Examining these objects, Neil discusses how Shakespeare's audiences understood and made sense of the unstable and rapidly changing world in which they lived. With old certainties shifting around them, in a time of political and religious unrest and economic expansion, Neil asks what the plays would have meant to the public when they were first performed. Neil uses objects to explore the great issues of the day that preoccupied the public and helped shape the works and considers what they can reveal about the concerns and beliefs of Shakespearean England. Contributing to the programmes will be Shakespeare scholars, historians and experts on witchcraft and warfare, fencing and food, luxury trade and many other topics. They discuss the issues these objects raise - everything from exploration and discovery to violence, entertainment and the plague.