Gregory Doran talks about how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed his understanding of Shakespeare and the impact of the plague on the playwright and his plays.

Our Artistic Director has recorded a documentary with BBC Radio 4 about how the plague affected Shakespeare and changed the direction of his writing.

Gregory Doran in Holy Trinity Church with the Shakespeare memorial
Gregory Doran in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon

In A Plague on All Our Houses, Gregory describes how the plague hit Stratford-upon-Avon within 11 weeks of Shakespeare's birth, and continued to feature prominently throughout his life. When Mercutio says 'A plague on both your houses' in Romeo and Juliet, it had a very particular meaning for Shakespeare's audience.

Gregory talks about the current temporary closure of our theatres, and how this led him to a new understanding of Shakespeare and the ways in which plague outbreaks during his lifetime must have affected his writing, even influencing him to radically change the ending of King Lear.

Listen to A Plague on All Our Houses on BBC Sounds