In 1592, Elizabethan England is a perilous place, rife with plague, civil unrest, highwaymen, violent animal sports, and Spanish plots against the Queen. Hamnet Shakespeare, young son of renowned playwright William, buys an abandoned bear cub in the market. Hamnet names him Mummer, a travelling actor who mimes.
Boy and Bear learn showmanship! Darkly, alongside early English theatre, there flourished hugely popular yet immensely cruel bear-baiting shows, presided over by Queen Elizabeth herself, and Master of the Queen’s Bears, Phillip Henslowe, at Paris Gardens in London.
Next door Henslowe builds The Rose Theatre where he partners Shakespeare staging his early plays. And… Queen Elizabeth stages a great water pageant celebrating the anniversary of victory over the Spanish Armada.