Shakespeare News

400th Foolery | Fit for a Fool

By April 15, 2016 No Comments

With the explosion of Shakespeare that the 400th deathaversary has sparked there’s more Shakespeare foolery news to be had than normal, which in our books is great news! This week we’ve got tales of opportunities to buy your own folio, Shakespeare stamps, the upcoming birthday/deathday celebrations and more.

First of all, have you ever wanted to get your mitts on a folio? Not just to hold for a moment but to own, really own. Well if your answer to this is a resounding “Yes!” then you’re in luck. At the end of May not one, not two, not even three but four Folios are going on sale. Dubbed “the holy grail” (which doesn’t mean you need to dress as Indiana Jones to collect them, though you’d certainly score some bonus Shakespeare Standard points!) they don’t come cheap and are expected to sell at between £800,000 and £1.2 million, leaving quite a hole in your pocket. Before they go on sale you can go and window shop at Christies in London not quite discovering or owning the holy grail but still a bit of an adventure!

We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleepSticking with 400th festivity for the moment, if you’re based in the UK you can use Shakespearean lines to send letters. No, I’m not suggesting your write to your mother only in Shakespearean verse, but you can buy a collection of stamps in Shakespeare’s honour. Featuring lines from Hamlet, The Tempest and Julius Caesar among others this, like the celebratory coinage, is one way Shakespeare’s death is certainly making a mark in the UK, and perhaps a more affordable way to celebrate than purchasing the pricy folios!


Shakespeare is also riding the tube this year, ok, not literally – I think if he showed up on the subway that would make some international headlines! Nonetheless, in honour of his death a new design has been drawn of the iconic London tube map. Sounds a bit weird, well bear with me. The idea behind the project was to consider connections that can be drawn across the plays through themes and characters, as well as to show select theatres where Shakespeare’s plays were performed and no, I don’t just mean the Globe! You can pick up a poster of this from the London Transport Museum on at the Globe or on the online shop of either.

In a fascinating exhibition opening at the Folger on Shakespeare and advertising you can see how he and his works have been used to sell all sorts of products including Coca-Cola. Yes, really! Click here to find out more.

If you can’t get enough of Shakespeare, his birthday, and his deathaversary then next weekend will surely be the highlight of your year. With all kinds of events kicking off across the globe (no pun intended..) to celebrate Shakespeare here’s just one thing you might be interested in, an event that you don’t even have to leave the sofa to enjoy. That’s right a TV show live from Stratford featuring an array of stars and all part of Shakespeare’s birthday bash. This airs on the BBC in the UK on the 23rd of April and will be available to view online after the event.

And finally, do you like to go to the theatre? Do you friends think it’s weird you still go and see plays? Well then this post from the toast might just be for you – it’s all about thinking about going to see a play and if, by the time you’ve finished the post you’re still keen then perhaps you’re a true play fanatic! My favourite description of a play is that it’s “a movie that spits on you” particularly as I recall am especially violent use of saliva at a Globe production of The Tempest I saw a few years ago. Steer clear from Caliban if you can folks!

That’s all for this week, thanks for checking in and, until next time, keep foolin’ around Shakespeare style!

Author Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University, England where she is currently researching female melancholia in the early modern period (as presented in Shakespearean and early modern drama and proto-medical treatises) and contemporary female depression. She is interested in all things Shakespeare related, particularly contemporary Shakespeare adaptation and appropriation.

More posts by Sarah Waters

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