Shakespeare’s widow speaks

The Second Best Bed sheds new light on England's greatest storyteller
The Second Best Bed sheds new light on England's greatest storyteller

When Shakespeare died he left his wife Anne only one thing - the second best bed.

The Limelight Theatre’s celebration of storytelling festival closes with The Second Best Bed, a one woman play shedding new light on England’s greatest storyteller.

Liz Grand stars as Anne Hathaway on the night of Shakespeare’s funeral. The wake has finished, the mourners have all gone home, leaving Anne to remember her life with the most talented playwright the world has ever seen. Or was he?

Did he write the plays? His widow would know if anyone did - wouldn’t she? There has long been argument over whether someone other than William Shakespeare could have written the works attributed to him.

Anti Shakespeareans say the Shakespeare of Stratford was a front to shield the identity of the real author or authors, who for some reason did not want or could not accept the public credit.

His humble origins and obscure life is seen as incompatible with his poetic eminence and his reputation for genius and, it is argued, there is a lack of evidence to support his literary eloquence. This controversy has spawned a vast body of literature and over 70 authorship candidates have been proposed including Francis Bacon, the 6th Earl of Derby. Christopher Marlowe and the 17th Earl of Oxford.

The Second Best Bed sees Anne Hathaway reflect on her life with the great writer as she shares her intimate memories and personal views, the circumstances of their marriage, the writing of the plays and their time spent together, and apart.

The play, full of pathos and humour, will be at the Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury at 7.30pm on Sunday (October 30).

Tickets £13 and £11 from the box office 01296 424332 or online