Shakespeares First Folio is one of the great wonders of the literary world. Published in 1623, seven years after the death of its author, it is the very first printed edition of his collected plays in one folio-sized volume. Without the First Folio, we would have lost half of Shakespeares dramatic works, including Twelfth Night, Macbeth, The Tempest and Julius Caesar. Without this book we wouldnt know what Shakespeare looked like. Without this book we wouldnt care about Shakespeare at all in 2023. Four centuries on from its publication, just 235 copies of the First Folio are known to have survived.
is a major project, conceived and launched by Folio-fan Marcus Coles in collaboration with Dominic Dromgoole, former Artistic Director of Shakespeares Globe and Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University. Folio400s purpose is to encourage and promote the celebration of the First Folios 400th anniversary. This includes a comprehensive and accessible website (www.folio400.com), a documentary, a feature film, exhibitions, a monument and the publication of numerous First Folio-themed books.
Folio400 aspires to be as inclusive as the book whose birthday it celebrates. Shakespeare wrote for us all; he shows us all what it is to be human. Throughout the Folio Season (running from 22 April to 8 November, the Registration date of the First Folio), private owners and institutions are coming together to display their folios around the country, for the public to view (nearly all for free).
From Winchester to Warminster, and from Bankside to the Isle of Bute, at least 20 First Folios will be of public display. There will also be one in Ireland, one in France, two in Germany and even one as far away as Auckland.
Find out where and when you can see a First Folio near you by visiting the Folio400 website: