Actor Michael York and Shakespeare Authorship Coalition challenge Stratford’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with new reasons to doubt the identity of author William Shakespeare in the wake of Sony Pictures’ heretical film, “Anonymous.”

Note: This story is embargoed until the date specified in the release: November 21, 2011.

Actor Michael York and Shakespeare Authorship Coalition challenge Stratford’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with new reasons to doubt the identity of author William Shakespeare in the wake of Sony Pictures’ heretical film, “Anonymous.”

Los Angeles, CA., Nov. 21, 2011 – amidst all the controversy surrounding Sony Pictures’ recently-released film Anonymous, actor and author Michael York, O.B.E., launched a powerful, multi-pronged counter-offensive against the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford-upon-Avon, and its “60 Minutes with Shakespeare” authorship campaign, initiated in response to the film. York also announced a monumental breakthrough in the controversy – detailed evidence that Shakespeare traveled all over Italy. The problem for orthodox Shakespeare scholars is that the traditional author, Mr. William “Shakspere” of Stratford-upon-Avon, never left England.

During a briefing at the Los Angeles Press Club’s Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood (10:00 a.m.  to ~noon at 4773 Hollywood Blvd. – one block west of Vermont Avenue on the north side of street) Michael York, Hilary Roe Metternich, daughter of the man who discovered the new evidence, and John M. Shahan, Chairman of the California-based Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) lambasted the SBT for its Orwellianattacks against doubters, and for poor scholarship in its “60 Minutes with Shakespeare” website, featuring 60 SBT supporters, each giving a 60-second audio-recorded response to one of 60 questions posed by the SBT.

Michael York, in language echoing that which brought down Senator Joseph McCarthy, castigated Professor Stanley Wells, Honorary President of the SBT, and Paul Edmondson, Head of Learning and Research at the SBT, for suggesting that the authorship controversy is merely another “conspiracy theory,” and for labeling doubters “anti-Shakespeareans.” “Have you no sense of decency sirs, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”* York asked. “Or, as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet, ‘O shame! Where is thy blush?'” he added. “Doubters are not ‘anti-Shakespeare,'” York insisted, “but your behaviour is most un-Shakespearean.”

SAC Chairman John Shahan announced that a coalition of a dozen authorship organizations, based in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, has rebutted each point in the SBT “60 Minutes.” The rebuttal document, titled Exposing an Industry in Denial: Authorship Doubters Respond to “60 Minutes with Shakespeare, is at the SAC website at doubtaboutwill.org. “The SBT erred in coming down from their ivory tower to attack,” Shahan said, “This rebuttal document makes clear that the best of our scholars are far superior to theirs.”

Shahan challenged the SBT (online petition) to write a declaration of the reasons why they claim there is “no room for doubt” about the identity of “Shakespeare” and post it with the names of those who have endorsed it. He noted that the SAC wrote and posted a statement of its own position, the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare, in 2007. It has now been signed by over 2,200 people – over 800 with advanced degrees, and nearly 400 current or former college/university faculty members.

Hilary Roe Metternich announced the discovery of powerful new evidence in the controversy, contained in the newly-released book,  The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard’s Unknown Travels, by Richard Paul Roe (HarperPerennial). Ms. Metternich, the daughter of the author, a prominent Pasadena attorney who died late last year, said that her father spent more than 20 years traveling in Italy, his only guide being the texts of Shakespeare’s 10 “Italian Plays” (not counting three plays set in ancient Rome).

“The clues were all right there in the plays” Metternich said. “My father found the locations of nearly every scene in all 10 of these plays – locations unnoticed by Shakespeare scholars and biographers for 400 years.” “His great chronicle – a tour de force of travel, analysis and discovery – paints with amazing clarity a picture of what the author ‘Shakespeare,’ whoever he was, almost surely witnessed before writing his Italian plays.”

Contact persons: Re: Coalition and rebuttals: John Shahan at (909) 896-2006;  jmshahan@verizon.net

Re: The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Hilary Roe Metternich: hrm3325@aol.com

——————

*Question put to Senator Joseph McCarthy on June 9, 1954, at the Army-McCarthy Hearings.

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