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Last chance to see Fair Play and Foul : connecting with Shakespeare at UCL

By Helen Biggs, on 14 December 2016

No one living or working in London this year could possibly have managed to miss that it was a big anniversary for Shakespeare fans, with 2016 marking 400 years since the bard’s death. And while celebrations and commemorations took place across the city, the country, and the world, some of the most fascinating Shakespeareana have been on display in the Main Library at UCL.

shakespeare400_bWith rare books, archives and manuscripts from UCL Libraries, Fair Play and Foul : connecting with Shakespeare at UCL shows just how important Shakespeare has been, and still is, to both language and culture. He was quoted in Samuel Johnson’s Plan of a dictionary of the English language in 1747. His life and works were forged, to great effect, by William Ireland in the 1790s. By the 20th Century, Shakespeare’s work was embedded in school curricula for drama, English, and history.

The exhibition has been a great focal point for other activities around UCL this year. In April, UCL Institute of Education hosted “Read to the Bard”, where attendees shared Shakespeare-inspired memories, poetry, research, and even dance. The UCL Chamber Music Club did their best to prove that “music oft hath such a charm to make bad good” at their Bard-inspired evening in October, with a programme that included Débussy, Cole Porter, and William Byrd.

Fair Play and Foul is in its last days, finishing on Monday, 19th December. If you can’t make it, don’t worry – the main body of the exhibition has been reproduced on free standing banners and is currently on display at Stratford Library, Newham. The library location and opening hours can be found on the Newham Council website. And, of course, you can still see the online exhibition, and download the exhibition catalogue to learn more about the significant rare books and archives on display.

With additional text contributed by Steve Wright and Tabitha Tuckett.

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