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Anne Hathaway returns home

William Shakespeare's wife is being brought back to life by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as part of a month of special events that will celebrate the women in his life and works.

anne hathaway (amy wilkinson)
Amy Wilkinson will take on the role of William Shakespeare's wife-to-be Anne Hathaway at Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon, every weekend throughout November. Photo (c) the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Anne Hathaway is being brought back to life by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as part of a month of special events that will celebrate the women in Shakespeare’s life and works.

Throughout November, the woman who married William Shakespeare will be back at her family home — the world-famous Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon — to give a first-hand insight into her life and to tell stories of the couple’s romance and eventual marriage 436 years ago.

Anne and William tied the knot in November 1582. Anne, who was pregnant at the time, was aged 26 and her husband-to-be was just 18 years old and would have therefore required his parents’ permission to marry.

Visitors will also discover aspects of Elizabethan life, including marriage traditions from that era and what life was like for a Tudor housewife through our Anne’s personal testimony.

Amy Wilkinson, a period interpreter who will play Anne, said, “Over the centuries there have been a lot of theories put forward and speculation about what she was like, but with a lack of concrete historical evidence we will never really know.

“In my approach to playing the Anne of November 1582 I will consider how she would have been feeling in the days leading up to her marriage and what preparations she would have made. I will also tell visitors about her life in the cottage in Shottery and what it was like to be the daughter of a yeoman farmer, and other aspects of Elizabethan life.”

A series of other events will take place across the historic Shakespeare Family Homes throughout November as part of Women & Shakespeare month.

Katherine West Scheil, the author of Imagining Shakespeare’s Wife, will give an intimate guided tour of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and offer an insight into how imaginings of Anne have changed throughout time.  

Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace to find out more about the life of his mother, Mary Arden, and meet the Trust’s Collections team who will be showcasing rarely seen items from our world-renowned museum, archive and library that help give an insight into the stories of notable women from history.

Visitors can see the ongoing exhibition by artist-in-residence, Carrie Reichardt, who presents her radical perspective on Anne Hathaway, and demonstrates how consumerism, popular culture and social media are changing the way we view and interpret history in #ShakespeariAnne.

Entry to special events is included in the normal admission price, unless stated. See

Full Listings for Women & Shakespeare, November 2018

Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

A Woman’s Work, every Saturday at 11am: Hear all about the work that women carried out in Shakespeare’s time, from farming to raising children, brewing beer to baking bread.

Meet the Experts, Monday, 12th November, 12pm-4pm: A rare opportunity to meet our Collections team who will showcase rarely seen, women-related items from our world renowned museum, archive and library.

Mary Arden, Town and Country, Monday, 26 November, 12pm-4pm: Hear how William Shakespeare’s mother’s life changed during her transition from growing up on a farm to moving to Stratford and marrying one of the town's more prominent inhabitants, John Shakespeare, a man about town who became Mayor of Stratford; and how she brought up eight children while helping to entertain her husband’s wealthy customers.

Shakespeare’s New Place, Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Thy Name is Woman, every Saturday, 1pm-3pm: Female actors from Shakespeare Aloud!, our in-house acting troupe, will perform well known male soliloquies from Shakespeare’s plays.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon

Anne Hathaway Returns Home, every weekend in November, 12pm-4pm: Meet Anne Hathaway as she prepares to marry William Shakespeare, and find out more about her life and how she prepared for their big day.

After-hours tour with author Katherine West Scheil, Saturday, 17 November, 4.30pm: The author of Imagining Shakespeare’s Wife will give an intimate tour of the cottage, exploring its history and some of its fascinating past inhabitants, giving an insight into her own research for her book. Booking is essential for this event, tickets are £18, call 01789 204016 or visit

Hall’s Croft, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon

Talk about Marie Corelli, Thursday, 22 November, 12pm-4pm: Find out more about the novelist Marie Corelli’s life in Stratford. She spent her final years here and is buried at the town’s cemetery. What was her role in the preservation of Harvard House on High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, which is cared for by the Trust?

Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Explore your Archives: Women Centre Stage, Saturday, 17 November, 2pm-4pm, FREE entry: Find out more about the lives of women through objects held in our collections, including a pair of 18th century shoes worn by Eva Marie Garrick, the wife of David Garrick, who organised the first Shakespeare Celebrations 250 years ago, and the last chance to see the 200-year-old Ventilator Sketch, a rare watercolour of women in an attic space above the old House of Commons Chamber, from where they observed political debates after their exclusion from the public galleries in 1778, before it is allowed to rest for conservation reasons after being on display in London throughout the summer. Also talk to our experts about our how our collections are cared for.