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 Shakespeare performances to stage combat demonstrations to Elizabethan crafts, there's something for everyone—including birthday cake! This is also the one day of the year when the historic Reading Rooms are open to the public.
Here’s a taste of what to expect:
  • Tour the Folger reading rooms—not usually open to the public—and see their paintings and stained glass windows
  • Five-minute versions of Shakespeare’s plays from the Nickel Shakespeare girls
  • A mobile unit from the DC Public Library, where students can get a library card and hear stories about Shakespeare and his time.
  • Musical performances by WETA Classical Players
  • Swordfighting demonstrations by Casey Kaleba, the fight choreographer for an array of Folger Theatre productions.
  • A scavenger hunt of the current exhibition, Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude
  • Shakespeare’s Lounge, a space to hear engaging talks about rare book conservation, the upcoming 2016 celebration of The Wonder of Will, and the science of navigation (with a guest speaker from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)
  • An opportunity to speak Shakespeare in the Folger Theatre
  • Performances from local students
  • And...birthday cake!
These food trucks will be stationed in Puck’s Circle: DC Slices, DC Empanadas, Pleasant Pops, and Captain Cookie & the Milkman.
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.

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