Shakespeare First Folio copy starts West Midlands tour

Image caption,
The First Folio brought together 36 plays and was published after Shakespeare's death

A rare copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio is being taken on a tour of the West Midlands as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

The book, published in 1623, seven years after the Bard's death, was the first collected edition of his plays.

The copy, held by the Library of Birmingham, will be taken to a range of locations in 2022 and 2023.

Tour manager Lauren Jansen-Parkes said: "As far as we know, it is the first time anything like this has been done."

Image caption,
The book is being placed in a special glass cabinet with UV filters for protection on its tour of the West Midlands

The folio, one of about 235 copies known to exist, started its tour on Saturday at Sutton Coldfield Library under heavy security.

Visitors had to book in advance to see it and it was placed in a special glass display cabinet with UV filters to protect it.

The book was returned to the library after Saturday's appearance, but Ms Jansen-Parkes said people will get the chance to see it again.

"It is going to libraries, community centres, local Birmingham museums, over two years - 15 different places. Everybody across the city can see it because it belongs to the people of Birmingham," she said.

Locations where it will go on show include the Black Country Living Museum, Selly Manor, Highbury Hall and The Hive in the Jewellery Quarter.

Image caption,
Tour manager Lauren Jansen-Parkes said organisers want as many people as possible to be able to see the copy of the folio

The First Folio brought together 36 plays, 18 of which would otherwise not have been recorded.

Without its publication there would have been no copy of such plays as Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar and The Tempest.

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