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UNLV University Libraries to host First Folio Shakespeare exhibit

By Michael Yunkin on June 29, 2016 9:32 AM | Permalink

First Folio image
Southern Nevada will have a rare opportunity to view an original First Folio of the works of William Shakespeare from 1623 when a traveling exhibit arrives at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas University Libraries this September.

“The works of William Shakespeare have shaped our understanding of comedy, tragedy, and drama, and continue to influence modern literature, theater, and cinema,” said Patricia Iannuzzi, dean of UNLV University Libraries. “We have partnered with the Folger Shakespeare Library to offer our constituents an opportunity to view this original collection, learn more about his works, and participate in fun, educational activities celebrating Shakespeare.”

UNLV University Libraries was selected as Nevada’s host site for “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library,” a national touring exhibit that will be on display in Special Collections from Sept. 1-29. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

The First Folio, printed seven years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616, includes 36 of his plays. Eighteen of those plays had never been printed before. Without the First Folio, plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, and As You Like It might have been lost forever. 

“The UNLV University Libraries is excited that Southern Nevada will be able to experience first-hand the wonder and rareness of the First Folio,” said Michelle Light, director of Special Collections at UNLV University Libraries. “From Shakespeare aficionados to students studying the Bard’s plays for the first time, this exhibit is a unique chance for people in Nevada to see one of the most influential books in history.”

A number of community events are planned throughout September to coincide with the First Folio exhibit. The exhibition will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 1 with an opening event featuring a sneak preview of the Nevada Conservatory Theater’s The Bomb-itty of Errors, a hip-hop theater adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. The free community event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Goldfield Room at Lied Library.

Additional events include a lecture by leading world expert and University of Nevada, Reno professor Eric Rasmussen on Sept. 18, A Taste of Shakespeare performances by the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada on Sept. 11, a workshop for teachers on Sept. 10, activities for children on Sept. 17, and multiple lectures throughout the month featuring UNLV faculty discussing the history of the First Folio and Shakespeare’s time.

In addition, UNLV University Libraries Special Collections will be open extended hours to offer additional opportunities for people to view the First Folio. The exhibit will be open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The First Folio will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “to be or not to be.” A multi-panel exhibition exploring Shakespeare’s impact, then and now, will be accompanied by digital content and interactive displays.

Reservations for a 30-minute self-guided tour of the exhibit or to attend any of the events can be made online at Reservations may also be made in person at Special Collections at the Lied Library. All events are free, but RSVPs are requested.

First Folio! 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, Stuart and Mimi Rose, and other generous donors.

For more information and a complete list of First Folio events at UNLV University Libraries, visit