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London, in the summer of 1593, and Will Shakespeare, a struggling young talent of the Elizabethan theatre, is suffering multiple predicaments. He feels himself to be in the shadow of his charismatic rival Kit Marlow; and worse, he is writhing in the grip of writer's block, desperate for inspiration. His work-in-progress, 'Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter', simply doesn't want to be written.Suddenly, the muse descends - in the shape of Lady Viola, a wealthy young girl who aspires to be an actress, even though women are barred from the Elizabethan stage. Undaunted, Viola dons beard and moustache to audition for Will's play; but her guise falls away as she and Shakespeare are irresistibly attracted to one ather. At last, Will rediscovers his creative fire, transmuting his love for Viola into the stuff of tragic drama, and thereby creating one of the greatest love stories of all time.
Tom Stoppard was born in 1937 in Czechoslovakia. His early years were spent in Singapore, India and, from 1946, England, after his mother married an officer in the British Army. Leaving school at seventeen, Stoppard worked as a reporter in Bristol, before moving to London to work as a theatre critic and feature writer. During this period he began to write plays for radio and for the stage and published his only novel, Lord Malquist and Mr Moon.His first major success, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, was produced in London in 1967 at the Old Vic after critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival. Subsequent plays include Enter a Free Man, The Real Inspector Hound, Jumpers, Travesties, Night and Day, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (with Andre Previn), After Magritte, Dirty Linen, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink and The Invention of Love. His radio pla