Cafe Inquiry: Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Shakspere of Stratford was not Shakespeare

Wednesday, May 25th 2016 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, May 25th 2016 at 9:30 pm
Center for Inquiry-L.A., 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027

Doubts about the authorship of Shakespeare’s works have been raised over the years, most recently by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC). To support those doubts, John Shahan, chairman and CEO of SAC, will speak at Café Inquiry on Wed., May 25, at 7:30 p.m.

In 2007, SAC launched its Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare, first in the U.S. in same-day signing ceremonies at UCLA's Geffen Playhouse and at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Later that year, renowned Shakespearean actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, who won a Supporting Actor Oscar this year, led a signing ceremony in the U.K. The Declaration has been signed by more than 3,500 people – more than 1,300 with advanced degrees, over 600 current/former college/university faculty members, and 68 notables, including leading academics Robin Fox and Dean Keith Simonton, and U.S. Supreme Court justices J.P. Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor.

John Shahan

After nine years, according to Shahan, Stratforidians have been unable to rebut the Declaration and unable to write a counter-Declaration stating why Mr. Shakspere's authorship is beyond doubt. Last month, the Coalition issued a sequel to the Declaration, titled "Beyond Reasonable Doubt," presenting new evidence and arguments that strengthen authorship doubters' position to such an extent that it now seems virtually certain that William Shakspere of Stratford was not William Shakespeare, Shahan said.

Shahan, the principal author of the Declaration, is an independent scholar with a background in the behavioral sciences and health services research. He has a BS degree in Psychology and a master’s in Public Health, both from UCLA. Shahan worked in the mental health field for the State of California, the Mental Health Commission of LA County, and Thalians Community Mental Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He also served in Gov. Brown’s Office and worked in the Planning Department at the regional offices of Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, in Pasadena, before retiring to pursue his interest in the Authorship Question.

Shahan suggests reading the 3,000-word Declaration in advance. He will bring flyers about it and copies of his book, Shakespeare Beyond Doubt? -- Exposing an Industry in Denial, co-edited with author Alexander Waugh, Honorary President of the SAC and grandson of novelist Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited). Jacobi and Rylance also appeared recently on NPR’s Morning Edition in Renee Montagne's interview. There also is a YouTube video of the two actors talking about the Declaration.

A few years ago, Skeptical Inquirer had a cover story about the authorship controversy, casting doubt on the doubters. In 2011 under the auspices of the L.A. Press Club, which makes its home here at the Center, the Coalition held a press conference in the Steve Allen Theater with actor Michael York.

We expect a lively discussion of the evidence for the doubts about Shakespeare!


Donations to help keep this program running are much appreciated.
Held in the Steve Allen Theater lobby at CFI-L.A.

Admission is free.