Folger Shakespeare Library Celebrates Shakespeare’s Birthday with Annual Open House Celebration

Free performances and activities for all ages on Sunday, April 14 from 12pm – 5pm

The Folger Shakespeare Library will host its annual open house and Shakespeare birthday celebration on Sunday, April 14 beginning at 12 pm. This free, family-friendly event throws open the doors of the Folger for jugglers and jesters, stage combat demonstrations, Elizabethan arts and crafts, English country dancing, performances by the WETA Classical Players, U.S. Army Baroque Ensemble, and the Washington Revels, a sonnet contest, and fun activities for all ages. Make sure to be there at 4 pm, when Queen Elizabeth “herself” cuts the birthday cake and serves to all in attendance.

See Helen Hayes Award winner Louis Butelli (Love’s Labor’s Lost at Folger Theatre, beginning April 30) perform The Gravedigger’s Tale, a 45-minute interactive audience experience telling the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from the Gravedigger’s point of view. Called “delightfully amusing” (Cape Cod Times), Butelli’s “marvelous” Gravedigger arrives with his trunk and book and employs the audience in an innovative and engaging re-telling of Hamlet.

Join the Folger’s Head Librarian Greg Prickman in the grand setting of the Paster Reading Room for Stax-Ploration Live, to get up-close-and-personal with a number of rare treasures from the Folger vaults.

Folger Director Michael Witmore leads conversations in the Great Hall, where the new exhibition A Monument to Shakespeare is on display. A Monument to Shakespeare is a revealing look at the architecture of the Folger Shakespeare Library, from its origins in 1932—a gift to the American people from Henry and Emily Folger—to its exciting future. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Witmore and Curator of Manuscripts Heather Wolfe, celebrates the story of an American monument to Shakespeare and its unique architectural features.

The DC Public Library is again partnering with the Folger to bring its portable reading room to the Folger for storytelling. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to apply for library cards and check out their own books.

Folger staff and scholars will be on hand to answer questions about Shakespeare, and docents will lead tours of the Folger, including the historic Reading Rooms. Birthday cake will be served on the front lawn and mementos will be on sale at the Folger gift shop.

For more information on Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House at the Folger, please visit

Food trucks including DC Slices, DC Empanadas, BBQ Bus, and Captain Cookie will be on site throughout the day.


There will be a special birthday discount on tickets to select upcoming events at the Folger through the rest of the season. Buy-One-Get-One-Free ticket discounts are available all day at the Folger Box Office, April 14 to Folger Theatre performances of Love’s Labor’s Lost (on stage April 30 – June 9), the Folger Poetry Board Reading with Kay Ryan (May 7), screenings of RSC Live: As You Like It (May 13), and Ghost Light, a dark comedy which brings the legendary curse of Macbeth to life (June 17), and the lively Brews & Banter pre-show chat (May 16) with Love’s Labor’s Lost cast members Edmund Lewis and Kelsey Rainwater.

About Folger Shakespeare Library

Folger Shakespeare Library is a world-class center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. It is home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period (1500–1750). Folger Shakespeare Library is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; an innovator in the preservation of rare materials; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K–12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs—theater, music, poetry, exhibitions, lectures, and family programs. By promoting understanding of Shakespeare and his world, Folger Shakespeare Library reminds us of the enduring influence of his works, the formative effects of the Renaissance on our own time, and the power of the written and spoken word. A gift to the American people from industrialist Henry Clay Folger, the Folger Shakespeare Library—located one block east of the U.S. Capitol—opened in 1932. Learn more at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here