Did you know that during Shakespeare’s lifetime he was also an actor? It is not known how many roles he played, but we know he began his career on the stage by at least 1592, since there is reference to this in Robert Greene’s Groatsworths Of Wit. In 1594, he had already established himself as an actor and playwright, then William Shakespeare became a shareholder in Lord Chamberlain’s Men, one of the most popular acting troupes in London. He remained a part of this company for the rest of his career, often playing before the court of Queen Elizabeth I.
Other roles that many believe Shakespeare played were the title role in Edward I: a play by Edward Peele in 1593, and smaller roles in a variety of his own plays, including: As You Like It (Adam), Macbeth (King Duncan), Henry IV (King Henry), and Hamlet (Hamlet’s father). Shakespeare’s first biographer, Nicolas Rowe, referred to a role by William Shakespeare, as “the ghost in his own Hamlet and that he was ‘the top of his performance’. William Shakespeare the actor soon moved on to become William Shakespeare the playwright and theatre owner.