Shakespeare's Birthday

Celebrating Shakespeare's birthday

Sunday, April 19, 2015, noon to 4:00

Happy Birthday, Will!

Join the Folger for this beloved annual tradition, as we celebrate the birthday of the Bard with a day full of festivities.

From family festivals to performances to birthday cake, from lectures to scholarly conferences to poetry readings and more, there's something for everyone—including cake! The full schedule of events will be available in March 2015.

We’ll see you there!

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture

Lynne Magnusson: Shakespeare and the Language of Possibility
Thursday, April 16, 2015, 7:30pm

In this free lecture, Professor Lynne Magnusson of the University of Toronto will explore how Shakespeare’s language challenged, edited, and reframed early modern conceptions of speech. This is a lecture about how a set of small words—may, can, will, would, ought, must, shall, should—is used creatively in Shakespeare’s plays to ground situations in potentiality. Focusing especially on “shall” and “may” in Julius Caesar, this talk explores how Shakespeare grounds his plots in imagined and contested futures. Brutus reflects that Julius Caesar “would be crowned. / How that might change his nature.” Deliberating his course of action, Brutus is driven by what “Caesar may. / Then lest he may, prevent.” Professor Magnusson will explain how these common auxiliary verbs play key roles in dramatic dialogue and in the complex mental deliberation of individual characters.

While this event is free, we do ask people to register in advance; to do so, please complete our registration form.

Magnusson’s lecture opens the Folger Institute's symposium, Shakespeare’s Language.


Kids learn swordfighting at Shakespeare’s Birthday

Kids learn swordfighting at Shakespeare’s Birthday