Protest over Shakespeare Film

Shakespeare's name is being temporarily removed from pub and street signs to support a campaign against a new film which questions whether the Bard was ``a fraud''.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has criticised the forthcoming movie, Anonymous, starring Rafe Spall as the writer, as an attempt to ``rewrite English culture and history''.

It says it wants to highlight the potential impact of the film's ``conspiracy theory'', that William Shakespeare was the ``barely literate frontman for the Earl of Oxford''.

The Trust has taped over nine road signs bearing his name in Shakespeare's county, Warwickshire, for the day on Tuesday the 25th of October, which marks the film's premiere at the London Film Festival.

Shakespeare ProtestIt's covered up the Gower Memorial statue, in Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, with a sheet.

The sign on The Shakespeare pub in Welford, where the author is said to have enjoyed his last drink, is one of 10 pub signs that have being covered.

Due for release in the UK on Friday 28th of October, Anonymous stars Rhys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford, and Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I, and asks ``Was Shakespeare a fraud?''

The question of who created the 37 plays and 154 poems credited to William Shakespeare has sparked extensive debates and analytical tomes, while scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding their authorship.

Dr Paul Edmondson, head of knowledge and research at the Trust, said: ``This film flies in the face of a mass of historical fact, but there is a risk that people who have never questioned the authorship of Shakespeare's works could be hoodwinked.

``Shakespeare is at the core of England's cultural and historical DNA, and he is certainly our most famous export.

``This activity barely scratches the surface, but we hope it will remind people of the enormous legacy we owe to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.''