Continuing the yearlong celebration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s extraordinary legacy, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles is exploring the timeless impact of the Bard on California culture and America as a whole through a series of special programs and events, including a new exhibition America’s Shakespeare: The Bard Goes West. Closing out its run at the Central Library’s Getty Gallery on February 26, this exhibit is a first-time collaboration between the Library Foundation, the acclaimed Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Los Angeles Public Library.
“By presenting the life and work of William Shakespeare in a context that is unique to Los Angeles, this exhibit is now available to the largest, most diverse population in the nation. Angelenos of all ages have unprecedented access to a rare First Folio at their own library and then can explore how Shakespeare’s legacy influences our city even 400 years later,” says City Librarian John F. Szabo. The free exhibit spotlights archival maps, costumes, photographs, playbills, advertisements, books, personal letters, and more from state and local resources to shed light into the unique ways the playwright is woven into California’s history.
Extending the Shakespeare festivities city-wide, neighborhood branches of the Los Angeles Public Library has offered bilingual Spanish/English sonnets readings, acting workshops focused on Shakespeare’s monologues, a Bard-centric screen printing workshop by Self Help Graphics, a demonstration of Shakespearean scenes with real fencing by Swordplay LA, among other free programs. Also, renowned director Joss Whedon sat down for an exclusive interview filmed in the Rare Books room at the Central Library to discuss his film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.
Continuing a look at Shakespeare in cinema, the Library Foundation’s Lost & Found at the Movies series will return for a special program in March. The ALOUD literary series is also hosting two special programs. Peter Sellars and Ayana Thompson discussed the role of race in Shakespeare last month and you can listen to the podcast here. Coming up on February 16, James Shapiro and Lisa Wolpe will explore gender, identity, and why Shakespeare still matters in contemporary America.
Visit lfla.org/shakespeare for more details on the exhibit and a calendar of the remaining programs.