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Rare and exclusive copy of 17th century First Folio featured in Shakespeare exhibition at Cincinnati Museum Center

Shakespeare and the Queen City opens August 25

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is pleased to announce Shakespeare and the Queen City , a temporary exhibition featuring an original First Folio, the first published collection of William Shakespeare’s works. The First Folio, printed in 1623, is one of only 234 known surviving copies that preserved 36 of Shakespeare’s plays after his death in 1616. To enhance this literary and historic treasure, Shakespeare and the Queen City will examine the works of the literary icon and the way his plays, stories and characters have resonated, evolved and been adapted over time, including their influence on Cincinnati. The exhibition opens at Cincinnati Museum Center August 25, 2017.

The announcement of Shakespeare and the Queen City was made in partnership with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s FREE PROJECT38 Shakespeare Festival. The festival brings together hundreds of local students as they share projects they have created with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company on each of Shakespeare’s 38 plays.

“It was a natural choice to share this exciting Shakespeare news with these students and the community while they are creating and enjoying his works,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “It’s a true honor for us to bring a rare First Folio, a true literary treasure, to Cincinnati as the city prepares to open Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s new theater. Through incredible collaboration, this exhibition is going to again demonstrate how wonderful the arts and culture community is in Cincinnati.”

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a First Folio on loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library. First published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the First Folio is the first collected edition of his plays, compiled by fellow actors John Heminge and Henry Condell in hopes of preserving them for future generations. Amongst the 36 plays included in the First Folio are 18 that appeared in print for the first time, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra , The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It. Written to be performed, many of his plays were never published during his lifetime and without their inclusion in the First Folio, these plays would be lost to modern audiences.

The First Folio comes to CMC after the Folger and CMC toured a total of 18 First Folios across all 50 states in 2016 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. CMC was selected by the Folger Shakespeare Library to provide tour management services, courier and display folios across the country and design and produce graphic panel displays and climate-controlled cases to house the invaluable folios during the tour.

Shakespeare and the Queen City will also feature collection pieces from CMC and local organizations including the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, University of Cincinnati’s Archives & Rare Books Library, Miami University and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to show how Shakespeare’s works hopped from the Elizabethan stage to American libraries, schools, homes and theaters. The exhibition will also explore how his works have been presented on stages and in non-traditional venues, how they have been adapted into film, television, illustrated works and in many written forms. Objects will range from an encyclopedia in circulation during Shakespeare’s life to 19th century Cincinnati theater playbills to modern costumes and props.

In collaboration with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, the exhibition will also include a stage area that will be programmed by partner organizations at select times throughout the run of the exhibition. There will also be opportunities for guests of all ages to select their scenery, try real stage props, read from a script and try out stage directions from Shakespearean plays.

Shakespeare and the Queen City opens at an exciting time for Shakespeare education and performances in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s free Shakespeare in the Park tour will be happening during the run of the exhibition and the brand new Otto M. Budig Theater, the future home of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, opens in Over-the-Rhine on September 8.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this exclusive exhibition,” says Brian Isaac Phillips, producing artistic director for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. “The First Folio is a rare and essential piece that we are very thrilled to be available to Cincinnati audiences. The excitement this community has for Shakespeare and the classics is astounding and we are thrilled to collaborate with the Museum Center as we prepare to open our new theater!”

Shakespeare and the Queen City opens August 25, 2017 at Cincinnati Museum Center. For more information visit