MEDIA RELEASE June 25, 2014… The Stratford Festival is delighted to partner with the Stratford Perth Museum this season to present an unprecedented viewing of the 1623 edition of Shakespeare’s works, made available by the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.
Only 232 copies of this cultural treasure, known as Shakespeare’s First Folio, remain in the world today. The volume held by the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is the only Canadian-held copy.
“The First Folio has been described as the most important work in the English language,” says Anita Gaffney, the Festival’s Executive Director. “We feel very fortunate to be able to offer our patrons, who are committed lovers of Shakespeare, an opportunity to view this treasured artifact during this year of celebration.”
“The publication of the collected plays in 1623 marked the first time eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays, including this season’s Antony and Cleopatra, appeared in print. Its importance can hardly be over-estimated and therefore we are very pleased to take advantage of the opportunity during this anniversary year to make the First Folio available to a broad audience beyond our four walls,” says Anne Dondertman, Director of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
“The Stratford Perth Museum couldn’t be happier or prouder to have been included in this remarkable opportunity by the Stratford Festival and the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library,” says John Kastner, the Museum’s General Manager. “To be able to display one of the most important historic works in English literature, even for a few days, is humbling and incredibly exciting at the same time.”
The First Folio will be on display at the Museum on Saturday, August 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, August 17, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for this very special exhibition is $15.
Second exhibition opens next week
featuring the birds and beasts of the Festival stage
The Stratford Perth Museum will also present a special exhibition called Festival Treasures: Creating the Wild Kingdom, showcasing unique pieces from the Festival Archives, from June 30 to October 12.
This fun-filled safari explores inventive ways of bringing birds and beasts to the stage. It will feature costumes, props, design sketches, audio-visual material, documents and photographs to illustrate the process of creating pieces for Festival productions of The Birds, Peter Pan, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and many others.
“It is such an honour to be able to partner with the Stratford Festival,” says Mr. Kastner. “We think the Museum is the perfect venue to showcase the Festival’s history. The theatre plays such an important part in who we are in Perth County and we are so excited to be able to help tell that story.”
“From hockey to agriculture to industry and now theatre, John and the Board at the Stratford Perth Museum are doing an outstanding job of connecting the Museum to our very special community,” says Ms Gaffney. “We are delighted to collaborate with the Museum on an exhibition of our archival materials and hope the collaboration serves to broaden the audience for both the Festival and the Museum.”
Exhibition hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, $3 for children, free for museum members. Tickets are available through the Stratford Festival at 1.800.567.1600 or www.stratfordfestival.ca, or at the Stratford Perth Museum, 4275 Huron Road, Stratford.
The 2014 season of the Stratford Festival runs until October 12, featuring King Lear; Crazy for You; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Beaux’ Stratagem; Man of La Mancha; Alice Through the Looking-Glass; Hay Fever; King John; Mother Courage and Her Children; Antony and Cleopatra; Christina, The Girl King; A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Chamber Play; and more than 200 events in the Stratford Festival Forum.