Wednesday, March 30, 2022

FROM THE FOLGER: Shakespeare Plus: 16th-century divas, Shylock's antithesis, an early Bard biographer, and more




Pamela Allen Brown on Commedia Dell'Arte's Actresses

When commedia dell’arte troupes first came to London in the 1570s, the presence of Italian actresses began to change English attitudes about what theater could be, what plays should be about, and—maybe most importantly—who could play female roles.


woman holding a theatrical mask

Excerpt: The Diva’s Gift to the Shakespearean Stage

After you listen to the podcast interview with Pamela Allen Brown, read this excerpt from her new book, The Diva’s Gift to the Shakespearean Stage, in which she explores the impact of Italian actresses on Shakespeare's character of Juliet.




woman on a stage


National Tour Announced for Where We Belong

Coming off the successful film adaptation of Where We Belong last summer, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in association with the Folger, is launching a national tour of Madeline Sayet's solo show Where We Belong, directed by Mei Ann Teo.

In Where We Belong, Mohegan theater-maker Madeline Sayet travels to England in 2015 to pursue a PhD in Shakespeare, echoing a journey braved by Native ancestors in the 1700s following treatise betrayals. Read more about the tour in The Washington Post, and revisit the Folger's 2021 podcast interview with Madeline Sayet.




title page with Shakespeare portrait

Nicholas Rowe, Bard Biographer

Nicholas Rowe's 1709 edition of Shakespeare’s works included a short biography of the playwright. But which of those colorful anecdotes were actually true?


Em Whitworth as Rachel and Eric Hissom as Nathan

Shylock and Nathan the Wise

The 18th-century German play Nathan the Wise provides a compelling counterpoint to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, writes Folger Theatre's resident dramaturg.


handwritten reader index

Off the Shelf: Index, A History of the

For "filthy talk", turn to page 2. The author of a new history of the index describes some fascinating examples in the Folger collection created by early modern readers.





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Instagram post featuring a manuscript by Louisa May Alcott


The Wonder of WIll - An Expansive New Vision





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