The Folger Shakespeare Library (almost presciently) closed its historic building for a scheduled renovation in March 2020 and now, after over three years of “On the Road” programming, DC’s Elizbethan-style theatre — and new public spaces — are ready to host performances, concerts, and readings starting on November 17, 2023.
We are especially excited about the Shakespeare Exhibition Hall, which will show all 82 of the Folger’s Shakespeare First Folios together for the very first time, as well as the 2023/2024 Season, which has recently been announced:
FOLGER THEATRE’S 2023/24 SEASON
The Winter’s Tale
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Tamilla Woodard
October 24 – December 3, 2023
With the magic and fantastical elements of a fairy tale, Shakespeare’s astonishing romance is a thrilling journey filled with emotional depth, extreme behavior, complex relationships—and a bear in pursuit. A tribute to the magic of storytelling, The Winter’s Tale presents a rich tapestry of love, strife, hope, human folly, and resurrection. The exhilarating journey, staged by Tamilla Woodard (Baltimore Center Stage’s world premiere of Donetta Lavinia Gray’s Where We Stand), brings with it the power of forgiveness, redemption, and revelation.
The Reading Room
January 25 – 28, 2024
The Reading Room Festival advances the understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works by using them as a starting point for new expression by diverse voices and new perspectives. This second year of Folger Theatre’s commitment to new works includes public readings of world premiere plays and commissions inspired by the works of Shakespeare. Separate conversations with scholars, artists, and critics will be hosted between readings, as well as moderated conversations with the playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and audience members following each staged reading.
Where We Belong
By Madeline Sayet
Directed by Mei Ann Teo
February 15 – March 10, 2024
In association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
In 2015, Mohegan theater-maker Madeline Sayet travels to England to pursue a PhD in Shakespeare, where she finds a country that refuses to acknowledge its ongoing role in colonialism, just as the Brexit vote threatens to further disengage the UK from the wider world. In this stirring solo piece, Madeline echoes a journey to England braved by Native ancestors in the 1700s following treaty betrayals—and forces us to consider what it means to belong in an increasingly globalized world.
Following its world premiere in June 2021—presented by Woolly Mammoth Theater Company and the Folger Shakespeare Library—Where We Belong has enjoyed a successful national tour, appearing at Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Goodman Theatre, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Public Theater, Portland Center Stage, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
By Mary Zimmerman
Directed by Psalmayene 24
May 7 – June 16, 2024
Ovid’s classic tales come to astonishing life in Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation where Gods and mortals experience love, loss, invention, and transformation. Juxtaposing the mythic and the modern, the stories of Aphrodite, Midas, Orpheus, Cupid, and others are told in whimsical and poignant fashion, reminding us of the joys, follies, and heartbreaks of being human. Nominated for three 2002 Tony Awards, including “Best Play.”
Of course, the Folger Consort musical programs will return as well, featuring four concert programs ranging from the 13th through the 18th centuries. And the 2023/24 poetry season features five readings, including its annual tribute to Emily Dickinson, the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize reading, and a Friends of Folger Poetry reading. A complete schedule of musical performances, readings, poets, and dates will be announced soon.