William Stanley, brother to the Earl of Derby, spends his days bullying his manservant Costrand and enjoying sexual favours from his maidservant Mary. It is the early seventeenth century and – as William himself explains to us – such behaviour is expected of men of his station. But William also engages in a much less reputable pursuit: he writes plays. This is not the kind of activity befitting a man from a noble family, and so William keeps his playwriting a secret from everyone but his servants. The Other William explores the idea that Shakespeare’s plays might in fact have been written by William Stanley (1561-1642), sixth Earl of Derby. Jaime Salom conducted a lengthy study into the life of Stanley and there are a number of allusions to his life, as well as to actual historical events.