Posts By: Esther French

How to counteract the curse of Macbeth (er, The Scottish Play)

Don’t say “Macbeth” in a theater, or you’ll be cursed. Or at least that’s how the old superstition goes. That’s why you’ll often hear actors refer to it as “The Scottish Play.” It’s one of many stories connected with the performance history of Shakespeare plays through the years. These kind of theatrical anecdotes are the focus of… Continue Reading »


7 ideas for a Shakespeare-themed Halloween costume

We’ve got seven great ideas for Shakespeare-themed Halloween costumes. 1. The Gravedigger from Hamlet Yes, you could go as Hamlet himself and carry a skull around all night. Or you could go as the Gravedigger and carry a shovel around all night. The choice is clear. 2. Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream This Halloween… Continue Reading »


Summer memories from the First Folio tour: Ohio, North Dakota, Alaska, and Colorado

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” It may be October, but we’re feeling a little nostalgic for all the places our First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare touring exhibition traveled this summer. See a few social media highlights from the Cleveland Public Library, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Alaska State Libraries,… Continue Reading »




11 actors who have played Shakespeare and Austen roles

If you’re a fan of both Shakespeare and Jane Austen, you may have noticed some overlap in the actors who portray these classic roles in stage productions and film adaptations. As the curators of the Folger exhibition Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity write in considering Kate Beckinsale’s performances as Hero in Much… Continue Reading »


Quiz: Can you pair these Jane Austen and Shakespeare characters?

Take this quiz and test your knowledge of Jane Austen and Shakespeare! We give you a character from a Jane Austen novel, and you pick the corresponding character from Shakespeare’s plays, based on personality or storyline.


Shakespeare’s First Folio: The playlist

Curious about the book that gave us Shakespeare? We’ve assembled a playlist of seven Shakespeare Unlimited podcast episodes about the First Folio. Without this first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works, published in 1623, we might not have such famous plays as Macbeth or The Tempest. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016, the… Continue Reading »



Which Shakespeare plays are most often taught in high school English classes?

Think back to your high school English classes. Did you read Romeo and Juliet as a freshman? What about Hamlet in your senior year? Studying Shakespeare is required in the Common Core English Language Arts standards, but the Bard secured his place on the English curriculum in American classrooms long before the Common Core was established. As Jonathan Burton… Continue Reading »