12 September 2016
Ghoulish skeletons, dark texts and illustrations from Shakespeare's time to the modern day have drawn thousands of visitors to the Bodleian's Shakespeare's Dead exhibition,which marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.
Now visitors have just a few days left to see the exhibition, which closes on 18 September.
The exhibition reveals how Shakespeare brought dying, death and the dead to life. It features gems from the Bodleian's collections, such as a copy of the famous First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays and the earliest edition of Romeo and Juliet. Historic items such as these are displayed alongside contemporary interpretations of death in Shakespeare's works including a life-sized replica of Desdemona's deathbed, an animated film created from local schoolchildren's drawings and Oxford-based artist Tom de Freston's triptych based on the 'Dover cliff' scene in King Lear.
A special ballet performance in the Weston Library will mark the final day of the exhibition on Sunday 18 September. The Yorke Dance Project, a contemporary ballet company, will present presents excerpts from Sir Kenneth MacMillan's rarely-performed work, Sea of Troubles, which is based on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Free performances will run throughout the day and booking is not required.
After the Shakespeare's Dead exhibition has closed, celebrations of Shakespeare continue at the Bodleian and beyond throughout the rest of 2016. There are still a few talks remaining in the Bodleian's Shakespeare's Dead lecture series including Professor Robert Douglas-Fairhurst talking about Shakespeare and the Victorians and a talk about Performing Shakespeare: then and now, which will be accompanied by actors. There will also be a special event at the Weston Library on 10 November to mark the conclusion of the Bodleian's sonnet printing project, which invited letterpress printers from around the world to produce newly printed copies of each of Shakespeare's sonnets and submit them to the Bodleian's collections. Check the Bodleian's What's on website for details nearer the time.
Across the city of Oxford, the Shakespeare Oxford 2016 festival runs until the end of the year and includes talks, tours, family activities, theatre performances and concerts.
The Bodleian's next major exhibition is titled Staging History and opens on 14 October. The exhibition will reveal how historical events were presented on the stage in Regency-era Britain, ranging from the travels of Captain Cook to the Napoleonic Wars.