The British Council New Zealand and the Pacific is pleased to support renowned Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) director Gregory Doran’s visit to New Zealand to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio.
To commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, RSC Artistic Director Emeritus Gregory Doran set out on a bold quest - to travel the world to visit all of the 235 remaining copies of this original 8 November, 1623 publication of 36 works by Shakespeare. Without the collation and publishing of the First Folio by Shakespeare’s friends John Heminges and Henry Condell 7 years after his death, 18 works would be unknown, including Macbeth, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Antony and Cleopatra, The Taming of the Shrew, Henry VIII, All's Well That Ends Well.
Having visited all 50 folios in the UK (culminating in the viewing of the Windsor Castle folio with RSC President, King Charles III), Doran has so far visited First Folios in Germany, USA, Japan and Australia.
Gregory Doran visits Auckland, New Zealand, from 15-18 June 2023. On 15 June he will visit the First Folio held at Auckland Central City Library Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero to view the folio and understand its origins and particularities that allude to stories of the readers. The First Folio at Auckland Library is the only copy in New Zealand; one of only three copies in the southern hemisphere, and one of 235 known surviving copies in the world. There are around 50 First Folios in the UK and Ireland; 150 in the US; 15 in Japan, 3 in the Southern Hemisphere, 1 in Canada, and the remainder in Europe.
The Auckland copy is noted for its reader annotations including handwriting practice, notes to self, signatures, secret codes and notes to others.