‘In celebration of this day with shows, Pageants, and sights of honour.’

Henry VIII, Act 4, scene 1.

Edward Blount

Mr Blounte

Isaac Jaggard

Isaac Jaggard

‘Entered for their copy under the hands of Master Doctor Worrall and Master Cole, warden; ‘Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies

From the entry of The First Folio on the 8th November 1623 in the Stationers’ Register at The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, Ave Maria Lane, London.

Celebration

Folio400 aims to arrange an array of ‘shows, pageants and sights of honour’ to celebrate the 400th Birthday of The First Folio, the first printed edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays, in 2023. These currently include (but are not limited to) the following plans;

Folio400 Website

A comprehensive website exploring the Folio’s publication, the people involved, the plays and where the remaining 235 First Folios are today. The site puts together the printed with the spoken word, with leading actors reading from The Munro First Folio. Over 60 original images have been created, made using similar techniques to those of 1623. Folio400 contributors tell us what the Folio means to them. You are there now! 

Exhibition

An exhibition at a leading London or regional museum, looking at the role The First Folio has played in Culture and Art over the last 400 years.

TV Documentary

Examining the First Folio’s birth and how it became ‘The World’s Most Wanted Book’. The tale of a tortuous journey from an inky print-house in London to the present day, the cultural shockwave it has spread across the world, and the devotion it inspires among those who covet it.

By kind permission of Pete Le May © 2021

Feature Film

Using imagination and wit to fill the gaps between the facts we know, this will be an inspirational, humorous and human story telling how the First Folio came to be, and how it very nearly came not to be. A story has been written by Dominic Dromgoole, and a screenplay written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman.

Coins & Stamps

We hope to persuade the Royal Mint and the Royal Mail to commemorate the Quatercentenary of the Folio’s Publication in coinage and stamps.

Film Festival

A Festival of Black & White films, including silent ones to be succeeded, perhaps, by a Festival of Great First Folio films in Colour. 

Staged Plays

Many different Shakespeare theatres around the world have diverse and ambitious plans for 2023.  Folio 400 will help promote those projects aimed specifically at the commemoration of the Folio, and help them to link with each other.

By kind permission of Pete Le May © 2021

Opera & Ballet

We hope to assist with linking up with lyric theatre houses which aim to share in this celebration of Shakespeare’s enduring stories, and in cross-promoting their events.

Heminge & Condell in Bronze

A commemorative statue of these two great men who ‘gave us Shakespeare’ and who ‘deserve the gratitude of mankind’. A limited edition, perhaps, to be placed in cities of Folio significance (London, Washington DC, Meisei etc.,)

Press Conference & Gala Dinner

On the 8th November 2023, the plan is to hold an International Press Conference and Gala Dinner at the very place where the Book was born, at Stationer’s Hall, overseen by the Company’s Master and displaying both the hand-written Register and a First Folio.

Webinars

During 2023, Folio400 will arrange interactive webinars to expand, share and discuss various aspects of the First Folio.

Folio Day

Emma Smith (University of Oxford) and Tiffany Stern (Shakespeare Institute), with the backing of the Bodleian Libraries Oxford, are encouraging all Folio-owners to allow their copy to be on public display on Folio Day – 23 April 2023. Contact [email protected] for more details.

The list is by no means exhaustive. Folio400 aspires to be as inclusive as the book whose birthday it celebrates. Shakespeare wrote for us all; he shows us all what it is to be human. Folio400 welcomes any other ideas from anywhere, and offers the opportunity to share them on this platform.