Press Release: Shakespeare's Birthday at Home

Press Contact

Garland Scott
gscott@folger.edu

Peter Eramo
peramo@folger.edu

Folger launching world’s largest celebration of Shakespeare by audiences in history with the Royal Shakespeare Company
 
#ShareYourShakespeare on social media with activities and games, performances and Shakespeare character selfies—plus live streamed events
 
The Folger is inviting audiences all over the world to #ShareYourShakespeare on social media in a global celebration of Shakespeare and what his plays and poems mean to us. New programs and activities have been created — available online at www.folger.edu/birthday — to inspire audience-curated performances, imaginative new art, recipes and more for at home birthday celebrations for the Bard, and educational resources for students and teachers. On Thursday, April 23rd, the Folger will also produce live digital events throughout the day.
 
#ShareYourShakespeare – A Global Celebration
 
The community-based program launches with #ShareYourShakespeare and an invitation to join a virtual celebration with audiences around the globe to share their love of Shakespeare in a variety of ways. 
 
Whether performing a speech or acting out a scene with Legos, recreating the Folger’s bas reliefs of nine beloved plays, painting a picture or writing a sonnet, or baking a dish for dinner that Shakespeare might have enjoyed and wearing a ruff for dinner, a full slate of activities and programs from the Folger, as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company, offer many ways to explore Shakespeare’s works and join a community of students, artists, families, teachers and professors, theatergoers, and Shakespeare enthusiasts in a virtual celebration of shared creativity, community spirit, collective resilience, and the enduring power of storytelling. 
 
Audiences everywhere are invited to Share Your Shakespeare by film or photograph, in any way they like and upload to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, tagging @FolgerLibrary and using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare beginning April 15. A full slate of programs and activities is available at www.folger.edu/birthday
 
“The Folger is adapting to the current pandemic as so many others are doing: by finding community wherever we can and engaging in new ways,” says Michael Witmore, the Folger’s director. “We are challenging ourselves and others to try new things in the spirit of Shakespearean improv – and to share them with a global community. Creativity comes in many forms, and while very few of us (very, very few) could sit down and write King Lear—as Shakespeare is thought to have done—we make the most of what we have. Join family members and friends, take whatever you have around you, and be part of a Shakespeare takeover in your own place of refuge. It doesn’t matter where you start or finish, how polished your results. We just want to show what ordinary creative people—which means, all people—can do when we put our minds and hearts together in a time of crisis. Just because we are sheltering in place doesn’t mean we can’t create in place too!”
 
Gregory Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company adds, “With our stages currently empty, productions cancelled and our building closed, it feels more important than ever to connect with our audiences, artists and partners across the world through shared experiences and to celebrate those everyday acts of human creativity and resilience that continue to inspire us, raise a smile and propel us forward, together in times of crisis. Whilst we can’t be there for Shakespeare’s birthday this year, we will instead be marking the day with a global celebration in which audiences everywhere, can play their part."
 
How the Folger is Supporting Education and Enrichment During COVID-19
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Folger is committed to sharing online resources and experiences to support education and enjoyment at home. We have made available our Folger Theatre production of Macbeth available to stream on YouTube, streaming versions of our seven Folger Audio Editions with Simon & Schuster Audio, the full text and commentary of our Folger Editions on The Folger Shakespeare, new episodes of our Shakespeare Unlimited podcast, and blogs. We offer weekly webinars for teachers with our online resources available on a Teaching During COVID-19 webpage. Shakespeare for Kids offers activities for younger children. Our reading room staff continue to virtually work with researchers and @FolgerResearch on Twitter connects over #FolgerTea each Thursday at 3pm (EST). More online experiences and resources continue to be added to folger.edu as they’re added. Connect with the Folger on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and through our newsletters to receive updates. 
 
This project is supported by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
 

About the Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. We provide unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of pathbreaking research. We offer the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages. Learn more at www.folger.edu.

 

Press Contact

Garland Scott
gscott@folger.edu

Peter Eramo
peramo@folger.edu