US President Barack Obama marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death on Saturday by visiting the Globe theatre for a 10-minute performance of a scene from Hamlet, where the Danish prince poses the question: "To be or not to be".
The Globe, with its timbered, white-washed curved-walls, is London's best-loved monument to the Bard, famous for its open-air performances of the works of England's greatest playwright.
With the sun illuminating the theatre's wooden stage through the open roof, Obama was treated to a short private performance and entertained by a troupe of actors playing violins, mandolins, an accordion and penny whistles.
"That was wonderful. I don't want it to stop," Obama said of the tale of the melancholy prince before shaking hands with the actors.
The visit was something of a pilgrimage for the 44th President of the United States who has named Shakespeare's tragedies as among the top three books that have inspired him.
According to a 2008 interview he gave to Rolling Stone, the other two works were Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon" and Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls".
In 2011, he quoted from one of those Shakespeare tragedies, Richard II, as he toasted Queen Elizabeth II: "To this blessed plot, this Earth, this realm, this England."