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UD's University Museums to Host Shakespeare's First Folio


University Museums will soon be host to the original 1623 Shakespeare First Folio. Considered one of the most influential books in the world, the First Folio includes 36 Shakespeare plays, 18 of which had never been printed before. Without the First Folio, all of those plays—including “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest,” “As You Like It” and more—might have been lost forever.

Compiled by two of his friends and fellow theater colleagues, the First Folio was published seven years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616. On tour, the First Folio will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare, “to be or not to be” from “Hamlet.” Accompanying the 1623 book will be a six-panel exhibition exploring Shakespeare’s impact, then and now. The Folger Shakespeare Library, which holds 82 copies of the First Folio and is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, is touring a Shakespeare First Folio to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Old College Gallery is the only stop on the tour for the First State.

“The University Museums offers an excellent venue for this rare and important book,” says to director Janis A. Tomlinson.  “To enhance our visitors’ experience, we’ve drawn on the strengths of the UD faculty and the Delaware community to create an exciting schedule of programming examining the First Folio from a variety of perspectives sure to engage audiences of all ages.” Says Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, “Shakespeare is one of the greatest storytellers of all time. His characters are familiar to us, and his words still excite artists, scholars, and audiences around the globe. He connects us to each other, to our history, and to the themes and ideas that touch us every day. Shakespeare’s world is our world, and it is vast. We hope this exhibit invites everyone to come explore.”

You can connect to the exhibition through guided and self-guided tours, gallery talks, performances, film screenings and interactive workshops for all ages. The First Folio will be on display at Old College Gallery Aug. 31 to Sept. 25.

A schedule of programs is available at www.udel.edu/museums.

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