Shakespeare theatre producer discovers shock relation to First Folio publisher

James explained that there are several different spellings of his surname, but all variations can be traced back to the same family, in which Henry Condell is a member.750 copies were thought to have been printed by Condell and his partner in the 1600s, while 235 are known to still exist. In 2006 a near-perfect First Folio was sold at Sotheby’s for £2.8 million.In total, it is thought that Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, 36 of which can be found in the First Folio and most of which were performed in the Globe, the open-air playhouse on the bank of the River Thames in London.This summer the 13-sided Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, which has three tiers of  covered seating and an open courtyard, will host Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo and Juliet.The playhouse is inspired by the original, which was built in 1587 on the southbank of the River Thames in London and threatened by the Globe when it was built in 1599 by Lord Chamberlain’s men. Cundall said: “We have tried to bring a little bit of Bankside, where Rose Theatre was located, to our audience.”We have animal pens, a village pond, wagons and carts and an array of vintage farming implements, evoking a bygone rural age. “Visitors to the village can also enjoy a stunning Elizabethan garden with ornate box-edged beds of cottage flowers, roses and herbs.”Heather Carter, Blenheim’s Operations Director, said: “The palace has always been a venue for theatre. The fourth duke used to put on plays in the orangery and invite people to watch.”Part of the audience is in the open air, which means they are able to hear the birds sing and feel the heat of the sun, in the same way people would have done hundreds of years ago.” Lovely full house for #TwelfthNight @ShakespearesRT pic.twitter.com/bxBHQ5O0Sg— Eamonn O’Dwyer (@EamonnODwyer) June 30, 2019 A theatre producer who has brought the Elizabethan era to York City Centre and Blenheim Palace has discovered that he is related to the man who published Shakespeare’s First Folio.James Cundall MBE, the founder of the new Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is staging four of the poet’s plays in the grounds of the Oxfordshire country home and near the 13th Century Clifford’s Tower, York this Summer.But until he bumped into a distant relative in America, the Yorkshireman had no idea that he had an even stronger link to Shakespeare.Cundall, 62, learned he was a direct descendant of the actor Henry Condell, one of two men responsible for publishing the first ever collection of Shakespeare’s work in 1623.The First Folio was collated and finally released seven years after Shakespeare’s death. “It really is a wonderful thing to be able to lay claim to, and a fantastic anecdote,” Cundall, Chief Executive of Lunchbox Productions and founder of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre said.He said he discovered the link by accident when talking to a man that shared his surname in California.The theatre producer added: “[The man] explained that the Cundalls in all probability have a very important ancestor in common, one of two men who published the First Folio. I did some research of my own and it all seemed to add up.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

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