According to new research by academic Martha Carlin, Shakespeare and some theatre colleagues went to the pub.
That might not surprise you, but direct contemporary references to William Shakespeare are relatively hard to come by, and finding a new one is very intriguing.
The research was recently published in The Times Literary Supplement, and it refers to a c.1643 manuscript (Shakespeare died in 1616), which has this to say:
“Ye Tabard I find to have been ye resort Mastere Will Shakspear Sir Sander Duncombe Lawrence Fletcher Richard Burbage Ben Jonson and ye rest of their roystering associates in King Jameses time as in ye lange room they have cut their names on ye Pannels.”
Evidence like this, if it's accurate, may help scholars to flesh out Shakespeare's biography in more detail. It's also an interesting way in to thinking about how we conceptualise Shakespeare in our teaching and research. Biographical and historical information can help us to reflect on the way that Shakespeare is presented and imagined by both educators and by students.