Actors Cast Fresh Doubt over Shakespeare Authorship
Leading Shakespearean actors have voiced their doubts that the Bard really penned the works attributed to him.
Mark Rylance, the former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe, and Sir Derek Jacobi, who recently won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, spoke of their concerns about "the man from Stratford" in a debate at Brunel University, west London.
They are part of a group of around 1,400 people who have signed a "declaration of reasonable doubt", which they hope will lead to research.
The group says the case for William Shakespeare, who was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, rests on testimony in the First Folio collection of plays published in 1623, seven years after he died.
But there is no documentary evidence of his life that confirms this testimony.
Rylance said: "The simple way to put this is that I think you can be born with a genius in a certain area, be that writing, or music or painting, but you can't be born with the book learning or the life experience, you can't be born having travelled to Italy, or read books in all of the classical languages. …