Malvern Shakespeare Folio 400 Festival

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Graphic poster with a page of a book in the background and a drawing of Shakespeare wearing sunglasses

A brand new festival to celebrate a very old book is coming to Great Malvern from 5 – 12 November 2023. It’s the 400th anniversary of the first folio – the first time that all Shakespeare’s plays were collated into one book – and The Coach House Theatre are putting on an exciting programme of plays, films, workshops and talks to celebrate.

You may have read some articles in the press or seen some of the many tweets and posts on social media this year about the 400 anniversary of the publishing of Shakespeare’s First Folio. There’s been a lot of fuss about it, which may seem strange. Is this anniversary really so important?

Well, Shakespeare is in our DNA, and he isn’t going anywhere – every day, you can hear references to Shakespeare’s works and as he invented over 1,700 words, many of us are speaking his words and phrases on a daily basis.

The First Folio was the first complete works of Shakespeare to be published, and it is perhaps the most important secular book to have ever been printed. It was put together by John Heminges and Henry Condell. Thanks to them, we have 37 Shakespeare’s plays to enjoy and perform – 18 would have been lost without the hard work and dedication of these men.

The importance of this anniversary is being celebrated worldwide, and the Coach House Theatre is hosting an 8-day festival, with help from the Resident Company, the Malvern Theatre Players, and with financial assistance from Malvern Hills District Council. The festival includes Shakespeare on Film sessions and six performances of the comedy-drama Nay, Remember Me! by Amelia Marriette, telling the true story of the making of the First Folio, first performed at the RSC’s Other Place Theatre. There will be workshops for school groups, performances by Melting Pot Theatre, and several fascinating talks, including a very special talk on the actual anniversary of the publishing of the First Folio on 8 November at 3,00 pm. Professor Buchanan, the Master of St Peter’s College Oxford and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, is a leading authority on the 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays and will be presenting her talk – “[S]carce a blot in his papers: Celebrating 400 years of the 1623 Shakespeare Folio.”

A FREE exhibition in the Jackson Gallery will also feature works on paper relating to the First Folio of Shakespeare’s Plays will be on throughout the festival.

2023 is a big year for William Shakespeare and Bard, and Malvern will be a part of this world event, so please block out the dates in your diary, bring your kids along, and tell your friends about it! Booking will open soon, so don’t miss out! This opportunity won’t come along for at least a hundred years when our great-great-grandkids will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the publishing of the First Folio.

You can even turn your trip to Malvern into a mini break because the Foley Arms Hotel in Malvern has very kindly agreed to offer all those who have booked to see any event or performance a 15% discount on any room.

Tickets are now available from Malvern Theatres Box Office: 01684 892277 [email protected] or visit the link below.

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