450th birthday of Shakespeare marked with event in DC

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- April 23rd marks the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare. You may not know the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials is housed in Washington at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The library is putting together a string of events to celebrate the man whose plays became our thing.

The Folger Shakespeare Library is throwing several parties for the world's best-known playwright. The biggest is the library's open house on April 6th. A slew of family friendly activities start in the building and outside on the grounds at noon. Inside the library will offer free tours of its famous Reading Room.

For those who catch the Shakespeare bug, the library is a place to research his work, life and times, but the starting point rarely happens with your nose in a book; it's with your butt in a seat at a theater.

The Library is hosting events where you can hear scholars discuss what's known and what remains unknown about Shakespeare.

The printing press was coming into its own in Shakespeare's time, but the library's biggest gift in celebration of The Bard's birthday is digital so that more of us can enjoy his words anytime, anywhere. The library is releasing 38 of Shakespeare's plays on a platform called Folger Digital Texts. They are the most widely used versions of Shakespeare's plays in America and they will be free to anyone who wants to use them.

To get digital copies of the plays visit folgerdigitaltexts.org.

There is a Shakespeare scholar lecturing Thursday night at the Folger starting at 7:30. The event is free and open to the public, but some of the other free lecture series discussions do require advance registration.


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