Published: April 19, 2016

The University of Colorado Boulder will honor the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with Shakespeare at CU, a program consisting of more than 40 events and exhibitions scheduled through August.

Shakespeare’s birthday – and the day he died – are both celebrated April 23. While historians are not exactly certain of Shakespeare’s precise birth date, they do know he was baptized on April 26, 1564 and was likely born three days before that.

One-of-a-kind birthday bash

Shakespeare at CU begins with a birthday bash at 1 p.m. Saturday in the lobby of University Theatre, featuring:  

  • a Shakespeare poster for people to decorate
  • places to write down a favorite play, character or quote
  • a magnetic poetry window
  • a Shakespearian insult generator  
  • a “Guess that Shakespeare” game with actors
  • cupcakes decorated with bits of Shakespearean text

A student-run performance of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” will follow at 2 p.m., also at University Theatre. The performance is part of CU OnStage’s Fringe Festival.

First Folio

The celebration of Shakespeare’s life and works will continue through the public exhibition of “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare,” on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, Aug. 9-31 at the CU Art Museum.

Considered one of the most influential books in the world, the First Folio includes 36 Shakespeare plays, 18 of which had never before been printed. Without the First Folio, all of those plays – including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, As You Like It and more – might have been lost forever. Compiled by two of his friends and fellow theater colleagues, the First Folio was published in 1623 – seven years after Shakespeare’s death.

CU-Boulder collaborators who worked to bring the First Folio to campus include the Center for British and Irish Studies, the College of Music, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, CU Art Museum, University Libraries and the departments of English, history and theatre & dance.

More Shakespeare at CU highlights

  • All the World’s a Page: Shakespeare and the Book Arts (Saturday, July 23, 1-4 p.m. Norlin Library, Center for British and Irish Studies) offers multiple stations to show typesetting, display the anatomy of books, demonstrate letterpress printing and teach various binding techniques to community members of all ages. Presented with the Book Arts League.
  • Mysterium Tremendum: Collecting Curiosity (Aug. 9-Dec. 17, CU Art Museum) is an installation by Matt Barton in collaboration with Scott Johnson inspired by the arrival of Shakespeare’s First Folio at CU-Boulder. The installation celebrates the important roles curiosity and wonder play in the pursuit of knowledge from the Renaissance to today and includes a “cabinet of curiosities” featuring materials from University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives, CU-Boulder departments and research centers.
  • Speak the Speech: Colorado’s All-Stars Perform Shakespeare’s All-Star Speeches (Aug. 25, 5 p.m., CU Art Museum).
  • Shakespeare and the Stars (Aug. 26, 7 p.m., Fiske Planetarium) combines passages from Shakespeare’s texts referring to the heavens, “the great globe itself,” with scientific explanations of the celestial phenomena against the backdrop of the spectacular Fiske Planetarium.
  • “Staging Shakespeare in a War Zone: Values and Consequences” (Aug. 29, 5-7 p.m., University Theatre) is a lecture by Qais Akbar Omar, author of A Night in the Emperor’s Garden.

Noon lectures called “Folio Forums” also will be held by CU-Boulder faculty at the CU Art Museum. In addition, the 59th annual Colorado Shakespeare Festival kicks off June 3 for a 10-week season closing Aug. 7.

For information about planning a campus visit or to learn about available programs and events, visit the Shakespeare at CU website.

About “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare”
“First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare,” on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, is a national traveling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. It is produced in association with the American Library Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center. The exhibit has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of Google, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, and other generous donors. 

Jessica Brunecky, CU Art Museum, 303-492-3008
Julie Poppen, CU-Boulder media relations, (O) 303-492-4007, (M) 720-503-4922

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