Shakespeare goes to trial…and it’s about time!


Justin Borrow

Theatre Theorist

The Shakespeare Authorship Question has been a hot topic in academia for the last couple hundred years or so, however, it is only now beginning to gain the recognition it deserves. Since the publication of the first folio in 1623, there has been speculation that the author Shakespeare may not be the man we think he is. Notable doubters include: Charlie Chaplin, Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James and Derek Jacobi. None of these men believed the uneducated man from Stratford could have written the “greatest expression of humanity in the English language.” They believed there was more to be discovered. Even though there is a plethora of evidence dismissing the orthodox story, it has been stifled and ignored by scholars around the world, until now.

Over time, there have been many candidates brought forth to claim the authorship, however, only one candidate currently has any claim for the authorship against the orthodox story. That man is Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Many Oxfordian scholars, who have studied this question for their entire lives, have been pushing back against orthodox scholars and academia to legitimize this topic and make it more publicly known. Their wishes are finally being granted.

On Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m. in Stratford, ON., two lawyers will present their arguments – one defending William of Stratford and the other opposing him. These lawyers will argue their sides in a mock trial in front of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin. Although no verdict will be rendered in the end, the Chief Justice will hear both sides. York University Theatre Professor and notable Oxfordian Don Rubin will assist the Oxfordian side in the build up to the trial date. 

This is a huge victory for the Oxfordian side of the debate, as their voices are finally being heard, their topic is being taken seriously and they are reaching a greater, public audience. The main objective of the Oxfordian movement is to not only prove that Edward de Vere was the author of the works, but also to allow students the opportunity to hear both sides of the argument and formulate their own opinions on the matter. The Oxfordian movement is finally pushing back.

The mock trial will take place on Saturday, October 4th 2014 in Stratford, Ontario. Tickets are available on the Stratford Festival The event is free for anyone to attend. For more information on the authorship question, please