Free Shakespeare Newberry Library.
The Shakespeare Project of Chicago theatrical reading series presents free Shakespeare.
When: See below
January 2021 – Middleton & Dekker’s Plague Pamphlets of 1603
Shakespeare scholar Regina Buccola will present on the works of playwrights Thomas Middleton & Thomas Dekker, who collaborated on a series of pamphlets when the plague closed the London theaters in 1603. Their work focused not so much on the disease itself but on the behavior of the ruling classes in response to it. Actors from The Shakespeare Project will read from the playwrights’ works.
Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, 7:00PM – Niles-Maine District Library via Zoom
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, 7:00PM – Des Plaines Public Library via Zoom
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, 7:00PM – Elmhurst Public Library and Lemont Public Library via Zoom
Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, 2:00PM – Wilmette Public Library via Zoom
February 2021 – Macbeth and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605
An in-depth look at why modern performances of Macbeth seem lost on 21st century theatergoers. With the help of Garry Wills’ book Witches and Jesuits, and James Shapiro’s book 1606: The Year of Lear, Erin Sloan explores how the real life events of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 wove their way into Shakespeare’s bloodiest tragedy.
Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, 7:00PM – Niles-Maine District Library via Zoom
Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, 7:00PM – Des Plaines Public Library via Zoom
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, 4:00PM – Newberry Library via Zoom
Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, 7:00PM – Elmhurst Public Library and Lemont Public Library via Zoom
Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, 2:00PM – Wilmette Public Library via Zoom
April 2021 – By Help of Devils
Artistic director Peter Garino presents his new film, By Help of Devils, which looks at a collection of Shakespeare’s villains and their motivations for doing terrible things. Includes performances from Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Richard III, The Rape of Lucrece, and more.
Friday, April 9, 2021, 7:00PM – Niles-Maine District Library via Zoom
Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 7:00PM – Des Plaines Public Library via Zoom
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 7:00PM – Elmhurst Public Library and Lemont Public Library via Zoom
Saturday, April 17, 2021, 2:00PM – Wilmette Public Library via Zoom
Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 4:00PM – Newberry Library via Zoom
April – May 2021 – Reimagining Shakespeare
Michelle Shupe and Corliss Preston explore the topic of Shakespeare’s relevance for today’s audiences. How do we open up his works to see and hear them through a fresher lens allowing the resilience of these works to resonate in our rapidly changing world?
Friday, April 30, 2021, 7:00PM – Niles-Maine District Library via Zoom
Sunday, May 2, 2021, 2:00PM – Highland Park Public Library via Zoom
Thursday, May 6, 2021, 7:00PM – Elmhurst Public Library and Lemont Public Library via Zoom
Saturday, May 8, 2021, 2:00PM – Wilmette Public Library via Zoom
Additional Special Performances:
Inside The First Folio. Artistic director Peter Garino takes an in-depth look at the First Folio assembled by Shakespeare’s fellow actors Heminges and Condell.
Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, 2:00PM – Highland Park Public Library via Zoom
Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, 2:00PM – DeKalb Public Library via Zoom
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2020, 6:30PM – Deerfield Public Library via Zoom
Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 – 7:00PM – Glencoe Public Library via Zoom
Sonnet Wheel of Fortune. Four actors spin the wheel from 1-154 and have one minute to prepare the sonnet randomly selected. Actors then share their techniques for unlocking meaning and emotion in the sonnet.
Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, 2:00PM – Highland Park Public Library via Zoom
This Above All: Why Hamlet is Shakespeare’s Greatest Play. Artistic director Peter Garino makes the case why “Hamlet” deserves to be called Shakespeare’s greatest play.
Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, 2:00PM – Highland Park Public Library via Zoom
Timeline of the Newberry Library
- 1833 Walter Loomis Newberry moves to Chicago.
- 1868 Walter Loomis Newberry dies at sea.
- 1871 Great Chicago Fire destroys Newberry’s personal library.
- 1887 Bequest of about $2.2 million from Newberry’s estate founds the Newberry Library after all of Newberry’s immediate heirs pass away. Library founded with the requirement that it be a “free, public library.” William Frederick Poole named the Newberry’s first president and librarian.
