Centre
In March 2016 Burn the Curtain created ‘Desperately Seeking Shakespeare’ as part of the Shakespeare Weekender at the Barbican centre.
Anne Hathaway has not heard a word from her young husband William Shakespeare since he left Stratford to seek his theatrical fortune in far off London.
She doesn’t know if he is writing all the great plays and poems he always said that he would, or if he has fallen victim to the plague, the pox or the dreaded Vagabond Act of 1597. He has not answered a single letter she has written to him.
This makes Anne very sad.
Luckily for her, it seems that you, dear reader, have promised to track down her errant quill wielding husband. She will be eternally grateful to you if you can find his person, or failing that, any evidence of his continued existence.
Were you to find a love poem of the kind that he used to write to her when they were courting, she would be over the moon…
Come and join Burn the Curtain in this unique hunt between the Barbican and the Museum of London, either as a wandering poet, seeking words to create a master work, or as the Night Watch, trying to track down vagabonds…
In 1604, William Shakespeare was living on Silver Street, lodging at the home of Christopher Mountjoy, a maker of women’s headdresses. His daughter Marie asked Shakespeare for his help. She was in love with her father’s apprentice, Stephan Bellot, but he was getting cold feet. Shakespeare persuaded the young Frenchman to keep his promise to Marie, and even performed a ‘handfasting’ (like an engagement) in secret. Some years later, when Christopher refused to pay the full dowry, Shakespeare appeared again to give evidence at a trial .
In true Burn the Curtain style these facts about the bard were woven into a street game where one half of the audience tracked down the other. No real lines of Shakespeare were damaged during the performance…
All Photographs by Museum of London, The Barbican Centre and Peter Nicholls/Reuters