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Shakespeare Marathon and Programs Complement Exhibit "First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare"

The Zinc Kings

In conjunction with the traveling exhibit First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh will present many programs for children and adults. In advance of the exhibit, the Shakespeare Marathon: 38 Plays in 5 Days kicks off a wide selection of programs that will enrich your understanding of William Shakespeare and his work. 

Programs are free, unless otherwise noted, and presented in collaboration with North Carolina theater companies, professors at UNC-Chapel Hill and others.  

The exhibit First Folio! will run from Thursday, May 7, through Monday, May 30, and is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library.               

Shakespeare Marathon: 38 Plays in 5 Days

Saturday, April 23, noon, through Thursday, April 28, 6 a.m.

Burning Coal Theatre Company and the N.C. Museum of History present a round-the-clock reading of all 38 plays by William Shakespeare. Honoring the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death, 38 theatrical groups from across North Carolina will perform the stage readings with minimal props and costumes. The marathon is produced by Raleigh’s Burning Coal Theatre Company. For a complete schedule and list of theatre companies, visit

Readings From Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Friday, May 6, 5 to 6 p.m.

Drop in to hear poet and UNC School of the Arts professor Joseph Mills read from his latest collection, Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Inspired by Shakespeare’s stage directions, the poems are witty, comical and thought-provoking. Mills also will share some backstory on the Bard’s most famous stage directions and will sign books after the program. The exhibit First Folio! opens to First Friday visitors at 7 p.m.

Making the Cut: What the First Folio Leaves Out (and In) 

Friday, May 6, 6:30 p.m.    

Mary Floyd-Wilson, the Bowman and Gordon Gray Term Professor of Distinguished Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Shakespeare and English Renaissance literature expert, will talk about the contents of the first collection of the Bard’s works. See the exhibit First Folio! at 7 p.m. after this program. Presented in conjunction with the Museum of History Associates and the Raleigh area chapter of the English Speaking Union of the United States. 

Shakespeare’s Garden

Saturday, May 7, 2-3 p.m.

Shakespeare mentioned plants and gardens in many of his plays and sonnets, often using them as metaphors for life. Join a special tour of the outdoor exhibit History of the Harvest, in front of the museum, to see which of its plants were referenced by the bard! For more information, call 919-807-7979

Music of the Carolinas: The Zinc Kings

Sunday, May 8, 3-4 p.m.

“Shakespeare and old-time [music] work shockingly well together,” says a member of the Zinc Kings. Celebrate Mother’s Day with Shakespeare-inspired tunes and the First Folio! exhibit.   Presented with PineCone and support from the Museum of History Associates and Williams Mullen. Free tickets for the concert are distributed while they last beginning at 2 pm.

History à la Carte: Rescripting Shakespeare 

Wednesday, May 11, noon-1 p.m.

How do you present Shakespeare’s works to a modern audience? You’d likely eliminate, change and streamline — rescript — the text; but doesn’t that alter what original playgoers saw in the first performances of “Macbeth,” “Twelfth Night,” “As You Like It,” and “The Tempest”? Alan Dessen, the Peter G. Phialas Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill  will talk about rescripting while weighing what may be lost in the process. Bring your lunch; beverages are provided.

History Corner: “Shake” It Up!

Wednesday, May 11, 10-11 a.m.

Quote a speech, fold a folio (book), print some words! Learn about Shakespeare in U.S. history and get a rare glimpse of a 1623 First Folio — the first printed version of many of his plays. Ages 6-9 (with adult). $3 plus tax per child; $1 plus tax for museum members. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7988. 

History Hunters: First Folio — Put It Together

Wednesday, May 11, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 

Why is Shakespeare so popular? Discover his role in history, see how his plays got from scribble to print, and speak a line or two yourself. Ages 10-13. $3 plus tax per child; $1 plus tax for museum members. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7988. 

Shakespeare’s Text Demystified: Exploring the First Folio

Friday, May 20, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 21, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

This Hidden Histories workshop features local humanities scholars and theater educators who will reveal how to integrate the Bard and his works into classroom scenarios. Organized by the Museum of History, the N.C. Civic Education Consortium and Raleigh Little Theatre. All Hidden Histories workshops for schoolteachers are possible because of a generous grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust. For K–12 North Carolina Teachers. The educator workshop is free; but, registration is required. For information, e-mail Paul Bonnici at

Have Fun with “Hamlet”  

Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m.-noon

Use your bodies, voices and imaginations to bring Shakespeare’s words to life, and begin to connect to the rhythm of his works. Presented in conjunction with Raleigh Little Theatre. Ages 6-10 (with adult). The program is free, but registration is required. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7996

Words, Words, Words!

Saturday, May 21, 1-2 p.m.

Shakespeare loved playing with words, and he created more than 1,700 of them, such as “champion,” “excitement” and “zany.” Explore the bard’s words and use your imagination to create your own. Presented in conjunction with Raleigh Little Theatre. Ages 11-14 (with adult). The program is free, but registration is required. To register, visit For information, call 919-807-7996

“The Two Gentlemen of Verona”

Sat., May 28, 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.; Sunday, May 29, 3 p.m.; Monday, May 30, 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.

Join the Bare Theatre for outdoor productions of this Shakespearean play in the museum’s Fletcher Garden area. Each performance is 90-minutes. 

The exhibit First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare is produced in association with the American Library Association and Cincinnati Museum Center. The exhibit, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, and by the support of, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council and other generous donors. 

For information about the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call 919-807-7900 or access or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube. 


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