Shakespeare Celebration

Shakespeare Celebration


Posted 2023-10-02 by dpmfollow

Sat 21 Oct 2023

Birmingham Bullring and Grand Central will host a day celebrating Shakespeare with free activities including roaming theatre performances, dance and music.

The event, on 21 October between 11am-4pm, will also see the city’s historic First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays unveiled by actor and director Adrian Lester.

Organised by the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project, the event follows a series of pop-up days in which the First Folio has been on tour across the city taking in community centres, libraries and other venues including Winson Green Prison.

The First Folio is one of a small number of copies of the first published collection of Shakespeare’s plays. Dating from 1623, the First Folio celebrates its 400th birthday this November.

The People’s Folio will be unveiled by Adrian Lester, who is ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project patron, on Level 0 of Bullring and Grand Central. Throughout the day on Level 0 there will be Shakespearean-inspired dance and choral performances from Kantu Ensemble and Ex Cathedra's children's choirs. Outside in St Martin's Square, the DESIblitz Art Bus will be the base for Dhol drummers playing versions of Shakespearean music and performers will speak words from the First Folio in South Asian languages including Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali.

Roaming through Bullring and Grand Central, the Natural Theatre Company will take visitors on an adventure called Shakespeare Begins: a walking performance with historical costumes. And Stan’s Cafe’s The Commentators will provide a running comic commentary on all the activities.

Birmingham’s copy of the First Folio is unique because it is the only one bought as part of a dedicated programme for improving people’s lives through culture and education. It was purchased in 1881 for all the people of Birmingham – irrespective of their background, wealth or occupation.

Adrian said: "The fact that the First Folio belongs to all the people of Birmingham is a wonderful testament to this vibrant, inclusive city. I’m really looking forward to returning home to unveil it in the Bullring as part of a spectacular celebration of culture for all. Come and join me!"

Project director Professor Ewan Fernie added: "The celebration is a great culmination of the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project to be taking the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works to the Bullring and Grand Central. Birmingham’s copy of the First Folio is ‘The People’s Folio’: the only copy in the world of this iconic book bought as part of a vision of comprehensive culture. We can’t wait to take it to the people on 21 October when we’ll be celebrating both the Folio’s 400th birthday and Birmingham’s uniquely democratic culture."

The ’Everything to Everybody’ Project is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City Council, with funding contributed by National Lottery Heritage Fund and History West Midlands. For more information on the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project see here.


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