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Actors and poets bring Shakespeare's First Folios to life at Senate House


On 22 February 2024, the Friends of Senate House Library presented an event called Shakespeare’s First Folio: Bringing the Book Alive

Despite much rain and wind, a full house of Friends and guests gathered for an enchanting evening to hear excerpts from some of Shakespeare’s famous (and lesser known) works, interspersed with exciting new poems by contemporary poets. The readings brought alive Shakespeare’s words and provided important context in which we could see how these historic works continue to speak to the ‘now’. 

We thank Samantha Bond, David Horovitch, Will Merrick, Joanna David, Daljit Nagra and Dr Yewande Okuleye for their readings. Thanks to Dr Andrew Nash and Dr Michael Durrant of the Institute of English Studies for the selection and arrangement of the readings. To revisit the readings, you can read Michael's fascinating blog, 'Long read: Shakespeare's First Folio: A Moving Monument'

Daljit Nagra read the poem 'Olivier's Othello'. If you would like to read the full poem, it is included in this article on New Statesman. Dr Yewande Okuleye's poem ‘Today I speaklight because yesterdays I listened dark’ is available to read on the University website

If you weren’t able to join us, or if you would like to relive the evening, a video of the event is available on YouTube

The exhibition Shakespeare's First Folios: A 400-year journey ran until the end of February. You can read the digitised copies of the First Folios on our website.  

We thank the Library who provided excellent tours of the exhibition, including the Durning-Lawrence copy of the original First Folio.  

To ensure you keep up to date with all news from the Library, join the Friends of Senate House Library. We hope we might be able to share a compilation of the readings and these would be sent to the Friends’ mailing list. We look forward to seeing you at more events in the future.