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Shakespeare's First Folio at 400

To mark 400 years of Shakespeare's First Folio, the School of Advanced Study and Senate House Library ran an exciting programme of events and publications, including a major new exhibition.

Shakespeare's First Folios: A 400-year journey

21 November 2023 - 29 February 2024 | Senate House Library 

A free exhibition at Senate House Library examined the making of one of the world’s most iconic books. The exhibition traced the extraordinary journey of the First Folio since its publication in 1623, including how it was re-issued and published in different formats, and how the book became prized by collectors, including Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence and Sir Louis Sterling, whose First Folios are now treasures of the Library’s collections.

Bringing the Book Alive

Thursday 22 February | 18:30 - 21:00 | Chancellor's Hall, Senate House

This enchanting evening brought together stars of stage and screen to read excerpts from some of Shakespeare’s famous (and lesser known) works, interspersed with exciting new poems by contemporary poets. The readings brought alive Shakespeare’s words and provided important context in which we also see how these historic works continue to speak to the ‘now’.  
Actors Samantha Bond, David Horovitch, and Will Merrick read from these beloved texts, while award-winning poet Daljit Nagra and Institute of English Studies Research Fellow Dr Yewande Okuleye read their own contemporary responses to Shakespeare's life and work. 

To revisit the readings, you can read Dr Michael Durrant's fascinating blog, 'Long read: Shakespeare's First Folio: A Moving Monument'

Shakespeare’s First Folio: Bringing the Book Alive

As part of the Library’s exhibition, Shakespeare’s First Folios: A 400 Year Journey, the Friends of Senate House Library presented Shakespeare’s First Folio: Bringing the Book Alive.

Friends and guests gathered for an enchanting evening to hear excerpts from some of Shakespeare’s famous (and lesser known) works, interspersed with exciting new poems by contemporary poets.

The event featured Samantha Bond, David Horovitch, Will Merrick, Joanna David, Daljit Nagra and Dr Yewande Okuleye.

Going Digital

On 8 November 2023, 400 years since the First Folio was entered into the register of the Stationers’ Company of London, Senate House Library have launched fully digitised versions of the First Folios in their collection.

Readers can explore these beautiful texts in detail and gain a better understanding of their history and influence.

To coincide with the digital launch, librarians and researchers at the School of Advanced Study have also published a series of blogs examining the Folio and its impact from a range of critical perspectives. Read them here