Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death: #Shakespeare400

23rd April 2016

By Emma Johnson

‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women mere players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…’ – As You Like It

23rd April 2016 marks the 400 anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare- a dramatist so skilled with words that his work continues to make an impression upon us. Most will be familiar with his plays such as ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Twelfth Night’. Whether we are attracted to the traditional Tudor/Jacobean settings, or more modern adaptations, Shakespeare’s writing explores themes such as love, friendship, betrayal and jealousy that resonate with us in any era. The National Archives are celebrating the 400 anniversary by hosting an exhibition which will explore Shakespeare’s life in London, as well as talks and events throughout the year.

Here at The Keep, our collections also have links with the great bard. In the care of the East Sussex Record Office, there is an account book of the Rye Chamberlain, showing that the Lord Chamberlain’s players were paid for a performance:



Paid for a reward given to my lord Chamberlens Players at the assignement of Mr maior (ie the mayor) xxs (i.e. 20 shillings).

The University of Sussex Special Collections also holds a number of Shakespeare volumes in their rare books collections. Below is an extract from ‘Macbeth’:



The words, works and life of Shakespeare continue to excite us, amuse us and inspire us- even 400 years after his death.

For more information on talks, exhibitions and events taking place across the country to mark the 400 anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, visit: