Shakespeare’s 457th birthday is coming up on April 23. Here at the Folger, we’re celebrating virtually with Shakespeare fans around the world. Visit our website to find ways to party with the Bard all month, like speaking a speech, staging a scene, or snapping a selfie. Then, share your creations with us on social media with #ShareYourShakespeare!
Looking for more ways to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday? Check out these programs and productions from the Folger’s theater partners.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s new on-demand streaming production, I, Cinna (The Poet), is available through May 2. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, humble, apolitical poet Cinna hardly says a word before an angry mob mistakes him for one of the conspirators against Caesar and tears him to pieces. Now, Cinna searches for the subject for a new poem and invites you, the audience, to write along live, in a searing exploration of words and actions, protests and power. Meanwhile, the theater’s hit streaming show I, Banquo continues its run through April 18.
Catch two new films from the Nashville Shakespeare Festival: a five-actor Romeo and Juliet and a two-actor A Midsummer Night’s Dream, each with an original score by composer Rolin Mains and subtitles available in English and Spanish.
Hamlet: On the Radio, from The Old Globe and KPBS, will air beginning April 23. The Old Globe’s Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein directs this audio revival of the theater’s hit 2017 production of the play starring Grantham Coleman. Listen for free on KPBS Radio 89.5 FM, on the KPBS app and website, or on your smart speaker. Take a deep dive into the production with The Old Globe’s many online theater programs, including Edelstein’s Thinking Shakespeare Live: Infinite Book series; a digital remount of Shakespeare in San Diego, an exhibit The Globe mounted when one of the Folger’s copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio visited San Diego in 2016; upcoming Vicki and Carl Zeiger Virtual Insights Seminars with Michael Genet and Barry Edelstein; and the return of On Book, The Old Globe’s Shakespeare reading group.
Before Hamlet takes to the airwaves, join The Old Globe virtually for their sixth annual Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare!, April 17 at 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT. This year, teaching artist Gerry Flores Tonella guides families through playful and interactive activities from the comfort and safety of home.
Seattle Shakespeare’s production of Troilus and Cressida was still in rehearsal when the pandemic forced the company to cancel the production. Now, catch a free virtual reading of the play with most of the production’s original cast, streamed live on April 22 and on-demand April 23 – 25. Both armies and lovers battle it out in this funny and insightful drama of revenge and romance. Troilus and Cressida’s doomed devotion mirrors the world of war all around them. Classic characters from Homer’s Iliad—Hector, Ulysses, Achilles, Ajax, Helen—leap to life with the help of Shakespeare’s imagination to reveal the follies of war.
Psst… can you keep a secret? Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is throwing Shakespeare a surprise party, hosted by Queen Elizabeth I, April 23 at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT. Join Theatricum on Zoom to celebrate with games, instant cold readings from Shakespeare’s plays, laughter and mayhem for audiences over age 13, and a chance to ‘dunk’ the Master of Revels! Be sure to get there on time to avoid spoiling the surprise. Register for free tickets at https://theatricum.com/shakespeare/.
Detroit students, get ready! Shakespeare in Detroit will be hosting youth auditions for their educational Shakespeare STEAM program on April 24. With safety protocols in place, the company will host a summer conservatory to supplement in-person learning many high school students missed out on over the past year. The conservatory will result in a filmed, onstage production of Romeo and Juliet.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe, Seattle Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Detroit, and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum are members of the Folger’s Theater Partnership Program.