Neil MacGregor, former Director of the British Museum, continues his object-based history. Taking artefacts from William Shakespeare's time, he explores how Elizabethan and Jacobean playgoers made sense of the unstable and rapidly changing world in which they lived.
With old certainties shifting around them, in a time of political and religious unrest and economic expansion, Neil asks what the plays would have meant to the public when they were first performed. He uses carefully selected objects to explore the great issues of the day that preoccupied the public and helped shape the works, and he considers what they can reveal about the concerns and beliefs of Shakespearean England.
Programme 19. THE THEATRES OF CRUELTY - A human eyeball in a silver setting provides a striking insight to the theatre of cruelty in Elizabethan and Jacobean Britain.
This programme was originally broadcast in 2012.
Producer: Paul Kobrak.