Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce that the recently discovered Saint-Omer First Folio will be exhibited at the Globe in 2016, the year of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed today by Patrick Spottiswoode, Director, Globe Education and François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer, confirming that the First Folio – one of the rarest and most valuable books in the world – will be displayed to the public for 2 months from July 2016.
The announcement was made 23 February 2015 at a press conference and photocall with award-winning stage and screen actor and former Globe Artistic Director Mark Rylance, and Dr Farah Karim-Cooper, Head of Higher Education & Research, Globe Education, Chair of the Globe Architecture Research Group. Also in attendance was Rémy Cordonnier, who made the original discovery of the First Folio in Saint-Omer’s famous library, and François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer.
The first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, only around 230 copies of the 1623 First Folio are still in existence. The Saint-Omer volume is notable for its scribbled stage directions, which offer valuable clues about how the plays were performed over the centuries.
This partnership is of particular importance as Shakespeare’s Globe, having recently opened the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, is now actively planning its very own library and archive on site, on London’s Bankside. Once the library is complete, it will be gifted an important collection of rare and valuable volumes, including its own First Folio and Quarto editions. Having these texts will cement the Globe’s reputation as the first point of reference for teaching, research and interpretation of Shakespeare in performance.
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