This second edition uses text based on the 1623 First Folio and includes colour photographs from past productions and a foreword by Gregory Doran.


The front cover of the new edition of the Complete Works.

The new edition will go on sale on 21 April 2022, in time for Shakespeare's birthday on the 23rd, and has been curated by Shakespeare experts Sir Jonathan Bate and Professor Eric Rasmussen. A new Stage Notes section delves into the staging choices in 100 of our past productions, exploring the different ways the plays can be brought to life.

We use the Complete Works as the authoritative text for our productions, although directors of course have the creative freedom to amend and abridge the plays as they choose. Because there are many versions of Shakespeare's texts, there are sometimes differences between the way plays appear in different editions. Two examples that come up frequently are from Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet:

In Hamlet Act 1 Scene 5, many texts quote:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

However, as taken from the RSC Complete Works, the line changes slightly but significantly:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

Similarly, eagle-eyed readers often notice that we label the famous Balcony Scene as Act 2 Scene 1 in Romeo and Juliet, rather than Act 2 Scene 2. Again, this is because we are following the text from the Complete Works, which is based on the 1623 First Folio.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Second Edition, will be available to buy in our shop in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and online from 21 April, and is currently available for pre-order in hardback.

Pre-order your copy