Posts By: Shakespeare & Beyond

The many Shakespearean roles of Irish immigrant Ada Rehan

Born Ada Crehan in Limerick, Ireland, Ada Rehan arrived in Brooklyn with her family at age five. Her big break came in the late 1870s, when theater manager Augustin Daly hired her for his New York company.


Something Rotten: An interview with the Broadway musical creators Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick

Two brothers living in England in 1595 have had their playwriting careers upended by the arrival of a new guy from Stratford upon Avon, William Shakespeare. That’s the plot of Something Rotten, a new musical that opened on Broadway in 2015. Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick (also brothers!) are the co-authors, along with John Farrell. On the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast, Karey and Wayne share more about Something Rotten, their perspective on Shakespeare, and how it all came together.


Lady Mary Wroth and ‘The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania’

Lady Mary Wroth watched Shakespeare act in his own plays, heard her relative Sir Walter Raleigh talk about founding Virginia, and almost certainly met Pocahantas and ambassadors from Morocco. Wroth’s later prose fiction echoes elements of her own life, including foreign travel, tragic deaths of siblings, arranged marriage, a lifelong love for her cousin, royal visits to her home, and then civil war.


Five women artists: Interpreting Shakespeare through sculpture and book art

This blog post spotlights five female artists whose interpretations of Shakespeare’s works are part of the Folger collection. We decided to highlight three sculptors and two book artists. Several of these artists and their work have been featured on The Collation, a Folger blog about research, scholarship, and the Folger collection.


Kim Hall: Bringing African American experiences to Shakespeare

Paul Robeson was the first modern African American to perform Shakespeare—to perform Othello, and he talks in his letters and in his essays about bringing his experiences as a student in a white arena, his experiences with racism, to the performance. So for him as an actor, he brought his experience as an African American in a racist society to this performance of Othello, a black man in a racist society. Other actors who saw him said it was like seeing Othello for the first time.


Shakespeare treasures, up for adoption

A 1957 Taming of the Shrew with beautiful lithographs. Song lyrics from 1769 extolling the goblet carved from a mulberry tree supposedly planted by Shakespeare. These and other recent additions to the Folger Shakespeare Library collection will be up for adoption in February at Acquisitions Night.


A new set of Shakespeare valentines for Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re giving a valentine to a sweetheart or a friend, why not say it with Shakespeare? We have a new set of beautifully illustrated Shakespeare valentines for you, just in time for Valentine’s Day.


Black History Month: A Shakespeare Unlimited podcast playlist

To commemorate Black History Month in February, we’re sharing a playlist of Shakespeare Unlimited episodes about the African American experience, important global figures, and the history of Shakespeare performance in Africa and the Caribbean. The podcast is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, and NPR One. Shakespeare in Black and White This podcast episode revisits the… Continue Reading »


Coat of arms discovery yields new insights into Shakespeare

Dig deeper into one of the biggest Shakespeare stories of 2016: the discovery of previously unknown depictions of Shakespeare’s coat of arms. Folger Curator of Manuscripts Heather Wolfe and Folger Director Michael Witmore elaborate on the significance of those discoveries and the insights they yield about Shakespeare.


Theater making real history

In this excerpt from the Shakespeare Anniversary Lecture Series at the Folger, Yale professor Joseph Roach argues that “the theater occasionally makes real history itself, materializing it for audiences by its own expressive means, especially so during an age of revolution and counter-revolution. And what age isn’t an age of that?”


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