Up Close: Lady Macbeth, America, and the stain of slavery

In a famous scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the sleep-walking Lady Macbeth desperately attempts to scrub her hands clean of the (invisible) blood stains from the murders committed by her and her husband. “Out, damned spot, out, I say!” she says, as her gentlewoman and a doctor secretly observe. “What, will these hands ne’er be clean?”… Continue Reading »


Excerpt – “A Short History of Shakespeare in Performance” by Richard Schoch

How have directors sought to make Shakespeare productions relevant to contemporary political issues? What is it about these plays that makes them so politically resonant? Richard Schoch (Queen’s University Belfast) explores these questions in the excerpt below, taken from A Short History of Shakespeare in Performance, which was recently published as part of Cambridge University… Continue Reading »


Where to find Shakespeare in June

This month, Shakespeare theaters across the country are bringing live theater back! Take a look at what the Folger’s theater partners have onstage this month, along with virtual talks, online streaming shows, and audio productions.


Quiz: Shakespeare characters in disguise

Shakespeare’s plays are full of characters who pretend to be someone else. Take this quiz to see if you can match each character with the false name they assume as part of their disguise.


Excerpt – “Ghosts, Holes, Rips and Scrapes: Shakespeare in 1619, Bibliography in the Longue Durée” by Zachary Lesser

What’s the most influential book for Shakespeare scholarship? The First Folio of 1623 immediately comes to mind for many. However, there’s another book, less famous but still incredibly important for Shakespeare scholars: Edward Gwynn’s set of Pavier Quartos, found in the Folger Shakespeare Library collection. Zachary Lesser takes a close look at the plays bound… Continue Reading »