Posts By: Esther French

America’s Shakespeare: The Bard goes west to California’s Gold Rush mining camps

Theater was explosively popular in California’s Gold Rush era, and miners couldn’t get enough of Shakespeare. San Francisco and Sacramento had major theaters that were repeatedly burning down and being rebuilt almost immediately. Even the small gold-mining towns had stages or some kind of performance space. Actors followed the money, first to California, then traveling… Continue Reading »


How the First Folio tour came together

On a typical book tour, authors travel to read from their work, sign copies, and give talks. But what if the author has been dead for 400 years? During 2016, the Folger Shakespeare Library has been sending a copy of the First Folio, one of the world’s most important and influential books, to every state,… Continue Reading »




What’s onstage in November at Shakespeare theaters across America

Soldiers returning home. Armies clashing in a bloody struggle for power. Government officials abusing their authority. These are the Shakespeare characters populating the post-election landscape at our theater partners around the U.S. this month. Henry VI Two of the Folger’s theater partners are taking on Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays this month, in which England experiences… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare and early modern girlhood

The word “girl” means different things to us today than it meant in the Middle Ages, and Shakespeare was writing at a time when that meaning was changing, as Deanne Williams of York University in Toronto explains on a recent episode of Shakespeare Unlimited.   Williams talks about the girls in Shakespeare’s plays, how he portrays… Continue Reading »



From jazzercise to Rococo garden: Four different takes on Love’s Labor’s Lost

In Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost, four friends forswear women so that they can focus on their studies. But, of course, as soon as they do, four lovely ladies enter their lives. Oh, what to do? Romance and comedy ensue. Four of our theater partners—The Old Globe, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company—staged the… Continue Reading »


Six great Shakespeare quotes about power and politics

Shakespeare has a lot to say about power and politics in his plays. These six quotes touch on what it means to be a king, the power of the law, what separates royal from common, and speaking truth to authority. Folger Director Emerita Gail Kern Paster provides some additional insight into the context of each quote…. Continue Reading »


If Shakespeare characters were running for president, who would you vote for?

In an election year, we couldn’t resist creating a quiz about Shakespeare characters running for president. This is a little like ISideWith, but for Shakespeare fans. You answer the questions, and we match you with a candidate. So, who would you vote for? Take the quiz!