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The Making of Shakespeare Explored at Special Event Marking 400th Anniversary of Publication of the First Folio

Stratford’s Town Hall is set to play host to an evening of fascinating discussion as leading Shakespeare expert Professor Emma Smith, explores the history and enduring legacy of the book that brought Shakespeare’s plays together for the first time.

Master William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, the book we know today as the First Folio, was published in the first week of November 1623. 400 years on, the hometown of the world-famous playwright will play host to a special anniversary talk exploring the surprising history of the book that would change the world, as well as its continuing legacy and influence on our culture.

The talk, led by Folio expert Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford, is the last in a year-long series of celebratory events organised and delivered by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT).

“The First Folio is one of the most important and enduring artistic legacies of all time, and so it has been exciting to explore the Folio’s lasting impact this year with audiences from across the world. From thought-provoking and immersive events in Shakespeare’s family homes to our special exhibition at Shakespeare’s New Place exploring the ‘Great Variety of Readers’ we can think of no better closing event to our year of celebration than inviting Emma back to Stratford to share her fascinating insights on the First Folio.”

Commented Professor Charlotte Scott, director of knowledge at the SBT, who will be hosting the event.

Organisers are promising an insightful evening where guests will have a unique opportunity to hear from one of the world’s leading authorities on the First Folio as Prof Smith plots out the human, artistic, economic and technical stories of the birth of the First Folio – and the emergence of Shakespeare’s towering reputation.

“There was no fanfare at the book’s arrival. There was nothing of the marketing overdrive that marks an important new publication in our own period: no advertising campaign, no reviews, interviews, endorsements or literary prizes, no queues in St Paul’s Churchyard, no sales figures, price war, copycat publications or bestseller lists – in short, no sensation.

Nevertheless, it is hard to overstate the importance of this literary, cultural and commercial moment.”

Added Professor Emma Smith, who will be signing copies of her latest book, The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio, following the event.

Shakespeare’s First Folio at 400: The Making of Shakespeare with Professor Emma Smith takes place at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall at 6:30pm on Monday 6 November. Tickets are £10 per person with copies of Emma’s latest book, The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio, available to buy and be signed following the talk. Pre-booking recommended to avoid disappointment, visit for more information and to book.