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Our Shakespeare Exhibition at the Library of Birmingham

Home > Birmingham > Books and Writing | Exhibitions | Free | Libraries | Literary
by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event: -
Anniversary marked with free event
The 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death is being marked with a major free exhibition at the Library of Birmingham.

Our Shakespeare takes place from April 22 to September 3, 2016, and features items from around the world connected with the acclaimed playwright.

Our Shakespeare, William Shakespeare, Library of Birmingham, 400th anniversary


The exhibition will draw upon the Shakespeare Memorial Library one of the world's greatest collections devoted to The Bard and held by the Library of Birmingham along with spectacular loan items from the British Library and other institutions.

Exhibits include a colourful range of books, films, posters and photographs. Visitors will be able to explore the story of the man behind Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and numerous other plays. They will also be able to listen to recordings of the works of the Bard of Avon in their original pronunciation and see items owned by Laurence Olivier, Ellen Terry and other famous actors.

Our Shakespeare, Julian Harrison, William Shakespeare, Library of Birmingham, 400th anniversary
Exhibit: Our Shakespeare Curator Julian Harrison with an illustrated edition of Romeo and Juliet presented to the Shakespeare Memorial Library by a delegation from the Soviet Union in 1964.


Our Shakespeare will focus on four key themes:

The Warwickshire Lad taking its title from an 18th century poem, this section will include exhibits of local relevance that depict Shakespeare the man.

The Shakespeare Library telling the story of the library founded by the Our Shakespeare club in 1864, destroyed by fire in 1879 and restored with generous donations from around the world.

Shakespeare's Genius focusing on the plays and themes like ambition, love and magic, as illustrated in works such as Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The Tempest.

Shakespeare's Greatest Hits including a copy of the First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, published in 1623. It contains 36 of his plays and was published seven years after his death. There are just 234 known copies of the First Folio one of which was recently discovered at a stately home on a Scottish island. News of the discovery of the book, which had languished in the library of Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute for more than 100 years, sparked interest across the world with the Bard's First Folio trending on Twitter.

Our Shakespeare, Julian Harrison, William Shakespeare, Library of Birmingham, 400th anniversary
In the beginning: First Folio


Commenting on the First Folio, Our Shakespeare Curator Julian Harrison says: "Without it, we probably would never have been able to read - or even know about - plays including Macbeth, The Tempest, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar and Anthony and Cleopatra."

Explaining more about the exhibition, he adds: "This is a rare and exciting opportunity for people to experience first-hand artefacts, footage and audio that they won't have seen elsewhere. William Shakespeare is one of Warwickshire's most famous citizens and this exhibition extends Birmingham's record of staging innovative events in fantastic locations."

Our Shakespeare, Julian Harrison, William Shakespeare, Library of Birmingham, 400th anniversary
Venue: Julian Harrison outside the Library of Birmingham
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Why? Major exhibition to mark 400th anniversary of Shakespeare'd death
When: April 22 - September 3, 2016
Phone: 0121 242 4242
Where: Library of Birmingham
Cost: Free
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