Shakespeare for School

A first introduction to Shakespeare and his works

When Shakespeare was born, Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne. She was the last of the Tudors monarchs. She adored the theatre and paid actors and musicians to perform for her.

It was an exciting time in England:

Explorers were bringing back treasures and
discoveries from around the world.

Artists, musicians and writers were part of the Renaissance, producing amazing new works.

Inventors were busy developing amazing
things like the printing press and the telescope.

Scientists were proving that the world was round
and the sun was the centre of the universe.



Elizabethan England

Shakespeare's birthplace

Click to see what it looks like today

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, a busy market town in central England. He went to King Edward VI Grammar School until he was 14. He was lucky to get a good education. Not all children went to school in those days – only the wealthy boys.

It was a strict school, where they learnt Latin, how to write well, perform plays and speak in public. Maths was not considered so important in Shakespeare's time!


Click to see his school


Shakespeare's parents, John and Mary, were well-off. John made gloves and leather goods and was a successful man. They had eight children. William (or Will as they would have called him) was their third child. The first two, Joan and Margaret, died as infants from the Black Death (bubonic plague).

Illustrations © Adria Meserve 2014.
Text © Penny Worms 2014. All rights reserved.