This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of The First Folio in 1623. Shakespeare's friends and fellow actors John Heminge and Henry Condell gathered the 36 plays and the first printed edition was published in November 1623, seven years after his death. Without their actions, half of his dramatic work would have been lost.
Around 750 copies were originally printed and 235 are believed to have survived. Fifty copies are in the UK. London is home to 15 First Folios including five at the British Library and a copy on permanent display at Shakespeare’s Globe on Bankside, the reconstructed theatre for which the plays were written.
There are three First Folios in Stratford-upon-Avon, home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford and Cambridge universities each have four in their libraries. A digital facsimile is available to view at https://firstfolio.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/
It has been announced that there will be a number of commemorative productions and events taking place during the year, including a documentary, a feature film and a film festival, with more events scheduled to mark the anniversary in November.
A dedicated website has been created to mark the 400th birthday of this important book on the 8th November 2023. For more information go to https://folio400.com/
In our immediate area, we are lucky to have several Shakespearean productions on offer for your enjoyment. Banbury Cross Players are staging Romeo & Juliet in March, Harlequins are planning an outdoor production of The Tempest in Cropredy this summer and Lynden Players will be attempting The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) in May.
A cast of three actors will attempt to deliver a rendition of Shakespeare’s collected plays in one evening; a feat of breath-taking ambition originally devised by The Reduced Shakespeare Company. Tickets will be available on line from www.ticketsource.co.uk/lyndenplayers
Show dates 25-27 May 2023
In the meantime, here are a couple of rehearsal photos featuring our intrepid players.