William Shakespeare is, beyond argument, the finest playwright the world has ever known.

Creator of some of the greatest characters written for the stage who have become bywords for tragedy, comedy and history: kings, queens, princes and paupers – some based on real people and many drawn entirely from his imagination, Shakespeare shaped the English language we speak today, his evocative words and phrases still used in everyday conversation.

But who was William Shakespeare? How did this man from the turn of the 17th century come to write these wondrous works of theatre in such a range of settings, plays that continue to be produced around the world to this very day?

Who could know?

Who better than his contemporary, his colleague, and his friend, the man who – years after Shakespeare’s death – was most responsible for having the first collection of Shakespeare’s works bound into what we now call the First Folio, without which 18 of these works of genius would have been lost forever?

Meet John Heminges, and let him tell you himself how it all came about.

Meet Shakespeare Unbound.