Centre for Continuing Education

Classic Journeys Course: Who was William Shakespeare? A Journey from Stratford to London

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

The world as we know it today has been shaped by events of the past. Learn about history the smart way with History courses at the University of Sydney.

Who was Shakespeare? Did he really write those plays? And does he still matter? We are going to find out by embarking on a wonderful journey from Stratford-upon-Avon to London to explore this man and his times.

Shakespeare was born in just the right place at the right time; Elizabethan England. A sturdy, mercantile nation with a powerful navy, a middle class with widespread literacy and an exceptional queen. The New World was being colonized, the French and Dutch held at bay and Spanish fleets routinely plundered.

This course deals with Shakespeare’s life in visiting sites both in Stratford-upon-Avon and in London. We look at the route Shakespeare may have taken between London and Stratford on his occasional journeys. We also look at the history of the age: Elizabethan intrigues and Jacobean expansion into the New World. We look at how Shakespeare became a global phenomenon. Participants will get a sense of travelling in Shakespeare’s world.


The course aims to rekindle our interest in Shakespeare’s times and writings to equip participants with the information and confidence to undertake their own journeys into Shakespeare’s Stratford and London.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Discuss Elizabethan and Jacobean history as it pertains to Shakespeare.
  2. Identify Shakespearean sites in London and Stratford to visit.
  3. Understand how accessible Shakespeare can be so they can undertake their own journey’s into his world.
  4. Discuss how Shakespeare became a global phenomenon.


This course covers the following topics:

Elizabethan Era & Stratford

  • Times of great change
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Shakespeare in America

Journey to London

  • Bardology
  • The journey through the Cotswold’s
  • The Elizabethan theatre
  • Elizabeth’s challenges
  • Becoming Shakespeare
  • Who wrote Shakespeare?

Elizabethan London

  • The most exciting city in the world
  • Shakespeare’s characters
  • Sonnets
  • More theatres in London
  • The Globe
  • Elizabeth’s portraits
  • Journeys around Shakespeare’s globe
  • Shakespeare in Sydney

Shakespeare in London

  • Exploring Jacobean London
  • King James Bible
  • The Gunpowder Plot
  • Jacobean theatres
  • The Folios
  • A Shakespeare walk through London

Intended Audience

This course is recommended for:

  • Shakespeare lovers
  • People who enjoy travel and history
  • People interested in literature
  • The retired community.

Delivery Style

This course is delivered as a one-day interactive workshop (including quizzes) where discussion is encouraged.

Recommended Reading

Ackroyd, P. (2006). Shakespeare. Random House Inc.
Bell, J. (2011). On Shakespeare. Allen & Unwin.
Burgess, A. (1970). Shakespeare. Australia: Penguin Books Australia.
Dickson, A. (2015). Worlds Elsewhere. The Bodleys Head.
Hammerschmidt-Hummel, H. (2007). The Life and Times of William Shakespeare: 1564-1616. Chaucer Press.
Lynch, J. (2008). Becoming Shakespeare. London, UK: Little Brown Book Group.
Shapiro, J. (2005). 1599. Faber and Faber.
Shapiro, J. (2015). 1606. Faber and Faber.
Shapiro, J. (2010). Contested Will. Faber and Faber.
Starkey, E. (2001). Elizabeth. Vintage.
Whitelock, A. (2013). Elizabeth’s Bedfellows. Bloomsbury.
Wood, M. (2003) In Search of Shakespeare Edbury Publishing, BBC books.


Handouts will be provided in class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion