University of Pittsburgh
June 1, 2003

Shakespeare's Wife Emerges From Literature's Shadows at 2003 Three Rivers Arts Festival

Pitt's Yvonne Hudson explores the Bard's marriage in original one-woman show

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Did you even know that Shakespeare had a wife? Yvonne Hudson's one-woman show will illuminate one of literature's mysteries as she queries Three Rivers Arts Festivals audiences during Mrs. Shakespeare: Will's First and Last Love on Saturday, June 14, from 4 to 5 p.m. on the festival's second stage. Mrs. Shakespeare is a presentation of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Theatre Arts. During the one-hour version of Hudson's solo show, Anne Hathaway weaves sonnets, soliloquies, and songs from Shakespeare's works with her intimate account of her marriage to Stratford-Upon-Avon's famous glover's son.

"Anne discovers her own voice in Mrs. Shakespeare," says Hudson, director of marketing for theater arts and the Pitt Repertory Theatre. "She finds that many of her husband's words capture her own emotions, illustrating the universality of Shakespeare's works. My script also conveys how some of Shakespeare's life experiences are clearly reflected in the plays and sonnets." Originally conceived as her master's thesis project at Pitt and produced by New Place Communications, Mrs. Shakespeare has been performed by Hudson since the late 1980s.

Anne's story begins on April 23 in the year of Shakespeare's death. Mrs. Shakespeare depicts the highs and lows of the Shakespeares' life together and some 23 years they spent apart—their rollicking courtship, wedding, the arrival of children, the death of a son, and Anne's discovery that Will has been unfaithful to her while working in London.

During the play, Hudson performs numerous sonnets, songs, and speeches by characters from 18 plays, including Kate (The Taming of the Shrew), Katherine of Arragon (Henry VIII), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Emilia (Othello), Cressida (Troilus and Cressida), and King Henry V.


Yvonne Hudson

A writer, actress, singer, and arts administrator whose career has placed her on both sides of the curtain, Yvonne Hudson has presented Mrs. Shakespeare for many organizations, schools, theatres, and festivals, including a three-week Off-off Broadway run at the TriBeCa Playhouse in 2002. Other performances include the Arts Council of Rockland's 2002 Rockland County Festival Days, the Shakespeare Garden Society, the International Museum Theatre Alliance biennial conference at the Tower of London, and Hudson's first Off-off-Broadway appearances in 1996 and '97. She also has performed readings in Shakespeare's hometown for the Stratford-Upon-Avon Writers' Circle.

The Off-off Broadway Review wrote: "Yvonne Hudson molded a tender character of nobility and courage out of history's fragmentary knowledge of Shakespeare's other half . . . . Hudson reaches the heights of poetic beauty, and of her character's strength, in tragedy, into which she richly weaves Shakespeare's textual imagery."

A native of Indiana, Pa., Hudson received the Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and communications from Point Park College and a Master of Arts degree in theater from Pitt.