New Films to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio

This week, starting 6 November 2023, sees the celebration of Shakespeare’s First Folio, which comprises a collection of 36 of his plays in print. The first edition was published in 1623, some seven years after Shakespeare’s death, and approximately 750 copies were originally printed.

On 8 November, there will be the celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the First Folio. In London, there will be the screening of film shorts commemorating some of Shakespeare’s works. There will be six short films to discover, directed by BAFTA nominated director Jack Jewers.

These short films commemorate some of the renowned speeches from Shakespeare’s texts as well as the famous Sonnet 94, ‘Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day .. ‘ The films therefore provide that homage to these historic works but also showcase Shakespeare’s relevance to new audiences.

We were able to have a sneak peek at ‘Lovers and Madmen’, which is captured from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and narrated by Tom Baker of Dr Who fame. It is an easily digestible film at 3 minutes 41 and exudes charm within its quirky construct. The film portrays the experimental attempts to send a portrait of Shakespeare up to space. Within its short length, the film explores the tenacity and resilience needed when a young woman enters an art project and uses a weather balloon to send the portrait. There are accompanying visual effects of the wonders of the earth, which are aesthetically pleasing, alongside the voiceover reciting the speech.

Lovers and Madmen by Jack Jewers
Lovers and Madmen by Jack Jewers

Other films created for these celebrations are, ‘St Crispin’s Day’ based on a speech from Henry V and narrated by Eliza Butterworth. There is ‘The Stranger’s Case’, which is based on a speech from 400 years ago regarding refugees and is narrated by Crystal Clarke. ‘All The World’s A Stage’ is based on the renowned speech from As You Like It and narrated by international university students. ‘They That Have Power to Hurt’ is based on the famous Sonnet 94 and narrated by Cerys Matthews. Amber Anderson narrates ‘Our Revels Now Are Ended’ which is extracted from The Tempest.

This collection of shorts will feature in an exclusive preview screening at St Martin in the Fields, 7-8pm, £8.

There will also be readings of some of Shakespeare’s poems at the event with actors such as Lindsay Duncan, Melanie Marshall, Jamie Parker and others performing the roles.

Further information and tickets can be obtained here

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