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Craven Museum & Gallery marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death

Craven Museum & Gallery is hosting an arts and crafts day with Craven Arts to mark 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.

folio

Visitors of all ages can pop in to the museum on April 23 and try their hand at some craft activities, including a Shakespearean activity in honour of the Bard. Craven Arts have organised other free activities throughout Skipton, encouraging people to engage more with arts, crafts and making. The event is free and runs from 11am until 3pm.

Craven Museum & Gallery is one of only four places in the world where you can see Shakespeare's First Folio on permanent display; the others are at Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, the British Library in London and the Folger Library in Washington D.C.

A new copy of the First Folio has recently been discovered in the stately home Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Only about 230 copies of the First Folio are known to survive.

Paul Shevlin, chief executive of Craven District Council, said: "We are very lucky to have such a rare and important book on permanent display in Craven. Anyone who hasn't yet seen it should come along to the museum and take a look.

"I'd also encourage people to take part in these activities at the museum on the anniversary of Shakespeare's death. This is a great way to get children - and adults - interested in creating art as well as in Shakespeare's stories and ideas."

In 1623, seven years after William Shakespeare's death, a compilation of 36 of his plays were published together in one volume. No more than 750 copies of this 'First Folio' were printed.

In the early 1930s, a Shakespeare First Folio was donated to the museum by Miss Ann Wilkinson, daughter of a local businessman.  Thanks to funding from Renaissance Yorkshire and a generous bequest from a private citizen, the Museum has the opportunity to display the First Folio for the first time in decades.

First Folios took over two years to print and, due to printing techniques used at the time, it is believed that no two copies of the book are identical. At the time of Shakespeare's death, in 1616, 18 of his plays had not reached print. They only existed in handwritten actors' stage notes and Shakespeare's own drafts.

Included in these unpublished works were some of Shakespeare's most popular plays such as Macbeth, Twelfth Night and The Tempest. It is unlikely that any of these plays would have survived without the Folio; so many believe it is the most important book in English literature.

For more information on the Folio or the craft sessions contact Craven Museum on 01756 706407 or email museum@cravendc.gov.uk