Shakespeare Made in Canada

Features Summary

The story of the Sanders Portrait of Shakespeare spans some 400 years, two continents, oral family traditions, carefully researched micro-histories, and scientific analyses.

The Portrait is an embodiment of the Canadian cultural inheritance
from the England of Shakespeare’s time. Sustained genealogical work
traces an unbroken line of 13 generations from the current owner, Lloyd Sullivan,
directly back into Shakespeare’s own lifetime, and into social networks
both in Worcestershire and Warwickshire and in London.

More information on the Portrait's reception history here.

New Yorker article on the Sanders Portrait that mentions this series here.

Includes voices from a diverse range of well-known Canadians, including Paul Gross, Martha Burns, Sky Gilbert, and Daniel David Moses. Also:

Character Synopsis

  • Quick reference guides to characters as they appear in play help new readers keep track of who's who. 

  • Accessible language invites interest in the development of different characters.​

  • Tips to understead the important aspects of characters with more complex roles and personalities.

Notes on the text

  • A summary of the many decisions and important sources that go into a new Shakespeare edition help students appreciate the complexity of the work.

  • Fascinating, engaging discussion of the history of editing.

  • Glimpses into the  context of early modern drama open up new pathways of understanding.

Design Features

  • Open, accessible layout invites new readers.

  • Carefully researched notes open up important historical context.

  • Draws from the best sources on Shakespearean language.

Ten-tips to read Shakespeare

  • New readers have found tips on approaching Shakespeare to be enormously helpful. 

  • Tips highlight easily overlooked aspects of Shakespeare, like pronunciation and status.

  • Engaging language invites new readers to dive right into the plays.

Scene Summaries

  • Act and scene summaries provide an important resource for new readers.

  • Focused and short, summaries direct readers to key features of language, theme, and symbol.

  • Overall act summaries point to large-canvas plot development. 

  • Highlighting complex plot twists helps demystify Shakespeare.


  • Students love the "say it like it is" prefaces by well-known Canadians bring a different voice to the editions.

  • Preface writers given free creative license; the results are probing dialogues that show Shakespeare remains alive and well in Canada.

  • ​Prefaces reflect real experience interacting with Shakespeare, for better or for worse.​

Production Histories

  • Introductions address Shakespeare's long and rich production history across the world, with a particular interest in Canada.

  • Partnering with the University of Guelph's CASP website, a one-of-its-kind database of 150 years of production history in Canada, introductions give fascinating insights into how plays have been staged over time.​

  • Introductions show students that Shakespeare is alive and well in their own backyard.​

  • Editions draw on the years of distinguished Shakespearan scholarship by Canadians.​​