William Shakespeare biography Genre: biographical Time: TRADITION says that this greatest of English-speaking playwrights made his first contact with the theater as a sort of handy man of all work. One of his tasks, according to legend, was, with the assistance of several boy helpers, to hold the horses of the wealthy patrons who attended the theater. Is is supposed that he left his family about four years after his marriage to Anne Hathaway at the age of eighteen, and came up to London to seek to better the family fortunes. London had grown prosperous under the reign of Elizabeth and at this time the group of writers frequently spoken of as the "University Wits" were in possession of the stage so far as the writing of plays was concerned. But somewhere, somehow, during those early years in London, Shakespeare gained a foothold, first probably as an actor and then perhaps as an adaptor and hack writer.