Shakespeare's Birthday 2020: Virtual Events

Enjoy archived video of our day's events on YouTube and Facebook, links below. 

Join the Folger for these virtual events as we celebrate Shakespeare's birthday at home.

Thursday, April 23

Watch on Facebook or YouTube

The schedule at a glance:

  • 11am - Why Do Fabulously Creative People Like Shakespeare?
  • 12:30pm - Home-Schooling at Shakespeare's Table: The Meaning of Meals in The Taming of the Shrew
  • 2pm - In the Collection: Staxpeditions
  • 3pm - Stage Combat in Shakespeare
  • 3:30pm - Whiteness: A Primer for Understanding Shakespeare
  • 5pm - Macbeth Watch Party (Facebook only)

All times are Eastern Standard Time.


Why Do Fabulously Creative People Like Shakespeare?


Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes, and celebrated international theater director Iqbal Khan join Folger Director Michael Witmore in a lively conversation on the intersections between creativity and Shakespeare—and why we need both of them now.

Watch the archived video on YouTube or Facebook.

Home-Schooling at Shakespeare's Table: The Meaning of Meals in The Taming of the Shrew


What does Shakespeare have to say to us about the importance of table-fellowship in a time of strain? Join David Goldstein, co-director of Before 'Farm to Table,' our Mellon-funded collaborative research project, for this talk. In this virtual gathering, Goldstein will consider numerous ways in which Shakespeare considers food-sharing as an opportunity for teaching and learning about mental, physical, and social health.

Watch the archived video on YouTube or Facebook.

In the Collection: Staxpeditions


Join Folger Librarian Greg Prickman and his guests Colleen Theisen from Syracuse University, Adam Hooks from the University of Iowa, and Rachel Dankert from the Folger, as they explore digital libraries near and far to discover the fascinating and surprising materials they contain—based on your requests! Share your requests with the Folger on Twitter or Facebook, or by email at Here are some guiding prompts for requests: 

  • In anticipation of spring, what is your favorite flower?
  • In recognition of today, what is a word that describes your current circumstances?
  • In appreciation of Shakespeare’s birthday, think about a time you have attended a play and describe a memory.

Watch the archived video on YouTube or Facebook.

Stage Combat in Shakespeare: How to Do an Elizabethan Sword Fight in 10 Easy Steps


Fight choreographer Casey Kaleba—who has staged many fights for Folger Theatre productions—is joined by Megan Reichelt and Jonathan Rubin, members of his Tooth & Claw Combat Arts team, to demonstrate all the right moves for creating safe, fun, theatrical sword fights for your next Shakespeare scene. Ever wondered what a bell clanger is or a Corps a Corps? This demo video is for you. 

Watch on YouTube

Whiteness: A Primer for Understanding Shakespeare


The Folger Institute’s annual birthday lecture may be postponed, but our lecturer Ian Smith discusses the premise behind his topic: that race cannot be narrowed to an association with blackness. Rather, Smith calls for an understanding of whiteness as everywhere implied, but nowhere acknowledged. If it sparks self-scrutiny and personal accountability, such an understanding may make us more credible bearers of the twinned traditions of Shakespeare and humanism.

Smith is the Richard H. and Joan K. Sell Chair in the Humanities at Lafayette College, Easton, PA. Kathleen Lynch, Executive Director of the Folger Institute, moderates the conversation.

Watch the archived video on YouTube or Facebook.

Macbeth Watch Party

5–7:30pm (Facebook only)

“Something wicked this way comes.” Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with his shortest and bloodiest play, Macbeth. Join with the cast and creative team to watch the acclaimed Folger Theatre and Two River Theater production of Macbeth, co-directed by Teller and Aaron Posner.

Posner, sound designer Karin Graybash, and members of the cast—including Kate Eastwood Norris, Cody Nickell, Ian Merrill Peakes, Karen Peakes, Scott Kerns, Dan Olmstead, and Eric Hissom—will share behind-the-scenes stories and take questions about the making of this supernatural production of the Scottish play.

Watch the archived video on Facebook