February is all about the Bard at Kansas State University as “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” makes its only stop in Kansas for a month of activities celebrating the famous work and marking the 400th anniversary of the man often called the world’s greatest writer.
“First Folio” is a national traveling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association. It features the 1623 folio of 36 Shakespeare plays — 18 of which were unpublished at the time — collected and published in a large-text format by the playwright’s friends.
The folio is making a stop in every state and the District of Columbia in 2016, with Kansas State University selected for the Kansas host site.
From Feb. 4-28, “Shakespeare in the Little Apple” will provide Kansans of all ages with a unique opportunity to view the First Folio and attend the celebratory public talks, dramatic performances, a teachers’ workshop and family engagements that will surround the exhibition of the rare book, said Kara Northway, associate professor of English at Kansas State University and a Shakespeare scholar.
“The First Folio that visitors will see at K-State’s Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is not a replica; it’s one of the actual 750 books, most of which are now lost, that Shakespeare’s good friends took care to have printed in 1623 London,” Northway said. “Having the Folger’s exhibition of the First Folio here in Manhattan is like getting the opportunity to see Halley’s Comet, the Egyptian pyramids or ‘The Mona Lisa’ in your own backyard.”
The university’s English department, Beach Museum of Art, McCain Auditorium and K-State Libraries, as well as several university and community organizations, are sponsoring activities and events for the monthlong celebration.
Three pre-events will kick off activities. “What is a Folio, and Why is it Coming to Manhattan, KS: Preparing for a 400-Year-Old Visitor” will be 4-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan 28, at Hale Library. This introduction to the First Folio will be presented by the university’s Don Hedrick, professor of English and Shakespeare scholar, and Northway. For those who can’t attend in person, visit the event website at k-state.edu/shakespeare400/events/index.html for more information.
“The Bard at the Bar: Midsummer Night’s Dream Mock Trial” will be 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in the Mark A. Chapman Theatre in Nichols Hall. Admission is free, but seating is limited. It is co-sponsored by the offices of pre-law advising, vice provost for undergraduate studies, McCain Auditorium and the English department.
“O Happy Hour!”: A Shakesbeer Pub Crawl will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3. Tickets include entry to Hibachi Hut, Della Voce, 4 Olives and the Tallgrass Tap House, all in downtown Manhattan. Each stop includes one complimentary adult beverage and a story performed by K-State Theater students. For tickets and more information, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ks–manhattan/shakesbeer/.
The following events are also part of “Shakespeare in the Little Apple”:
• “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” will be on display from Feb. 4-28 at the Beach Museum of Art. The First Folio Opening Reception will be 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at the museum. This free event, which is open to the public, includes a gallery tour of the folio, five-minute speed scholar presentations and a performance by the university’s Collegium Musicum.
• The Shakespeare classic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Actors from the London Stage will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, at McCain Auditorium as part of the McCain Performance Series. Tickets are available at the McCain Auditorium box office, by calling 785-532-6428 or order online at k-state.edu/mccain.
• The Manhattan Arts Center will present “Shakespeare in Performance: A Shakespeare Miscellany and ‘The Gravedigger’s Tale'” from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at the center, 1520 Poyntz Ave. For tickets, go to manhattanarts.org/253/The-Gravediggers-Tale-Other-Scenes.
• The McCain Performance Series will present Jessica Lang Dance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, at McCain Auditorium. See classical ballet language transformed into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging contemporary works. The performance also will feature a sneak preview of some of Lang’s newest work set to Shakespeare sonnets. Tickets are available at the McCain Auditorium box office, by calling 785-532-6428 or order online at k-state.edu/mccain.
• Scholar Michael Anderegg will present the lecture “Lincoln and Shakespeare” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the Hemisphere Room at Hale Library. The public lecture is co-sponsored by K-State Libraries, the University Press of Kansas and the Manhattan Public Library.
• Kids can learn about the Globe Theatre and create their own ministage set for Shakespeare at a special workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Beach Museum of Art. The cost is $5 per participant; $3 for Friends of the Beach members. Call 785-532-7718 for more information.
• Celebrate Valentine’s Day early at “Shakespeare in Love”: A Romeo and Juliet Masquerade from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, in Hale Library’s iconic Great Room. Light refreshments will be served, and costume and sonnet contests will be offered. The event is co-sponsored by the English department, K-State Libraries and the K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors. Tickets will be available Feb. 1 for $12 each or $20 per couple. Visit the event website for more information.
• Ross Duffin, a professor and renowned musicologist at Case Western Reserve University, will present the public lecture “Shakespeare’s Songbook” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, in McCain Auditorium’s Kirmser Hall. The Songbook is a meticulously researched collection of 155 songs that appear in, are quoted in or alluded to in Shakespeare’s plays.
• Shakespeare Faire: Shakespeare For All Ages will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Manhattan Public Library, 629 Poyntz Ave. Fun for the whole family, this free, public event includes English scholar speed talks; public reading of sonnets; scene presentations by K-State Theatre; music performances and “instrument petting zoo” by K-State Collegium Musicum; storytelling and puppets; afternoon film showing of a Shakespeare adaptation and Akala YouTube short film; and the presentation of gift facsimile First Folio to the Manhattan Public Library.
• The First Folio Gallery Happening will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Beach Museum. The museum educators will guide attendees through “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare” and explore Shakespeare, his time and the arts. Admission is free.
• “Shakespeare in the Little Apple” wraps up with the “Farewell O Folio!” Closing Reception from 4-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Beach Museum. K-State creative writing students will give readings of poems related to the First Folio. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Admission is free.
“First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare,” on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, and other generous donors.
Story from: Kansas State University