Timeline of Shakespeare's plays

Shakespeare's plays reflect the society, history and culture of the world in which he was writing.

Despite his significant popularity, surprisingly little is known definitively about the man himself. At Bell Shakespeare, we are interested in investigating and exploring the incredible works that Shakespeare left behind. To do so, we must examine and understand the circumstances in which he lived.

Use the interactive timeline below to explore Shakespeare's plays alongside his life and historical events. Clickable links offer more detailed information on events and plays. You can also download a printable PDF to use at home or in the classroom.

EXPLORE SHAKESPEARE’STIMELINE Shakespeare’s plays Shakespeare’s life events Historical events © Bell Shakespeare Scroll right to explore, click a play or event to learn more. 1558 1564 1589 1613 1616 1623 1589 - 1594 Two Gentlemen of Verona The Taming of the Shrew Henry VI (Part 1) Henry VI (Part 2) Henry VI (Part 3) Titus Andronicus Richard III Edward III The Comedy of Errors Love’s Labour’s Lost 1595 - 1598 Richard II Romeo and Juliet A Midsummer Night’s Dream King John The Merchant of Venice Henry IV (Part 1) The Merry Wives of Windsor Henry IV (Part 2) Much Ado About Nothing 1599 - 1606 Henry V Julius Caesar As You Like It Hamlet Twelfth Night Troilus and Cressida Measure For Measure Othello Sir Thomas More All’s Well That Ends Well King Lear Timon of Athens Macbeth Antony and Cleopatra 1607 - 1613 Pericles, Prince of Tyre Coriolanus The Winter's Tale Cymbeline The Tempest Cardenio Henry VIII The Two Noble Kinsmen 1564William Shakespeare born in Stratford-upon-Avon 1568His father, John Shakespeare, becomes mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon 1572John Shakespeare charged with illegal wool dealing, family fortunes decline 1582Marries Anne Hathaway 1583Daughter Susannah born 1585Twins Judith and Hamnet born 1585 - 1592The ‘lost years’ 1592First mention of Shakespeare in London – Robert Greene’s ‘upstart crow’ pamphlet 1594The Lord Chamberlain’s Men established 1596Hamnet dies aged 11 Shakespeare family granted Coat of Arms 1597Shakespeare buys ‘New Place’, the largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon 1599The Globe theatre opens 1601John Shakespeare dies 1603Shakespeare’s company becomes the King’s Men 1608The King’s Men take over the Blackfriars theatre Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, dies 1613The Globe theatre burns down 1616Shakespeare dies in Stratford-upon-Avon 1558Queen Mary I dies; Queen Elizabeth I ascends the throne 1564Christopher Marlowe born 1567The Red Lion theatre opens 1572Ben Jonson born 1576The Theatre opens The Blackfriars theatre opens, for children’s acting companies only 1577The Curtain theatre opens 1580Sir Francis Drake completes his circumnavigation of the world Thomas North’s English translation of Plutarch’s Lives first published 1585Machiavelli’s The Princetranslated into English 1587The Rose theatre opens Mary Queen of Scots executed 1588Spanish Armada defeated 1592 - 1593Major outbreak of plague – theatres closed 1593Christopher Marlowe killed 1594Dr Lopez executed for alleged plot to poison Queen Elizabeth I The Admiral’s Men established under producer Phillip Henslowe 1597King James VI of Scotland’s Daemonologie first published 1600East India Company founded The Fortune theatre opens 1603Queen Elizabeth I dies; King James VI of Scotland becomes King James I of England 1603 - 1604Major outbreak of plague 1604The first English dictionary published: A Table Alphabeticall Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, dies 1605Gunpowder plot 1606The Act to Restrain Abuses of Players censorship law passed 1606Major outbreak of plague 1607First English colony inAmerica established 1608 - 1609Major outbreak of plague 1611King James Version of the Bible published 1623First Folio published 1625King James I dies; his son, Charles I, ascends the throne