The artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), who got his big break at a Preston Guild celebration, has suggested William Shakespeare may have been gay.
Former Preston Catholic College student Greg Doran joined the RSC as an actor 30 years ago and became an assistant director two years later.
Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio Four, he said the iconic playwright's perspective may hold vital clues about his sexuality.
"I guess a growing understand of Shakespeare as I have worked with him over the many years that I have, makes me realise his perspective is very possibly that on an outsider," he said.
"It allows him to get inside the soul of a black general, a Venetian jew, an Egyptian queen or whatever and perhaps that outsider perspective has something to do with his sexuality."
He said Victorian academics 'whitewashed' Shakespeare's 154 sonnets, which focused on love and beauty themes and were mainly addressed to a young man.
He added: "It wasn't somehow kosher for the great national bard to possibly have affectations for his own sex and therefore that process, to kind of whitewash through the sonnets.
"I am just aware of how many times Shakespeare has gay characters, and how sometimes those gay characters are not played as gay, and I think in the 21st century that's no longer acceptable."
Shakespeare's sexuality has been widely debated historically, though he married as a teenager and had three children with wife Anne Hathaway, according to records.