When Shakespeare's Henry VIII was first performed and the source he used to write the story.

Dating the play

Henry VIII is a collaborative play between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, written in 1613. Famously, it was during production of Henry VIII at the Globe Theatre in 1613, where a cannon was used for special effects, that the thatched roof of the Globe caught fire and the theatre burned to the ground. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623.

The Trial of Queen Katherine by George Henry Harlow
The Trial of Queen Katherine, 'Henry VIII', Act 2, Scene 5, performed by the Kemble Family, c.1817.
Painting by George Henry Harlow © RSC Theatre Collection – Image Licensing


Like many of Shakespeare's History plays, Henry VIII is thought mostly to be based on Holinshed's Chronicles, but the writers may have also consulted John Stow's Annuals (1592) and John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611).

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