This year (in fact, TOMORROW) marks the 400th year of Shakespeare’s death. And what better way to celebrate the life of the Bard and his extraordinary works than visit his First Folio that is touring around the United States?
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., decided to honor Shakespeare by touring his First Folio around all 50 states. And I was able to catch it when it was in Illinois! Now, I would say “Chicago,” but the First Folio never made it to the city. In fact, the Folger Shakespeare Library committee planning the First Folio tour liked the programs and activities planned by the Lake County Discovery Museum out of all the other bids from museums, libraries, and universities as the Illinois host.
Lucky for me that was an easy 45-minute drive on two state highways. Thank you, Wauconda!
I was able to snag a few pictures, although in the low-light setting and the surprisingly long line, there might be some shadows cast upon the iconic folio…
Opened to Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1, the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy.
Sometimes I think people don’t truly realize the historical and societal impact something like Shakespeare’s First Folio has until they’re at events such as these. One of the banners in the exhibit hall for this event listed the 36 plays that appeared in the First Folio; 18 of which would’ve been lost if it wasn’t the First Folio wasn’t preserved. A few of these 18 plays are Antony and Cleopatra; Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, The Winter’s Tale.
Imagine if those works weren’t published? I’m sure it would’ve made your high school or college English classes easier, but we would’ve lost so much more than just another class reading assignment. Shakespeare expanded our vocabulary, gave us common phrases, and created unforgettable characters and stories that have transcended time.
Give Shakespeare a little love and appreciation this weekend as the world still celebrates his life four centuries after his passing.
2016 Shakespeare Events
There are only a fraction of the events happening in celebration of Shakespeare. If you know of any in your area, feel free to post them in the comments!
- First Folio tour host locations and dates, find your state!
- The Reduced Shakespeare Company (RSC) performs Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Folio play (abridged), Folger Theater, Washington, D.C.
- Celebration of Shakespeare fireworks, Navy Pier/Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago, IL
- Talk like Shakespeare Day! Doth thou care-eth to participate…eth?
- Shakespeare on Air schedule. WTTW 11 Chicago (check your public television stations if they’re airing anything)
- Supernatural Shakespeare exhibit, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
- Shakespeare Movie Screenings, Chicago Public Library District, Chicago, IL