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What's On



Exhibition   Music   Family Program   Music


Decoding the Renaissance
Nov 11, 2014–Feb 26, 2015
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A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Flanders and Italy circa 1500
Dec 16–23, 2014
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Become a Spymaster
Jan 3, 2015
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The Road to Canterbury: Music of Medieval England
Jan 9–10, 2015
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Quick list of what's on by date:
Family Program August 3, 2013–December 31, 2014

Reading Room Tours | Saturdays  FREE

Tour our historic Reading Rooms. View paintings from our Shakespeare collection, Nicola d'Ascenzo's stained-glass window inspired by Jacques's "Seven Ages of Man" speech from As You Like It,  a bust of Shakespeare based on his memorial in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, and sixteenth and seventeenth-century Flemish tapestries.

Exhibition November 11, 2014–February 26, 2015

Decoding the Renaissance  FREE

During the Renaissance, the art and science of cryptography came into their own. The advent of printing, development of diplomacy, and creation of postal systems created an obsession with encryption that produced some of the period's most brilliant inventions, most beautiful books, and most enduring legacies. Featuring the best collection ever assembled of early works on codes and ciphers.

Music December 19, 2014

A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Flanders and Italy circa 1500  

In the courts of Renaissance Italy, princes vied with each other in filling their chapels with the famous singer/composers from the North. As learned polyphony helped the rulers of Florence and Ferrara display their erudition and good taste, glimmers of a more popular native Italian style started appearing, first at the court of the Sforzas in Milan. Many of these new style works honored Mary, the most popular of all saints. With voices, winds, and strings, the Consort explores the contrast between these styles in this program of seasonal music by Josquin, Ockeghem, Obrecht, and Compère.

Music December 20, 2014

A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Flanders and Italy circa 1500  

In the courts of Renaissance Italy, princes vied with each other in filling their chapels with the famous singer/composers from the North. As learned polyphony helped the rulers of Florence and Ferrara display their erudition and good taste, glimmers of a more popular native Italian style started appearing, first at the court of the Sforzas in Milan. Many of these new style works honored Mary, the most popular of all saints. With voices, winds, and strings, the Consort explores the contrast between these styles in this program of seasonal music by Josquin, Ockeghem, Obrecht, and Compère.

Music December 21, 2014

A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Flanders and Italy circa 1500  

In the courts of Renaissance Italy, princes vied with each other in filling their chapels with the famous singer/composers from the North. As learned polyphony helped the rulers of Florence and Ferrara display their erudition and good taste, glimmers of a more popular native Italian style started appearing, first at the court of the Sforzas in Milan. Many of these new style works honored Mary, the most popular of all saints. With voices, winds, and strings, the Consort explores the contrast between these styles in this program of seasonal music by Josquin, Ockeghem, Obrecht, and Compère.

Music December 22, 2014

A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Flanders and Italy circa 1500  

In the courts of Renaissance Italy, princes vied with each other in filling their chapels with the famous singer/composers from the North. As learned polyphony helped the rulers of Florence and Ferrara display their erudition and good taste, glimmers of a more popular native Italian style started appearing, first at the court of the Sforzas in Milan. Many of these new style works honored Mary, the most popular of all saints. With voices, winds, and strings, the Consort explores the contrast between these styles in this program of seasonal music by Josquin, Ockeghem, Obrecht, and Compère.

Music December 23, 2014

A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Flanders and Italy circa 1500  

In the courts of Renaissance Italy, princes vied with each other in filling their chapels with the famous singer/composers from the North. As learned polyphony helped the rulers of Florence and Ferrara display their erudition and good taste, glimmers of a more popular native Italian style started appearing, first at the court of the Sforzas in Milan. Many of these new style works honored Mary, the most popular of all saints. With voices, winds, and strings, the Consort explores the contrast between these styles in this program of seasonal music by Josquin, Ockeghem, Obrecht, and Compère.

Family Program January 3, 2015

Become a Spymaster  

Explore the world of spies in Shakespeare's plays. Learn how secrets were kept and uncovered.

Music January 9, 2015

The Road to Canterbury: Music of Medieval England  

In this program of medieval music entirely fitting to the great space of Washington National Cathedral, Folger Consort performs a song mentioned in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, engaging dances, and ethereal motets from the Lady Masses celebrated in the side chapels of cathedrals, as well as sweet songs in Middle English and Latin. With medieval fiddle, winds, and acclaimed vocal ensemble Lionheart.

Free pre-concert discussions
Robert Aubry Davis | Fri, Jan 9, 6:30pm
Dr. Paul Strohm | Sat, Jan 10, 6:30pm


Lectures January 10, 2015

Paul Strohm: Chaucer's Tale  

Paul Strohm has been J.R.R. Tolkien Professor at the University of Oxford and, more recently, Garbedian Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. His Folger lecture, “Chaucer and the Road to Canterbury,” will begin with the surprising observation that Chaucer himself probably never visited Canterbury and that the Canterbury Tales ends with his pilgrims still short of their destination. He will go on to suggest that for late medieval England Canterbury was not only a geographical place but an idealized locus of spiritual aspiration and desire.

