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Shakespeare’s First Folio On Loan To OSF From June Through October


Generous Loan From Paul G. Allen Provides Educational
and Interpretive Opportunities For OSF Patrons

Ashland—The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is the honored recipient of the 1623 Dryden-Puleston-Bemis copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, Published according to the True Originall Copies, from June through October, through the courtesy of investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen. This complete Folio is one of the two finest copies remaining in private hands. The Folio will be on loan and reside at the Festival in a special room where it can be viewed by small groups and brought out for special educational events.

“Throughout my life I have always had a deep interest in and passion for the works of William Shakespeare. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has always been an important organization for my family since we first went to Ashland together when I was a teenager and my sister Jody Patton continues to represent us on the Festival board,” said Paul G. Allen.  “The Shakespeare Folio has great cultural value and I am honored to be able to make it available for educational and interpretive purposes to the community, and the thousands of Shakespeare enthusiasts that visit this world-class Festival from around the world.”

 The public will have an opportunity to view the First Folio and participate in an exploration of the Folio with OSF Shakespeare Dramaturg and actor Barry Kraft at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 22. The event will be held in the New Theatre, and tickets are $7.00. A private event will be held the same time Saturday, June 21.

 “Shakespeare has always been our standard and inspiration for all the work we do here, and to have a first, original copy of his writing is absolutely thrilling,” said Artistic Director Libby Appel. “And education is such a vital part of the Festival tradition, we know this Folio will enable students of all ages to appreciate how Shakespeare and his fellow actors brought his words to life.”

The First Folio was edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627) and printed in London by Isaac Iaggard and Ed. Blount at the Charges of W. Jaggard, Ed. Blount, I. Smithweeke and W. Aspley. The First Folio (of Four) contains the first printing of 18 of Shakespeare’s plays: The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Measure for Measure, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, King John, Henry VI, Part One, Henry VIII, Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and Cymbeline. Pericles, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Sir Thomas More and Edward III are not included in the First Folio.

The First Folio edition was a commercial success, and probably was out of print by the time the Second Folio went into production (1632). Scholars have determined that there were approximately 750 copies of the First Folio. The Third Folio was set from the Second and added seven more plays (only Pericles has gained general acceptance in the Shakespeare canon) and the Fourth Folio was a direct reprint of the Third.

There are an estimated 300 complete and fragmentary copies of the First Folio in the world. Most of these copies are imperfect and many are seriously defective. Of the 82 exemplary copies at the Folger Library in Washington D.C., only 13 are complete.  Most complete copies currently reside in institutions and only five or six worldwide are held privately.

Among the owners of Mr. Allen’s copy of the Folio were Allen Puleston, who married Mary Dryden, the great-niece of John Dryden, the poet. After Mr. Puleston died in 1762, the book descended to Dryden family members, and in 1913 was sold at Sotheby’s to a London bookseller who then sold it to Dr. A.W. Rosenbach, a Philadelphia bookseller. The Folio resided briefly with Commodore Morton V. Plant of New York, but was sold back to Dr. Rosenbach, who resold it immediately to Frank Brewer Bemis of Boston. There were five subsequent owners before Mr. Allen.

 For tickets to the Folio discussion and exploration with Barry Kraft, please call the Box Office at 541-482-4331, or visit the Box Office at 15 South Pioneer Street, Ashland.

About Paul G. Allen
Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen creates and advances world-class projects and high-impact initiatives that change and improve the way people live, learn, work and experience the world. He co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1976 and remained the company’s chief technologist until he left Microsoft in 1983. Allen is the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., chairman of Charter Communications (the nation’s fourth largest cable provider), and owner of TechTV. In addition, Allen’s multi-billion dollar investment portfolio includes large stakes in DreamWorks SKG, Oxygen Media and more than 50 other technology, media and content companies. Allen also owns the Seattle Seahawks NFL and Portland Trail Blazers NBA franchises.

Named one of the top 15 philanthropists in America, Allen gives back to the community through the six Paul G. Allen Foundations, which strengthen families and support vulnerable populations in the areas of arts, health and human services, medical research and technology in education. Allen is also founder of Experience Music Project, Seattle’s critically-acclaimed interactive music museum, and Vulcan Productions, the independent film production company behind Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven, the 2001 “Evolution” series on PBS, and this year’s The Blues, executive produced by Martin Scorsese in conjunction with Allen and Jody Patton. Learn more about Allen online at

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