Alumni Magazine

SPR-SUM 2016

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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18 PIERCE / SPRING 2016 Enter stage left, Maribeth Cote '11, whose midsummer- night's-dream job is to help ensure that encounters between this historic artifact and the curious public un- fold as magically and memo- rably as possible. The Folio contains 18 of Shakespeare's plays, including Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Julius Caesar — works that had not been seen in print until seven years after the play- wright's April 1616 death. Cote, who has a B.A. in History and minor in Public History, was hired in early 2015 by the Folger to be Public Engagement Coordinator for the tour, which is titled First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. Her two-year appointment is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. "They (the Folger staf ) were really looking for some- one who had a passion for getting this history out in new and innovative ways," Cote says, "but also someone who knew British history, and loved Shakespeare, and had experience with public programs, with doing those out in the feld — and so I ticked all those boxes." Since January of last year, Cote has worked with the Folger team to create and facilitate the various edu- cational events taking place at each of the tour's 52 venues — one in every state and also in Puerto Rico and the Folger's home base of Washington, D.C. First Folio! kicked of January 2016 at the Sam Noble Museum on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman and wraps up in January 2017 at the historic Parthenon rep- lica in Nashville, Tennessee. What's Past is Prologue The tour is the cornerstone of what the Folger dubs, "Wonder of Will: 400 Years of Shake- speare," a yearlong celebration of the playwright's work on the 400 th anniversary of his death. It's one of many high-profle events being held world- wide from Chicago to New Zealand to honor and explore Shakespeare's legacy and impact on language, theater, and the arts. One of Cote's favorite words, as she talks eagerly about her work with the tour, is "connection. " It's her mission to help each person who comes to see the Folio make some kind of personal connection to it. Each tour site, along with displaying a Folio for 3-5 weeks, will host workshops aimed at families and teach- ers and ofer other opportunities for engaging with the history and literature connected to this remarkable ar- tifact — related exhibits of historical materials, lectures by area scholars, performances by local musicians or Shakespearean troupes, and even special site-specifc tributes. In New Orleans, for example, the playwright will receive a jazz funeral procession, while another site is arranging a "Shakespeare in the Skies" show at the local planetarium. Cote and Folger stafers spent an entire year laying the groundwork and creating materials, such as a guide for docents at each stop, before the frst First Folio hit the road. Now they're enjoying an exuberant response from the folks who've seen the tour so far. "It's very heartwarming," Cote says. "Everyone is having so much fun. We are all so grateful to see this idea we've been dreaming about for so long become all that we'd hoped for and more."

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