Like any parent, when Melissa had children she wanted them to enjoy all of the things she had considered to be important and wonderful in her experience. In her adult life she had come to love the works of Shakespeare, his still relevant insights into life, his colourful humour, and his ability to use the English language so adeptly.
However, she was also acutely aware of how much more she might have enjoyed had she come to understand it when younger. To this end she felt there must be a way of enthusing her own children by removing the fear of Shakespeare encountered at school. As a result William Shakespuss was born, a little white cat with more than a passing resemblance to the traditional portrait of the Bard.
Melissa knew that to capture a child's imagination, the younger they are the better. The problem was to reduce the complexities of Shakespeare's most well-known plays to their barest bones.
It was not enough to simply remove the sub-plots and make the language more modern or simple, there had to be a bigger draw.
In order to gain a love for the story-telling the players became a variety of cute animals, friends of the little white cat, with whom a child could become familiar and not be threatened or confused by the unusual names and characters.
That creative moment was nearly fifteen years ago, the format and the look of Shakespuss and the characters was quite different to the familiar Shakespuss of today. For some years the idea lay dormant. Melissa was already known around the world for her portrait art, but during this time her manager, Lynda Owen, gained four remarkable grandchildren, the next generation of potential Shakespuss lovers.
A brief foray into the world of licensing realised the potential and uniqueness of the product, and so the characters were brought up to date, and the wheels were set in motion to build Shakespuss & Co Ltd.
With the impetus of enthusiastic grandchildren and the support of a successful businesswoman in Lynda, Melissa and Lyn have finally brought Shakespuss and his friends to the international market.
The stage is set to bring Shakespeare to any child from 2 years old up, through animation, books, toy-play, and no end of fun material, and to every corner of the globe.