We marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays at Windsor Castle, celebrating some of his most enduring plays that would have been lost without it.

Macbeth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra and The Tempest are just some of the plays that would have been lost forever, if Shakespeare’s friends, John Heminges and Henry Condell hadn’t decided to publish the First Folio.

Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. Without it, the 18 plays which had not already been published in quarto editions would probably not exist today.

We marked the occasion with a special performance for Their Majesties The King and Queen, performing extracts from some of these most significant plays, devised and directed by our Artistic Director Emeritus, Gregory Doran.

Gregory Doran and Shriti Vadera with Shakespeare's First Folio and The King and Queen
Gregory Doran (RSC Artistic Director Emeritus) and Shriti Vadera (RSC Chair) with Their Majesties The King and Queen and Shakespeare's First Folio.
Photo by Ian Jones © RSC Browse and license our images

Extracts were performed by actors including Dame Harriet Walter, Sir Simon Russell Beale, and Ray Fearon.

After the performance, Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses The Duchess of Edinburgh and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester met the actors and musicians who took part, as well as our new Co-Artistic Directors Daniel Evans and Tamara Harvey.

Ray Fearon standing on a small stage in a carpeted room in with an audience
Actor Ray Fearon performs an extract from Julius Caesar at Windsor Castle
Photo by Ian Jones © RSC Browse and license our images
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