‘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, encourage and promote an array of shows 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;

First Folios you can see in 2023

First Folios you can see in 2023 on ‘Folio Day’ (23rd April) or during the ‘Folio Season’ (4th March to 8th November)

Find out where and when you can see an original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio across the UK (and elsewhere) ranked in their distance from William Jaggard’s Print House.

Celebrate Folio400 in a theatre 400 years ago

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, Bankside, London. A ’best guess’ reconstruction of the first Globe (1599), based on available evidence, close to the original Bankside site.

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Bankside, London. An archetype of an indoor Jacobean theatre, the kind of performance space that Shakespeare and the Kings Men would recognise.

Shakespeare North Playhouse

Shakespeare North, Prospero Place, Prescot, Liverpool is a Shakespeare era playhouse, based on the ‘Cockpit-in-Court’ theatre of 1630 and earlier designs by Indigo Jones.

Blackfriars Playhouse

The ‘Blackfriars Playhouse’, American Playhouse Centre, Staunton, Virginia, USA.  Based on architectural drawings by Simon Basil (1605), Indigo Jones (1616) and John Webb (1629).

Celebrate Folio400 in Stratford Upon Avon

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and died there 52 years later in 1616, having retired from his London writing life.

The First Folio was published in November 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death.

Holy Trinity Church, Stratford

Holy Trinity Church, Stratford is where Shakespeare was baptised, worshipped and is buried. Both his monument and his tomb inside the Church are mentioned in the L. Digges poem ‘TO THE MEMORIE of the deceased Author Master W. SHAKESPEARE.’ in the preliminary pages of the First Folio (1623).

Royal Shakespeare Company

Stratford is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. They create world class theatre, made in Stratford and shared around the world. They have 3 theatres (The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Swan Theatre and The Other Place). They also tour and regularly perform in London. Their 2023 Shakespeare season is dominated by plays that may have been lost without the publication of the First Folio. 

Photo by Stratford Computers

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon and promotes the engagement of his works, life and times all over the world.

Photo by Ian Pudsey
Shakespeare's Schoolroom
Photo by Sara Beaumont

Shakespeares's Schoolroom & Guildhall

Immerse yourself in sixteenth century Stratford-upon-Avon; explore the very room where William Shakespeare sat in the 1570s and where he wrote his first works. Discover the space where young William saw plays performed by the finest actors of the day and where he was inspired to become the world’s greatest playwright.

TV Documentary

Folio400 has teamed up with Yorick Entertainment and the American Movie Channel (AMC) to make a documentary on how the First Folio came to be. A book put together, printed and initially sold in the City of London 400 years ago, it delivered Shakespeare’s plays to us and has become ‘one of the greatest wonders of the literary world’. Filming began in July 2022. ‘Will’s Book’ will be aired later in 2023.

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.

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.

The website ‘Touchstone’ is regularly updated, and provides details of nearly all Professional and Amateur Shakespeare productions of Shakespeare plays in the UK. 

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men have already announced that they will be celebrating the Folio’s 400 anniversary with a touring production of Romeo & Juliet. 

The Peoples Theatre in Newcastle are putting on a production of Twelfth Night as part of the Folio400 celebrations between the 28th March to 1st April 2023.

By kind permission of Pete Le May © 2021

William Jaggard Print House Monument

In late November 2022, Folio400 failed to obtain planning permission to place a timeless ‘larger than life’ First Folio on the site it was printed; William Jaggard’s Print House, in Lauderdale Place on The Barbican Estate. The City Arts Initiative had concerns about the lack of artistic merit is Folio400’s original design. Taking on board their comments, a second, simpler design was put forward in marble and brass. Discussions are ongoing.

Design One – July 2022

Design Two – January 2023

Opera & Ballet

A number of Opera and Ballet Houses have already announced the inclusion of Shakespeare inspired operas in their 2023 repertoires; These include (but are not limited to);

Opera

 

Ballet

  • La Scala Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’

First Folio Books

We have started a collection of noteworthy publications, both recent and upcoming, relating to the First Folio.  More to come shortly…

Shakespeare’s Syndicate - Ben Higgins
The Intertwined Lives - Chris Laoutaris

Recent Plays

Recent plays written about Shakespeare’s First Folio and where you can see them

Compositor E

By Charlie Dupré (2022).

It is 1623, and 17-year old John has come to London to work as an apprentice typesetter, under the mentorship of printer Isaac Jaggard, on a potentially game-changing new commission.  But having persuaded Isaac to let him progress to setting from a confusing manuscript of ‘Macbeth’, John’s trauma begins to spill out onto the print shop floor. Why were those men so scared of his mother? And why are these children scurrying around with sheets of drying ink called… ‘devils’?

A play about the hidden fingerprints of history – produced in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio – that asks who the storytellers really are.

World Premiere 14th-19th February 2023 at the Network Theatre, Vault Festival.

The Book of Will

The Book of Will

By Lauren Gunderson (2017).

After the death of their friend and mentor, the two actors are determined to compile the First Folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives. They’ll just have to borrow, beg, and band together to get it done. Amidst the noise and colour of Elizabethan London, The Book of Will finds an unforgettable true story of love, loss, and laughter, and sheds new light on a man you may think you know.

Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch 27th April – 13th May 2023 – Tickets

Octagon Theatre, Bolton 17th May – 3rd June 2023 – Tickets

Shakespeare North, Prescot 19th October – 11th November 2023 – Tickets

‘Nay, Remember Me!

‘Nay, Remember Me!’ by Amelia Marriette (2001) published by Lazy Bee Scripts (2018)

Nay, Remember Me! was first performed as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Fringe Festival at the Other Place Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2001 to sell out audiences.

There will be new production at the Coach House Theatre in Malvern, Worcestershire, as part of the Malvern Folio 400 Festival – a week-long celebration of all things Folio related! The festival will run from the 5th to the 11th of November, 2023.

Nay Remember Me! by Amelia Marriette Malvern Theatre Players 400th Anniversary Production 2023

Shakespeare Unbound – A Gift to the Future

Shakespeare Unbound is a one-man play by Colin David Reese  that explores a life in theatre as seen through the eyes of John Heminges. 

An abridged version of the play can be seen for free online os  Saturday 18 March 2023, 8:30pm–11:30pm CET.  The video of the full-length play can also be purchased from Reese’s website.

Celebrate Folio400 in Stratford, Ontario

The Stratford Festival, Ontario

Folio400.com is pleased to promote The Stratford Festival, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

Press Conference & Gala Dinner

On Wednesday the 8th November 2023, the first Folio’s actual 400th Birthday, an International Press Conference will take place, preceded by a re-enactment of the registration. A Charity Gala Dinner will take place in the evening to raise money for the plague-ravaged Globe theatre. 

The Folio400 ‘Kick-Off’ Event

Marbach (North of Stuttgart)

The First Folio was first announced to the world in the October 1622 Frankfurt Book Fair catalogue; “Playes, written by M. William Shakespeare, all in one volume, printed by Isaak Iaggard, in fol.”. In October 2022, Shakespeare’s Globe teamed up with the Deutsches Literartarchiv (DLA) in Marbach to celebrate the 400th anniversary of this announcement. Entitled ‘Will’s Book, Shakespeare’s First Folio 400 years on’, the event included an exhibition which opened on the 12th October 2022 (including a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Folio, as well as a Ben Jonson Folio and an array of associated quartos and other artefacts), a series of performance events and a 2 day International Conference ‘Shakespeare-An International Legacy’. (October 13th and 14th 2022).

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.