- 1887 The Newberry first opens in a temporary building on LaSalle Street.
- 1888 The Newberry moves to East Ontario Street, and two years later to Oak and State Streets.
- 1889 Count Pio Resse’s music library acquired. Originally consisting of 751 items, the music collections at the Newberry number at least 200,000 today.
- 1890 Henry Probasco’s library acquired. Probasco’s library contained many of the gems the Newberry is known for today, including the first Shakespeare Folio, many incunabula, and two Grolier bindings, among other treasures.
- 1892 The Newberry is officially incorporated.
- 1893 Building on West Walton finished; the library moves into its permanent home in November 1893.
- 1894 Poole dies. At the time of Poole’s death, the Newberry owned around 120,000 books and 44,000 pamphlets. John Vance Cheney becomes the Newberry’s second librarian, and brings with him Alexander J. Rudolph, his assistant. Rudolph invents Rudolph binders and Rudolph indexer catalogs. In-house bindery created.
- 1901 The Newberry acquires the Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte collection in linguistics, an 18,000-item collection.
- 1909 W. N. C. Carlton becomes the third Newberry librarian. He does away with the Rudolph indexer.
- 1911 Edward E. Ayer, member of the first Board of Trustees, gives his collection of 14,000 printed and manuscript items to the library. In later years he will continue to add to it and give three endowed funds for its maintenance. Today it stands at more than 100,000 volumes.
- 1912 John M. Wing donates his personal collection on printing history to the Newberry, along with funds to expand this collection. It now contains more than 30,000 volumes and thousands of manuscript pages.
- 1920 George Burwell Utley named the fourth librarian at the Newberry.
- 1920s Intensive collecting of incunabula begins, expanding to some 2,200 items today.
- 1930 Rare Book Room created.
- 1937 Newberry Trustee William B. Greenlee donates his Portuguese library.
- 1942 Stanley Pargellis becomes the Newberry’s fifth librarian. Pargellis is credited for broadening the scope of the library’s collections, as well as expanding scholarly and public programming.
- 1962 Lawrence W. Towner named the sixth Newberry librarian. Towner expands conservation and research programs.
- 1963 Special Collections department created.
- 1964 Purchase of Louis H. Silver collection. Newberry Trustee Everett D. Graff donates his personal library of Western Americana.
- 1964-65 First fundraising efforts for the Newberry, resulting in $1.5 million.
First Newberry Library Seminar, centered on renaissance studies, takes place.
- 1971 Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography created, after a proposal from President Towner, who saw Italian map collections and wanted one at the Newberry.
- Center for Family and Community History, now known as the Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture, founded.
- 1972 D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies founded.
- 1975 Position of Vice President created, and James Wells named first vice president. Later, multiple Vice President offices were created to oversee departmental divisions.
- Conservation Department created through union of production binding and Conservation Laboratory.
- 1979 Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies founded through a National Endowment for the Humanities grant.
- 1982 Stack Building completed.
- 1985 Newberry Trustee Rudy Lamont Ruggles donates his library to the Newberry. First annual Book Fair held.
- 1986 Charles T. Cullen named president and librarian. Bughouse Square Debates begin in their current form.
- 1987 Exhibition and publication of Humanities Mirror marks the Newberry’s centennial.
- 1990 Newberry receives a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to establish an archive of the library’s institutional records.
- 1994 Center for Public Programs created.
- 1998 Exterior of Newberry washed. The exterior, blackened with the city residue since its construction, was restored to its original color. A new, red tile roof was installed in 2008.
- 2003 The Time Traveler’s Wife, written by Audrey Niffenegger, hits bookstore shelves. The main character, Henry, is a time traveler who works at the Newberry.
- 2003 Queen Elizabeth I quadracentennial exhibition is the most visited in Newberry history.
- 2005 David Spadafora named president and librarian.
- 2007 National Medal for Library Service awarded to the Newberry by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
- 2012 125th Anniversary of the Newberry.