Shakespeare's Birthday at Home

Our revels may have ended but you can keep the celebration going by enjoying archived videos of our live events and continuing to #ShareYourShakespeare. 

Join us for the largest celebration of Shakespeare by audiences in history

We're delighted to be collaborating with you (yes, you!), along with our friends at the Royal Shakespeare Company, to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday at home on Thursday, April 23, using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare.

"The Folger Shakespeare Library is adapting to the current pandemic as so many others are doing: by finding community wherever we can and engaging in new ways," says Folger Director Michael Witmore. "We are challenging ourselves and others to try new things in the spirit of Shakespearean improv—and to share them with a global community."

This virtual birthday event is open to all ages, with every activity including many options for kids and families. Please join us by sharing your creations—from super quick-and-simple ideas to more ambitious ideas—or just get ready to enjoy and revel in others' contributions. Try any of the following options:

Enjoy a virtual event

We're live on April 23 with talks, #Staxpeditions in our collection, and a Macbeth Watch Party with the cast—on Facebook and YouTube. Tune in—archived videos of all events available on Facebook and YouTube!

Speak the speech

You may be new to Shakespeare, or you may have a favorite passage. Try a line or a speech and read it aloud. If it means something to you, tell us. Or, with your family or friends, turn a single speech into a group “choral” reading (at home or on Zoom). Check out our short, curated scenes for one or more actors and give it a go.

Strike a pose

Recreate one of our famous Folger Shakespeare bas-reliefs of scenes from the plays—or take a selfie as your favorite Shakespeare character.

Make a picture

Tip your hat to the Bard and his plays with works of art or visual shenanigans, including paintings, drawings, cartoons, photos, dioramas, and more—or put the words of a Shakespeare passage on display in cards, signs, or videos.

Write a sonnet

In keeping with a long-standing Shakespeare's Birthday Open House tradition at the Folger, write your own 14-line sonnet. We've also included other interesting sources about Shakespeare's sonnets—and the modern-day Pop Sonnets based on pop songs—including episodes from our podcast Shakespeare Unlimited.

Throw a Shakespeare party

Celebrate the Bard's birthday at home and share some photos! We hope our recipes and other ideas add to the occasion.

Still more activities and resources

Support the Folger and sustain what you love

At the Folger, we are deeply proud of the incredible community that we have fostered in these uncertain times. Please join with us in sharing Shakespeare with growing, diverse audiences at home and around the world by making a gift.

Make a gift

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.