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The following is an imagined account from the life of Hamnet Shakespeare, twin to Judith Shakespeare, and William Shakespeare's only son. He died young, at the age of 11, in 1596.


It’s not easy being a twin, Judith tends to get all the attention, because she’s a girl, and very pretty, whereas I’m sickly-looking and often ill in bed, and can’t go to school or play with the neighbours’ children in the way she does. And Daddy’s so often away from home that I miss him dreadfully. Mummy is terribly busy with the cooking and the housekeeping and the animals, and making sure the servants are working properly. I like to watch Grandpa making gloves and sometimes he takes me to Shottery to see the farm animals, which I like very much. I can’t go to the Petty School where my sisters learn their letters and to do sewing and that sort of thing.

But my mother teaches me how to form letters and reads to me, and when Daddy is at home he lets me into the secrets of the great speeches he’s been writing and allows me to try them out like a real actor. He also makes up stories for me and sometimes he takes me walking by the river to see the ducks and the swans. Granny is very kind to me and tells me stories about giants and monsters and fairies, and sometimes gives me sweetmeats and a cuddle. I love playing with my cat, Pyramus.

Cast: Nick Riley, King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon

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