Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!

447 years ago on April 23, William Shakespeare was born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden Shakespeare in the small town of Stratford Upon Avon.

For Shakespeare enthusiasts everywhere, this date has come to be celebrated as the Bard’s birthday, or “Shakespeare Day” in some circles. Parades in Shakespearean garb, Shakespearean “open mic” nights, commitment to speaking in Elizabethan English (or in QUOTES ONLY) for the entire day, creating cakes in his honor, or even just settling in to see a show and toasting the man who wrote it.

Queen Elizabeth I energetically cuts the cake for Shakespeare's Birthday

At the Folger, we throw a party and invite everyone to come!

For a whole afternoon, families and Shakespeare enthusiasts (not that they’re mutually exclusive) can spend quality time with the Bard’s home in Washington DC. Besides the educational crafts, free cake, interesting discussions, free cake, exciting entertainment and free cake with Queen Elizabeth I, everyone has the chance to get on our Elizabethan stage and recite (or read) their favorite Shakespearean passage! Our Reading Rooms are only open to the public for this one event as well, so it’s extra exciting for Shakespeare enthusiasts!

This year, due to when Easter falls, we’re giving the Bard an early bash (shhh, it’s a surprise for him!) on April 17th from noon-4. If you’re in the DC area, swing by! If you’re not, tell us what you plan to do to celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday with your class or family!

Either way, there should be cake involved.


  • Shakespeare’s Birthday at the Folger is always a great event. As someone who has attended the festivity for the last three years, I’m looking forward to being there again. Don’t miss out! There is something for everyone. And, it’s a once a year opportunity to see the reading rooms, which are normally only available to scholars.

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