8th Dec, 2016

Famous Shakespeare book on display in Birmingham to mark the Bard's birthday

Solihull Editorial 21st Apr, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

ONE OF the most famous and rare books in the world will be on display at the Library of Birmingham from tomorrow.

Shakespeare’s famous First Folio – a book containing 36 of his plays published seven years after his death – will be part of the library’s Our Shakespeare exhibition running from tomorrow (April 22) to September 3.

Published in 1623, the first folio brought together the majority of Shakespeare’s work and without it there would be no copies of more than half of the Bard’s most famous plays – including Macbeth and The Tempest.

There are just 234 known copies of the First Folio in the world – one of which was discovered this week at a stately home on a Scottish island.

News of the discovery of the book, which had languished in the library of Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute for more than 100 years, has sparked interest across the world – with the Bard’s First Folio trending on social media website Twitter.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the Library of Birmingham is to stage the free Our Shakespeare exhibition, where one of the world’s 234 copies of his First Folio will take centre stage.

Our Shakespeare Curator, Julian Harrison said: “Without it, we probably would never have been able to read — or even know about — plays including Macbeth, The Tempest, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, and Anthony and Cleopatra”.

Designed for visitors of all ages, the exhibition will feature a colourful range of books, films, posters and photographs.

Visitors can explore the story of the man behind Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth, and numerous other plays.

They will be also able to listen to recordings of the works of the Bard of Avon in their original pronunciation, and see items owned by Laurence Olivier, Ellen Terry and other famous actors.

Mr Harrison added: “This is a rare and exciting opportunity for people to experience first-hand artefacts, footage and audio that they won’t have seen elsewhere. William Shakespeare is one of Warwickshire’s most famous citizens and this exhibition extends Birmingham’s record of staging innovative events in fantastic locations.”

Our Shakespeare is a free exhibition and there is a family-themed event on Saturday (April 23).

For more information visit www.libraryofbirmingham.com/event/Events/ourshakespeare.