Shakespeare at sea

The first play by William Shakespeare believed to have been performed at sea was Hamlet in 1607.

William Shakespeare (1564–1616) is one of the most celebrated playwrights in the English language. The first Shakespeare play to be performed at sea is believed to have been Hamlet, and was performed on board the Red Dragon, a ship belonging to the East India Company in 1607.

The captain, William Keeling, was an enthusiastic follower of Shakespeare’s plays and he persuaded his crew to perform Richard II and Twelfth Night on the same voyage to the Spice Islands. What his sailors thought of the plays is not recorded, but they invited sailors over from the ship that was accompanying them to watch the performance.