World Premiere Play: Shakespeare and His Mistress

Revealing the inner life of William Shakespeare and Emilia Bassano

William Shakespeare left his wife and three children in Stratford-upon-Avon and made a living writing historical plays in London when, aged about 28, he fell in love with a musical “wise…powerful” woman. He began to write sonnets and plays about love and gave us the immortal women we shall remember for all time. Wil and his muse would have first met at the mansion of his patron, the young gay Harry, Earl of Southampton.

Emilia Bassano was 23. Her lover and the patron of Shakespeare’s acting company was 65 and married with 14 children. Emilia, educated by two Countesses, Lady Susan Bertie and Lady Margaret Clifford, was fluent in Italian, Latin, Italian and French and was one of the first women to write a book of poetry in English. Shakespeare was to use the plots of 33 Italian plays and Latin histories to write 37 plays. He had left school at 13, and it is probable that a highly educated Italian speaking Emilia helped and inspired him. For your pleasure we have presented a play on how they may have loved one another and created immortal works together.

What sort of person was William Shakespeare, and Emilia Bassano?

Passionate! See Shakespeare’s Sonnets 127-154 and Emilia’s book of poetry, including the Preface.


How did they create their works of genius?

Together with her physician Dr Simon Forman, Shakespeare and Emilia Bassano-Lanier shared nine close acquaintances. There are extensive records of Emilia’s tumultuous personal and sexual life. Her poetry sets forth a manifesto for the equality and liberation of women!


The performance lasts from 8.00 PM til 9.20 PM

For more details, please download the full program in the linked PDF below.