For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development



PHILADELPHIA, April 1, 2014: With William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday just around the corner, the Free Library is set to celebrate with events on and around April 23, the presumed date of the Bard’s birth. Events ranging from a big birthday bash to historic lectures are part of the Year of the Bard: Shakespeare at 450, presented with the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre and other regional cultural organizations. In addition to dozens of Year of the Bard events offered this spring—from reading groups and children’s programs to performances and discussions—the Free Library is set to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th in style:

Birthday Party for William Shakespeare | Saturday, April 19, 2:00 p.m. | Lillian Marrero Library
Join the Lillian Marrero Library as they celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare. Participants will make Shakespearean masks, read from his plays, and, of course, enjoy a birthday cake.

Shakespeare’s Birthday Bash | Wednesday, April 23, 12:30 p.m. | Parkway Central Library, Shakespeare Park
Gather in Shakespeare Park in front of the Parkway Central Library for a lunch-time party featuring music, jugglers, performances, and a birthday cake!

Shakespeare on Film: Kiss Me Kate | Wednesday, April 23, 2:00 p.m. | Philadelphia City Institute
Join The Friends of The Philadelphia City Institute as they will celebrate the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare through the musical film Kiss Me Kate, based on The Taming of the Shrew.

Hands-On Tour: Shaping Shakespeare | Wednesday, April 23, 3:00 p.m. | The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation | 2008 Delancey Place, Philadelphia
Tickets: General admission plus $5; advance registration required;
When is Shakespeare not Shakespeare? And what is a folio, anyway? After seeing some of the earliest printings and books that inspired Shakespeare’s plots, we'll explore how his plays have fared at the hands of actors, editors, and forgers. Visit for more details and registration info.

Birthday Party for William Shakespeare | Wednesday, April 23, 3:30 p.m. | Fishtown Community Library

Join the Fishtown Community Library as they celebrate the Bard of Avon’s birthday with special crafts and snacks.

Shakespeare on Film: Deliver Us from Eva | Wednesday, April 23, 6:00 p.m. | Haverford Avenue Library
Adults and teens are invited to join us for this screening of Deliver Us from Eva, based on The Taming of the Shrew. Three men discover that meddling in their sister-in-law's love life in the end only makes their own lives more complicated in this romantic comedy.

Science and a Story: Shakespeare and Science | Wednesday, April 23, 6:30 p.m. | Philadelphia City Institute
This “Science and a Story” session will discuss what people in the Renaissance knew about science and medicine and will use excerpts of children’s versions of Shakespeare’s plays for illustration. The program will conclude with an activity that demonstrates one of the scientific discoveries of Shakespeare’s era. Children 5 years of age and older, along with their caregivers, are invited to explore the world through stories and hands-on learning. Parents and siblings are invited to join the fun.

Shakespeare’s Queen | Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 p.m. | Parkway Central Library, Room 108
Shakespeare, as we all know, was a history buff, and he particularly liked the tangled, often bloody history of English kings. What better source for dramatic plots, complex characters, and an abundance of moral lessons? But he wrote nearly all of his history plays during the reign of a queen, and a notably successful one at that. Although she is only mentioned in one of his plays (the co-authored and late Henry VIII), Elizabeth Tudor nonetheless established the context in which he wrote the rest, and her public persona both set the stage for contemporary dramatists and reflected their hopes for England’s peace and prosperity. This lecture will focus on both the queen herself and the visual and poetic propaganda that made her such a useful counterpoint to Shakespeare’s flawed kings. This lecture is presented by Margo Todd, a Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in early modern English and Scottish history and in the culture of Reformed (Calvinist) Protestantism in Britain and early America.

For a full listing of all Year of the Bard events, visit Events are being added daily.

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The 54-location Free Library of Philadelphia system advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi; and rich special collections, including those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The combined holdings of these renowned collections—which include hundreds of thousands of rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera—inspire unique exhibitions and programs throughout the year. With more than 6 million in-person and 9 million online visits annually, the Free Library and The Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850