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November 01

William Shakespeare

Did you know that the title role of Othello was played by then-famous actor Richard Burbage, who played the Moor in black makeup? Or that The Tempest was the last play Shakespeare wrote?

1604 and 1611: A Double Bill of Will
Othello and The Tempest are performed for the first times
Was this William Shakespeare’s lucky day or just a coincidence that two of his best known plays premiered on the first day of the 11th month, seven years apart? Each play was first presented to King James I at the Palace of Whitehall, the decades-old main residence of the kings and queens of England.

It was customary for any new works to first be seen by the monarch and his court before any presentation to the general public. It is likely that for many years after these two debuts, both plays were indeed performed for the general public at playhouses like The Rose and The Globe. The demand for such entertainment was so great that chances are the ink was barely dry on the page when the first productions were mounted.
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