It’s all happening at the NSW State Library in April! I am hoping to visit our beautiful library to see some of the Shakespearian highlights over the coming weeks.

It has been 400 years since the death of the most famous bard in the world and one of Australia’s all time favourite singer/storytellers, Paul Kelly, will headline the Shakespeare 400 celebrations. Paul Kelly will launch his new Shakespeare inspired album Seven Sonnets & A Song in the historic Mitchell Reading Room on Saturday evening 23 April.

As the home of Shakespeare in Australia, the State Library is thrilled to be joining the international celebrations to recognise the life and work of the renowned poet and playwright,” says NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive Alex Byrne.

But wait, there’s more… The library will present a series of events for all ages including:

  • A silent film festival
  • A Shakespeare Trivia Night (21 April)
  • Shakespeare 400 Fan Day (23rd April) featuring performers from Bell Shakespeare, a fairy grotto, drawing workshops with award-winning children’s author Leigh Hobbs, and a sonnet slam.
  • Shakespeare fans can now read Australia’s only original copy of the first publication of the Bard’s plays – known as the First Folio 1623 – fully digitised and available for the first time on the State Library of NSW’s website

→See the full Shakespeare 400 program here:  #Shakespeare400

Paul Kelly Album
Paul Kelly album cover. Seven Sonnets & A Song
Shakespeares First Folio, 1623

The First Folio, featuring 36 plays, was donated to the Library in 1885 by two English brothers, Richard and George Tangye, who were said to be “greatly struck by the fine collection of works in the [then] Sydney Free Public Library…” during a recent visit (European Mail, 1885).

Apart from the Bible, the First Folio is considered the most influential book ever published in the English language. While 750 copies are believed to have been printed, only 234 are known to survive today and very few of these are available to access online.

State Library

For more information and full media release please see the State Library of NSW’s website

See the full Shakespeare 400 program here:

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