News from the cultural network – Discovered in Saint-Omer, Shakespeare first folio makes historic return to the UK (February 23, 2015)


On Monday, 23 February the Institut Français du Royaume‐Uni in London will welcome the recently rediscovered Saint‐Omer Shakespeare first folio to its library.

Returning to UK shores for the first time in over 200 years, the Saint-Omer first folio will first be presented to members of the press at a special event at Shakespeare’s Globe and in presence of award‐winning actor and former Globe Artistic Director, Mark Rylance. Also in attendance will be Rémy Cordonnier, who made the original discovery of the First Folio in Saint‐Omer and François Decoster, the Mayor of Saint‐Omer.

The First Folio will then make its way to London’s Institut Français du Royaume‐Uni where it will remain on view to the public in the recently renovated Grade II listed Art Deco library for a further three days – from 24‐26 February 2015.

The first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, the 1623 first folio is one of the rarest and most valuable books in the world. Only around 230 copies are known to still be in existence. The Saint‐Omer volume is notable for its scribbled stage directions, which offer valuable clues about how the plays were performed over the centuries, and is a striking artifact of the close and historic ties that unite France and the UK.

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