Solihull is set to have its own Midsummer Night’s Dream and will be making Much Ado about Shakespeare, thanks to Festival 36. Running from 17 June to 2 July, the two-week festival celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio with Shakespeare-themed activities and performances and finishes with a rare chance to view Birmingham’s copy of the First Folio at The Core Theatre on Sunday 2 July.
The project is in partnership with Everything to Everybody, an initiative which celebrates the only publicly owned copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Usually archived in the Shakespeare Memorial Library in the Library of Birmingham, the Folio is on tour visiting communities in Birmingham and Solihull. The Folio was published seven years after Shakespeare’s death. It is an important publication as without its existence, half of Shakespeare’s plays would have been lost.
Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, Cllr Wazma Qais, said: “With something for everyone, Festival 36 is a must for both fans of William Shakespeare and the curious. We have free slots to view Birmingham’s First Folio, a live performance of The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged and National Theatre Live Shakespeare screenings.
“There will also be arts and craft and Shakespeare story time activities in all our libraries, plus a collection of new sonnets written by local people. We are particularly excited that 36 schools and 36 different locations across the borough - including shopping centres, libraries and transport hubs - will host performances by our travelling Bards! This is a rare opportunity to get to know this country’s greatest writer and many of the events are completely free.”
Festival 36 includes –
- Viewings of The Folio on 2 July at The Core - bookable
- The Complete works of Shakespeare Abridged performance at The Core on 1 July - bookable
- National Theatre Live screenings of Much Ado About Nothing and Othello on 2 July - bookable
- Bards into 36 schools on 29 and 30 June
- Bards in 36 locations in the borough on 1 July
- Bards at The Core and in Solihull town centre – 2 July
- Activities across libraries including craft and Shakespeare-themed story times – 17 June – 2 July
- Publishing and launching the Solihull Sonnets, a collection of new sonnets written by local people
- An exhibition in The Core Courtyard Gallery of digitised artefacts from the Shakespeare library
To download a programme and book tickets for The Folio and performances, visit - https://www.thecoretheatresolihull.co.uk/whats-on/all-shows/festival-36/27143
Birmingham’s copy of the First Folio is the only one bought as part of a dedicated programme for improving people’s lives through culture and education. It was purchased in 1881 by preacher and lecturer George Dawson.
Festival 36 is part of the ‘Everything to Everybody’ project, an ambitious three-year celebration of one of the UK’s most important cultural assets: the Shakespeare Memorial Library housed within the Library of Birmingham. ‘Everything to Everybody’ is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City Council with funding also contributed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and History West Midlands. Festival 36 is supported by Solihull Council.