UBC has recently acquired a first edition of Comedies Histories and Tragedies by William Shakespeare. The First Folio, as it is often called, contains 36 of Shakespeare’s 38 known plays, edited by Shakespeare’s close friends, fellow writers, and actors. The 1623 publication, considered the most authoritative of all early printings, is deemed a cultural treasure by literary experts across the world.
The First Folio, previously owned by a private collector in the United States, was acquired by UBC through Christie’s New York with funds donated by a consortium of across North America and with generous support from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The acquisition comes with a mandate to ensure public access to the unique volume. UBC’s Department of Theatre and Film, the Emerging Media Lab at UBC, and the Master of Digital Media program at the Centre for Digital Media are collaborating to display the work through augmented and virtual reality projects. The digital media plan for the Folio will not only engage new audiences, but it will also add value of one of the world’s most precious cultural treasures and make Shakespeare’s wonder accessible to all. Dr. Patrick Parra Pennefather, assistant professor in the department of Theatre and Film, UBC said, “Digitization projects that explore emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality offer us an opportunity to create new partnerships, perspectives and reinvent how many of Shakespeare’s characters are perceived in our modern world.”
Preserving this precious book in UBC Library makes it accessible for future generations, inspires new knowledge, and furthers our commitment to engage in world-class research in the arts and humanities.-Santa J. Ono, UBC president and vice-chancellor
In partnership with the Vancouver Art Gallery, this piece of cultural heritage will be exhibited to the public this spring, along with three subsequent 17th-century Folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The exhibition, titled ‘For All Time – The Shakespeare FIRST FOLIO’, is the first time that all four Folios have been on public display in Vancouver.
To read more about the acquisition, please visit the UBC News website.
Working to make cultural heritage accessible to the greater community is one of UBC’s crucial missions under the Strategic Plan, through Strategy 16: Public Relevance.