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KSU To Display Shakespeare “First Folio”

KSAL StaffMarch 1, 2015

Kansas State University has been selected as a host site for “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare,” a national traveling exhibition of the Shakespeare First Folio, one of the world’s most treasured books. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Final touring dates for the exhibition will be announced in April.

“We are thrilled that K-State has been selected as the one site in Kansas to host the traveling exhibition,” said Karin Westman, department head of English. “We’re grateful to our campus and community partners, especially K-State Libraries and the Beach Museum of Art, for their support of the project, so we could meet the Folger Library’s strict guidelines for care of the folio during its time on campus.”

Many of Shakespeare’s plays, which were written to be performed, were not published during his lifetime. The First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. It was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors compiled 36 of his plays, hoping to preserve them for future generations. Without it, the world would not have 18 of the playwright’s works, including “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Comedy of Errors” and “As You Like It.” All 18 appear for the first time in print in the First Folio, and would otherwise have been lost.

Don Hedrick, professor of English and expert in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama, initiated the collaboration necessary for the successful application, which included proposed events and programs in conjunction with the exhibition.

“Having been selected as the Kansas site for the exhibit, K-State will sponsor a wide range of outreach events for the campus and local community,” Hedrick said. “In addition to volunteer activities by community organizations and schools, faculty from the English department and School of Music, Theatre, and Dance will offer lectures, performances and demonstrations to enhance public understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s work. At least 12 members of the English department alone will provide public activities that link Shakespeare and his folio to children’s literature, creative writing, the history of books, representations in art, his influence historically and in popular culture and film, and more.”

“First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the generous support of Vinton and Sigrid Cerf and the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation. Sponsorship opportunities of this major exhibition and the Folger’s other “Wonder of Will” programs commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death are available; learn more at

Story from Kansas State University

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