By Folger Education
Shakespeare’s birthday is around the corner (April 23rd), and we’ve been collecting your ideas for celebrating his 451st. To kick off this year’s festivities, we’re thrilled to share these 3 fabulous ideas from our teaching colleagues:
- Host a Shakespeare’s Birthday Read-a-Thon. Take a cue from Jim Cody at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey and invite your school community to participate in a public reading of Shakespeare. We wish we could join Jim and his colleagues for this year’s villain-themed event!
- Have an all-out birthday fair in your school library or media center. This idea comes from Janemarie Cloutier, a school librarian in Pennsylvania, who took some Folger ideas and really ran with them. Janemarie says she “had the privilege of attending a Folger workshop in Philadelphia and was inspired to organize a celebration last year… and now this year. Many of the activities at our birthday celebration were modeled on Folger lessons.” Janemarie has even added new activities this year. From collaborative sonneteering and portrait painting to Shakespearean selfies and an insult arena, this library’s birthday bash really has it all. Check out these images from last year’s celebration.
- Play with costumes and performance. Melinda, who teaches in Colorado, sponsors a whimsical “Shakespeare Look Alike Contest” and enjoys seeing all those Elizabethan ruffs around school. We’ve also heard from teachers and students who dress as their favorite Shakespearean characters and even perform speeches by those characters throughout the day.
- BONUS: If you’re in DC this weekend, come to the Folger Shakespeare Library for our annual open house for Shakespeare’s birthday! Starting at noon on Sunday, April 19th, we’ll be pulling out all the stops and celebrating in a big way. Tour the Reading Rooms, see some swordfighting, perform some spontaneous Shakespeare, take a scavenger hunt, read stories with DC Public Library, and, of course, eat cake!
It’s not too late to share your birthday plans with us! Please send your ideas for celebrating Shakespeare’s big day—along with any images—to Corinne (email@example.com). We’ll be posting some more of these festive contributions next week. Thanks, and enjoy!
Corinne Viglietta is Assistant Director of Education at the Folger. She has taught English in DC, Maryland, and France.