Music January 10, 2015

The Road to Canterbury: Music of Medieval England  

In this program of medieval music entirely fitting to the great space of Washington National Cathedral, Folger Consort performs a song mentioned in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, engaging dances, and ethereal motets from the Lady Masses celebrated in the side chapels of cathedrals, as well as sweet songs in Middle English and Latin. With medieval fiddle, winds, and acclaimed vocal ensemble Lionheart.

Free pre-concert discussions
Robert Aubry Davis | Fri, Jan 9, 6:30pm
Dr. Paul Strohm | Sat, Jan 10, 6:30pm


PEN/Faulkner January 12, 2015

In the Beginning Was the Word: An Evening with James Carroll & Marilynne Robinson  

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson and National Book Award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer James Carroll will read from their new novels and discuss the role that faith has played in shaping them as writers and what, if any, role their beliefs are expressed in their fiction.

Theater January 27–March 8, 2015

Mary Stuart  

Imprisoned by her Protestant cousin and Queen of England Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots anxiously waits for her fate to be decided. Leading ladies Kate Eastwood Norris and Holly Twyford reunite for the ultimate regal showdown in this bold new translation.

Poetry February 3, 2015

Drama & Verse: Simon Armitage and Peter Oswald  

A reading by two prominent British poet/playwrights.

Family Program February 7, 2015

Create a Code  

Use the most powerful weapon created by man to create your own code.

PEN/Faulkner February 9, 2015

The Imaginary Real: Ruth Ozeki & Claire Vaye Watkins  

Is truth stranger than fiction? Award-winning short story writer Claire Vaye Watkins and acclaimed novelist Ruth Ozeki read from their work and explore the fine line between real and imagined experience.

Lectures February 11, 2015

Pre–Show Talk: Mary Stuart  

Folger Shakespeare Library Director Michael Witmore shares his perspective on Schiller's "Mary Stuart" in an insightful pre-performance discussion. A reception with light fare is included.

Lectures February 13, 2015

“They Would Never Allow Me to Live”: The Secret Writings of Mary Queen of Scots  

Join the Folger’s Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger as she unravels the tangled history behind the secret letters that led to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. M ary had beauty, wit, and charm—and a desire for power that led her into a web of coded messages, romantic would-be rescuers, and the ultimate game of chance. Presented in association with the Folger exhibition "Decoding the Renaissance", November 11 – February 26.

Poetry February 19, 2015

Human Equations at The Phillips Collection with Rae Armantrout  

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rae Armantrout responds to the Man Ray -- Human Equations exhibition on view at The Phillips Collection (on view Feb 7- May 10, 2015).
Ticketholders may view the exhibition prior to the reading.


Poetry February 21, 2015

Crown’d in Power: Seven diverse poets unite to respond to the timeless and contemporary theme of power in the plays of Shakespeare and Schiller  

Seven diverse poets unite to respond to the timeless and contemporary theme of power in the plays of Shakespeare and Schiller. Paulette Beete, Sarah Browning, Regie Cabico, Hayes Davis, Michael Gushue, Shelley Puhak, and Joshua Weiner take their cue from the language of centuries past and go from the stage to the page to address the very human and timeless desire for power in all forms.  

Lectures February 26, 2015

Brews and Banter: Mary Stuart  

Join the Folger’s young patrons for Brews and Banter, a pre-show conversation about the exciting plays in our 2014-2015 season. Peek behind the curtain with Folger actors and staff and engage with the greatest literature in the world at the world’s largest Shakespeare library. Each Brews and Banter features an actor from our season and an intimate discussion of the play on stage. Beer and light fare is provided, and discounted tickets are available for the performance following the discussion as well as on other selected dates.

Music February 27, 2015

The Merchant of Venice: Music and Poetry of Shakespeare's Play  

Whether or not Shakespeare ever visited Venice, it is certainly true that musicians moved back and forth very freely from Italy to London. Chief among these were the extraordinary wind players of the Bassano Family. Their remarkable music is heard here, with ayres by John Dowland and string music and songs by Salamone Rossi and Claudio Monteverdi. Accompanying the music, Sir Derek Jacobi and Richard Clifford join the Consort on stage with passages from Shakespeare's great play. With violins, viol, lute, theorbo, and London's Gabrieli Consort.

Poetry March 16, 2015

Mother Tongue: Poetry in Translation– Adam Zagajewski, Clare Cavanagh with Edward Hirsch  

In this bilingual reading, Polish poet Adam Zagajewski will read alongside his translator, Clare Cavanagh, followed by a conversation moderated by Edward Hirsch.

Exhibition Ongoing, Monday–Saturday

The Shakespeare Gallery  FREE

Discover what it might have been like to see a play in Shakespeare's time in a family-friendly display, The Play's the Thing!, and explore the Folger through our visitor film on why Shakespeare matters.



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