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Drawing of William Shakespeare.
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John M. Olin Library

Shakespeare Day: Celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare in Print

Join us as we celebrate the 400-year anniversary of William Shakespeare’s first folio—the first time his collected works were printed. Since then, Shakespeare has become universal with themes that still resonate with readers and theatergoers today. In addition to the two exhibitions on display in Olin Library, various activities will take place throughout the day.

Schedule of Events
  • 12:30–1 pm: Performances (Ginkgo Room)
  • 1–2:30 pm: Shakespeare Panel Discussion (Room 142)
  • 2:30–4 pm: Shakespeare and Technology (DaVE Space– Level A, Room 07)
  • 3–3:30 pm: Performances (Ginkgo Room)
Shakespeare Panel Discussion

Shakespeare is studied from many different perspectives, because his life, work, and legacy are so rich. Join us for a panel discussion on various aspects of Shakespeare featuring Robert Henke, Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature; Joe Loewenstein, Professor of English; and Claire Sommers, Lecturer in English.

“More than a Scriptwriter: Shakespeare Arrives”
Joe Loewenstein, Professor of English

“Shakespeare’s Library?  Forgetting, Remembering, and the Creative Process”
Rob Henke, Professor of Comparative Literature and Drama

“A Play of Print and Performance: Stage and Page in Shakespearean Drama”
Claire Sommers, Lecturer in English and Performing Arts


Students, staff, and faculty are invited to show off their dramatic skills with short readings or performances from Shakespeare’s works. Sign up for a 5-minute time slot or see who will be performing using the link below. People who wish to collaborate on a scene may sign up for consecutive time slots, but only 5 minutes per person will be allowed to ensure enough time for all.

Other Activities:

Shakespeare and Technology (2:30–4 pm)

Experience Shakespeare through technology in the DaVE (Data and Visual Exploration) space in Data Services – Level A Room 07. 

Something Wicked Video Game 

Something Wicked is a video game adaptation of the Norwegian invasion described in Act 1, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The visuals and game mechanics of Something Wicked derive from the Bayeux Tapestry and Shakespeare’s text, an aesthetic argument that links this digital-age adaptation to the pre-digital storytelling of its source material. Created by Dr. Elizabeth Bradley Hunter (Assistant Professor of Drama) and Fabula(b) Theatre + New Media lab.

Virtual Reality 

Explore the stage designs of John Ezell in a Virtual Reality experience. An alum of Washington University, John Ezell has designed sets for numerous Shakespeare productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. Through a collaboration between Special Collections and Data Services, his scale models are being photographed and processed to create digital models that can be viewed through a VR headset, as well as online.


To further celebrate Shakespeare and the impact his works have had on the book world, we are hosting two special Book Making Workshops: Calligraphy (April 18) and Saddle Stitch Binding (April 19). Both workshops will feature discussion of historic techniques used during Shakespeare’s time and allow for attendees to try their hand at a beginner level. Free and open to all, registration is required.

Current Exhibitions
A 1685 print copy of Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. The book is open to the title page with an illustration of the author featured on the opposite.

The Play’s the Thing: Shakespeare in Special Collections

The Play’s the Thing exhibition celebrates the 400-year anniversary of the first folio and the reach of Shakespeare’s influence.

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Current Exhibitions
A miniature book titled Love Sonnets of Shakespeare held in the palm of someone's hand.

Shakespeare in Hand

From love sonnets to insults, the miniature books featured in Shakespeare in Hand are perfect for having Shakespeare on hand at all times.

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