Tudor Weird Walking inspiration William Kempe was a comic actor and dancer who gained widespread acclaim in the latter part of the sixteenth century. As a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men he would have shared stages with Shakespeare. A big man, Kempe was a master of physical comedy and spoke in what Shakespeare scholar Charles Boyce calls "earthly language." Kempe played his last role for Shakespeare in 1598, and in 1599 he left the company for reasons that are unclear.
Following his departure from the group, Kempe did something wonderfully strange. In the spring of 1600 he morris danced from London to Norwich. A distance of over 100 miles was covered in nine non-consecutive days of dancing, bells, hankies and all. He called this unusual feat his 'Nine Days Wonder' and published an account of it, "written by himselfe to satisfie his friends."
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