Birmingham’s First Folio heads out on tour

Shakespeare exhibition to visit city venues.

Birmingham’s First Folio is heading out on tour for the first time in its history, visiting communities across the city over the next two years as part of the Everything to Everybody Project.

The First Folio’s first stop is the Shakespeare in Sutton Festival, organised by FOLIO Sutton Coldfield. It is taking up temporary residence in Sutton Coldfield Library on Shakespeare’s birthday, 23rd April from 2–5pm. Whilst viewing is free, booking is required and available here. For the full Shakespeare in Sutton Festival programme visitShakespeare in Sutton.

Birmingham’s copy of the First Folio is unique because it 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 for all the people of Birmingham – no matter what their background, wealth or occupation. The Everything to Everybody First Folio Tour is about giving this wonderful resource back to the people.

Professor Ewan Fernie, Project Direct of the Everything to Everybody Project said: “This particular First Folio is so special because it was bought for all the people of Birmingham – it belongs to everyone and the Tour is our opportunity to take it out, for the first time ever, into communities across the city.

“Over the next two years, what we like to think of as the People’s Folio will visit 15 sites, and it is completely fitting that its first excursion should coincide with Shakespeare’s birthday! Shakespeare belongs to everybody, and the Birmingham First Folio is Birmingham’s present to its citizens. We look forward to seeing the reactions of people when they meet this very special book for the first time.”

Zoe Toft, FOLIO Sutton Coldfield added: “We’re honoured and thrilled to be the first hosts of the Folio. We’re so excited, in fact, that we have built a whole festival around celebrating the Bard on his birthday! With music, dance, surprising street theatre, spoken word, local history talks exploring Shakespeare’s links to Sutton Coldfield and much more, we really look forward to welcoming everyone to have some first Folio inspired fun with us.”

The tour continues through to October this year, with stops at a range of locations including the Black Country Living Museum, Sense Touchbase Pears, Selly Manor, Highbury Hall, Gap Arts and The Hive in the Jewellery Quarter. The Folio will visit more locations, in 2023, the year that the Folio turns 400.