Optical connections: The spectacle makers - play in two acts

David Baker sees how the 17th Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers links with a 21st century US Shakespeare company

Act I: 17th century London. A group of spectacle makers, who are members of various livery companies (notably the Brewers’ Company), a requirement of being able to carry on their craft in London, decide to form their own livery company. In 1629 the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) is born; and remains the oldest non-political optical body in the world.

Act II: Twenty-first century America. In which is told the lesser-known story of a reconstruction of William Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, a transatlantic visit to its original site at Blackfriars, London and an unusual form of homage paid to WCSM. As Shakespeare did not quite say: read on, Macduff….

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