Kansas Citians will have a chance to eyeball one of the most important documents in western culture when a copy of the First Folio -- the first collected edition of William Shakespeare’s plays published in 1623 -- makes a month-long stop at the Kansas City Public Library in 2016.
The 50-state tour was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. Officially called “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare,” the tour marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Dates for the Kansas City exhibit are expected to be announced in April.
Only one location in each state was selected. Kansas State University will be the tour stop in Kansas. The tour also includes Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
Scholars believe 750 copies of the First Folio were published in 1623. Today only 233 copies exist. Eighteen of them will be circulated for the Folger’s tour. They were published only seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Before their publication, some of his most famous titles -- including “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Antony and Cleopatra” and “The Tempest” -- had never before appeared in print. Without the First Folio, those plays could have been lost.
The four-week exhibit in Kansas City will include an exhibition on the significance of Shakespeare accompanied by digital content and interactive components. The library also plans to present speakers, stage productions, film screenings, panel discussions and workshops for kids and adults.