Shakespeare Up North

Actors up north

One of the five actors from Lord Strange’s Men, listed in the First Folio, is William Kemp. He was a well-known comic actor, a celebrity of the time. We know that he was also a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, alongside Shakespeare and renowned actor Richard Burbage.

When the 4th Earl of Derby’s funeral took place at Lathom and Ormskirk in December 1593, a list of all the mourners in attendance was drawn up. This list includes the name of a ‘Master William Kempe’. Another clue, perhaps, that the actors close to Shakespeare were familiar with the Earl of Derby’s residences near Prescot and may have performed there.

World premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

On 26 January 1595, William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, married Elizabeth de Vere in Greenwich. The celebrations included a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This may have been the first time it was ever performed.

Listen to an excerpt from a Midsummer Night’s Dream:



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