This book tells the story of Shakespeare on the English stage - four hundred years of dramatic history, from the vital, competitive theatre of Shakespeare's own lifetime to the multifarious productions of the present. Over a hundred illustrations in both black and white and colour, and therecords of actors, audiences, and reviewers, bring to life the key productions and developments described in each chapter.It is a story of constant rediscovery, as the fashions, intuitions, and politics of each age reinterpreted the plays' meanings - and often even their plots. Actresses stepped into the female roles written originally for boy-actors; and the theatre evolved, from open-air Elizabethan stages like theRose and Globe to the proscenium theatre, grand spectacle, and the whole panoply of modern lighting and staging equipment. Written by a team of experts, the book illuminates both the plays and the men and women who staged, adapted, and performed them: Burbage, who was Shakespeare's Richard III,Henry V, and Hamlet; Mary Betterton, in 1664 the first woman to play Lady Macbeth; Garrick, whose lifelong championing of Shakespeare is largely responsible for his elevation to the status of National Poet; and the famous actor-managers who produced the plays on an increasingly grand scalethroughout the nineteenth century - Kemble, Kean, Macready, Irving.This is the only modern stage-history of its kind, and it deals with the great figures of twentieth century theatre - Donald Wolfit, Lilian Baylis, John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft, Ralph Richardson, Tyrone Guthrie, Peter Brook, and many others. A special chapter by Dame Judi Denchprovides a unique actor's perspective; and the book comes right up to date with accounts of contemporary directors' theatre, including productions by Michael Bogdanov, Deborah Warner, and Sam Mendes. Accessibly written and historically authoritative, this is a book every Shakespeare-lover willenjoy.