Shakespeare 400

29th March 2016

News, Student news, Alumni news

Marking 400 years since the death of playwright William Shakespeare, actors from the Oxford Shakespeare Company discuss Wadham's First Folio with Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford.

Shakespeare in the garden is a regular summer feature at Wadham when the Oxford Shakespeare Company performs open-air site specific theatre.

In these videos, Emma Smith discusses Wadham's Shakespeare First Folios with OSC members and students.

In this first video, Emma Smith explains how and why the first folios were made some seven years after Shakespeare's death. She explores the creation and investment in the book and asks whether the First Folio was trying to capitalise on Shakespeare's popularity following his 'best seller' Venus and Adonis. Emma gives fascinating insights into the world of theatre in the 1600s, a high fashion, young person's entertainment industry.

Play Emma Smith on Shakespeare First Folio

Q&A part one

Questions include: How many first folios were printed? How were the plays published before the first folios? What did an actor's script look like in 1600? How have the first folios been used to evidence Shakespeare's authenticity as a playwright? When did Shakespeare's work start moving abroad? What are the differences between the first and second folios?

Play OSC members

Q&A part two

Questions include: How many performances of each play would have been considered a good run in the early 1600s? Were Shakespeare plays written only for men in an all male environment? Why was book publication limited to 1200 copies in the early 1600s? How does Shakespearean humour translate into modern life? How has pronunciation changed in the acting of Shakespeare plays? How were the first folio readers encouraged to read the books?

Play Members of the OSC

OSC actor David Shelly reads a passage from As you like it in the Wadham First Folio.

Play

Wadham's Shakespeare First Folio

Wadham’s copy of the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio was bequeathed to the College in 1775 by Richard Warner. It is a collection of 36 plays in a book produced by actors, but clearly meant for an audience beyond actors and theatre-goers; namely a courtly audience.

More about Wadham's First Folio

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