Shakespeare’s First Folio to visit Bullring

Everything to Everybody Project reaches a grand climax.

Birmingham’s First Folio’s unprecedented tour of community spaces and places as part of the Everything to Everybody Project culminates in a day of Shakespearean celebration on 21st October from 11am–4pm at Bullring & Grand Central.

Belonging to all the residents of Birmingham, this unique copy of the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works turns 400 in November. The event offers a final opportunity for people to come and see it for themselves.

The People’s Folio will be unveiled by Everything to Everybody Project Patron Adrian Lester on Level 0 of Bullring & Grand Central. Throughout the day on Level 0 (outside The Entertainer) there will be Shakespearean inspired dance and choral performances from Kantu Ensemble and Ex Cathedra’s children’s choirs. Outside in St Martin’s Square, the DESIblitz Art Bus will be the base for Dhol drummers, playing versions of Shakespearean music, and performers will speak words from the First Folio in South Asian languages including Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali.

Roaming through Bullring & Grand Central, the Natural Theatre Company will take visitors on an adventure called Shakespeare Begins: a walking performance, with historical costumes that will contrast with the contemporary atmosphere of the destination. And Stan’s Cafe’s The Commentators will provide hilarious running commentary on all these activities.

Professor Ewan Fernie, Project Director at the Everything to Everybody Project said: “It is a great culmination of the Everything to Everybody Project to be taking the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s works to the Bullring & Grand Central. Birmingham’s copy of the First Folio is The People’s Folio: the only copy in the world of this iconic book bought as part of a vision of comprehensive culture. We can’t wait to take it to the people on October the 21st when we’ll be celebrating both the Folio’s 400th birthday and Birmingham’s uniquely democratic culture.”

Adrian Lester, Everything to Everybody Project Patron, actor and director said: “The fact that the First Folio belongs to all the people of Birmingham is a wonderful testament to this vibrant, inclusive city. I’m really looking forward to returning home to unveil it in the Bullring as part of a spectacular celebration of culture for all. Come and join me!”

Cllr Saima Suleman, Cabinet Member for Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism at Birmingham City Council, added: “Through projects like ‘Everything to Everybody’, and working in partnership, Birmingham continues to celebrate its heritage and contribution to world culture with treasures such as the First Folio, we look forward to a day of celebration.”

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.

By the time the First Folio visits Bullring and Grand Central it will have visited sixteen venues – from community spaces to libraries and heritage venues and to deliver the tour, the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project have worked with over thirty community partners to deliver activity like exhibitions, films, performances, talks, digitising and cataloguing the collection to make it more accessible.