Celebrate the Bard’s Birthday at the Folger

Annual Open House Includes Entertainment, Cake, Performances

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An assortment of free, fascinating family fun takes place April 14 at the Folger Shakespeare Library to celebrate the birthday of Shakespeare and the treasures held at the library opened to celebrate his work. Image: Courtesy Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol St. SE) will host its annual open house and Shakespeare birthday celebration on Sunday, April 14 beginning at 12 p.m.

This free, family-friendly event throws open the doors of the Folger for jugglers and jesters, stage combat demonstrations, Elizabethan arts and crafts, English country dancing, performances by the WETA Classical Players, U.S. Army Baroque Ensemble, the Washington Revels, a sonnet contest, and fun activities for all ages.

Make sure to be there at 4 p.m., when Queen Elizabeth “herself” cuts the birthday cake and serves to all in attendance.

See Helen Hayes Award-winner Louis Butelli (Love’s Labor’s Lost at Folger Theatre, beginning April 30) perform The Gravedigger’s Tale, a 45-minute interactive audience experience telling the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from the Gravedigger’s point-of-view. Butelli’s Gravedigger arrives with his trunk and book and employs the audience in an innovative and engaging re-telling of Hamlet.

Join the Folger’s Head Librarian Greg Prickman in the grand setting of the Paster Reading Room for Stax-Ploration Live and get up-close-and-personal with a number of rare treasures from the Folger vaults.

Folger Director Michael Witmore leads conversations in the Great Hall, where the new exhibition A Monument to Shakespeare is on display.

A Monument to Shakespeare is a revealing look at the architecture of the Folger Shakespeare Library, from its origins in 1932 as a gift to the American people from Henry and Emily Folger to its exciting future. Curated by Dr. Witmore and Curator of Manuscripts Heather Wolfe, the exhibition celebrates the story of an American monument to Shakespeare and highlights its unique architectural features.

The D.C. Public Library is again partnering with the Folger to bring its portable reading room to the Folger for storytelling. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to apply for library cards and check out their own books.

Folger staff and scholars will be on hand to answer questions about Shakespeare, and docents will lead tours of the Folger, including the historic Reading Rooms. Birthday cake will be served on the front lawn and mementos will be on sale at the Folger gift shop.

There is also a special BOGO Birthday ticket discount special available all-day April 14. The discount is available on site at the Folger Box Office and online using the promo code BOGOBDAY. Buy-one-get-one-free tickets will be available for Folger Theatre’s upcoming production of Love’s Labor’s Lost (April 30 -June 9), screenings to Ghost Light and RSC Live: As You Like It, and the Folger Poetry event featuring Pulitzer Prize-winner Kay Ryan.

For more information on Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House at the Folger, please visit https://www.folger.edu/events/shakespeares-birthday-2019.