First ever exhibition of Shakespeare’s original First Folio unveiled in Mumbai

First published collection of Bard’s plays will tour India

 The British Council, in collaboration with The British Library and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai, is delighted to bring First Folio – the first collection of plays by William Shakespeare – to India for the first time. One of Britain’s iconic documents will be on display for Shakespeare’s lovers in Mumbai from January 20 – March 08, 2017. The collection was first published in 1623 as a bulky book of 900 words in London. The collection is significant because 18 of these plays would not have survived, and most of the other prominent plays would be known to us only in the imperfect form.

First Folio- William Shakespeare
First Folio – the first collection of plays by William Shakespeare

On this special occasion Mr. S. Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS said “Our new year gift to the city of Mumbai is the chance to view Shakespeare’s First Folio published in 1623, in an exhibition titled ‘What’s in a name?’ This is the first time that this Folio will be travelling to India, in yet another successful partnership with the British Library, London. To make the occasion more meaningful, the CSMVS has organized a six-week-long festival of activity which will engage adults, children, schools, educational establishments, and community groups with the exhibition and create deeper, hands-on engagement with Shakespeare and his writings.”

Alan Gemmell, OBE Director, British Council India
Alan Gemmell, OBE Director, British Council India

Alan Gemmell, OBE Director, British Council India said, “India has always had a special association with Shakespeare as seen in the various adaptations and interpretations of his work over the years. Bringing First Folio to India is a special milestone in British Council’s celebration of the legacy of the renowned playwright’s work. With new digital projects and unique channels to connect the participants to Shakespeare, we hope that people will not only enjoy the experience but will also be able to engage with the Bard in a more meaningful way.”

Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library said, “We are delighted that this special copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio will be going on display in Mumbai in 2017 for the very first time. Sharing the richness of our collections with people across India in 2017 is hugely important to us and we hope visitors will take this unique opportunity to see this incredible world treasure up close.”

The collection was put together by two of his friends and acting colleagues, John Heminges and Henry Condell. The collection is being sought out book collectors, libraries and museums as only 400 complete copies survive from the original print out of around 750. This collection was first owned by King George III; only in the late 20th century it was re-bound in burgundy goatskin as part of conservation treatments by the British Library.

The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.