Local Shakespeare fans can get up close and personal with Australia’s only original copy of the first publication of the Bard’s plays – known as the First Folio 1623 – when it visits Kiama Library on Monday 20 June 2016. It will be the first regional library to host the Folio in this, Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year.
The First Folio was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, by his fellow actors John Heminge and Henry Condell who wanted commemorate his significant productions.
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.
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…” (European Mail, 1885).
“Many people are surprised that the State Library holds such a rare global treasure in its renowned collection, and I am always thrilled to say that the Library in fact holds the nation’s only complete set of Shakespeare’s First, Second, Third and Fourth folios,” says NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive, Alex Byrne.
The Shakespeare First Folio will be available for viewing at Kiama Library on Monday 20th of June between 2pm and 4pm. Special guest speaker rare book expert Maggie Patton will be talking about the Folio from 2pm in the library. Booking essential please phone Kiama Library on 4233 1133 for more information.