Folger Theatre

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Folger Shakespeare Library, opened in 1932, featured the first replica in North America of an Elizabethan theater, a 250-seat space  designed to suggest the innyard playing spaces. Founders Henry Clay and Emily Jordan Folger envisioned the Elizabethan Theatre as a place for the performance of the plays in Shakespeare’s style, and the first nationally televised broadcast of a Shakespeare play in the US was Julius Caesar from the Folger stage in 1949. Folger Theatre produces seasons of Shakespeare, other plays from the period of the Folger’s rare collection, and new work, including commissions, inspired by the period, with award-winning stagings of more than 75 percent of Shakespeare’s canon, as well as classical and Restoration work. Folger Theatre has collaborated with the Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Third Rail Projects and other theaters across the country. Folger Theatre is the recipient of 30 Helen Hayes Awards including four for Outstanding Resident Production for Sense and Sensibility, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and Measure for Measure.

Stay up to date with Folger Theatre on Facebook or for further information, visit the Folger Theatre blog, The Folger Spotlight. If you miss a performance, listen to five plays performed by Folger Theatre available as Folger Audio Editions through Simon & Schuster on audio CD or as a download.

About Folger Theatre

Karen Peakes (Isabella), Michele Osherow (Mariana), Ian Merrill Peakes (Angelo), Measure for Measure, directed by Aaron Posner, Folger Theatre, 2006. Carol Pratt.

Highlights from Folger Theatre’s producing history include numerous Helen Hayes Awards nominations and wins. Nominees for outstanding resident play: Sense and Sensibility (2016): recipient, The Taming of the Shrew (Folger Theatre, 2012): recipient, Hamlet (Folger Theatre, 2010): recipient, Henry VIII (Folger Theatre, 2010), Arcadia (Folger Theatre, 2009) Macbeth (Folger Theatre, 2008), Measure for Measure (Folger Theatre, 2006): recipient, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Folger Theatre, 2004), Melissa Arctic (Folger Theatre, 2004), She Stoops to Conquer (Folger Theatre, 2002), Shakespeare’s R & J (Folger Theatre, 2000), Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Theatre, 1998), and Romeo and Juliet (Folger Theatre, 1997).

In collaboration, Folger Theatre produced with The Classical Theatre of Harlem a sell-out King Lear (Folger Theatre, 2007) starring André DeShields, with Two River Theater Company staged two productions—a magical Macbeth (Folger Theatre, 2008) co-directed by Teller and Aaron Posner and the world premiere of Anne Washburn’s adaptation Orestes, A Tragic Romp (Folger Theatre, 2010)— and with Fiasco Theatre produced The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Fiasco Theater, 2014). Folger Theatre has also partnered with Shakespeare's Globe, London to mount productions of Hamlet (Shakespeare's Globe, 2012), Hamlet (Shakespeare's Globe, 2014), and King Lear (Shakespeare's Globe, 2014).

Exhibitions at the Folger inspire memorable productions like David Garrick’s The Clandestine Marriage (Folger Theatre, 2005), Maxwell Anderson’s Elizabeth the Queen (Folger Theatre, 2003) which starred Michael Learned, and Henry VIII (Folger Theatre, 2010). Cross-disciplinary projects with Folger Consort—such as The Second Shepherds' Play: A Medieval Mystery for the Yuletide Season (2007, 2016), Brave New World: Music of the Tempest (2014), Measure+Dido (2016), and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (2007) with Sir Derek Jacobi, Richard Clifford, and Lynn Redgrave—take advantage of the Folger’s unique resources. Folger Theatre not only produces Shakespeare’s classics but is also a stage for new plays, including Theresa Rebeck The Way of the World, Texts&beheadings/ElizabethR, the Reduced Shakespeare Company's William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged), Roger Rees’ What You Will: By and About the Bard (Folger Theatre, 2007) and Lynn Redgrave’s Shakespeare for My Father (Folger Shakespeare Library, 1991) and Rachel and Juliet: An Evening with Lynn Redgrave (Folger Theatre, 2009).

For more information about the Folger Theatre's performance space, read our article on the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre.


Folger Theatre employs members of Actors' Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and United Scenic Artists. It is a member of Blue Star Theatres, Cultural Tourism DC, CulturalCapital, theatreWashington, Theatre Communications Group, and Shakespeare Theatre Association.

2024 Season

Visit the Folger Box Office to order your tickets for the 2024 season.

Past seasons



  • King Lear (Shakespeare's Globe) September 5-21, 2014
  • Hamlet (Shakespeare's Globe) July 25-26, 2014
  • Hamlet (Shakespeare's Globe) September 8-22, 2012



  • Hamlet October - December, 1999
  • Macbeth (Shenandoah Shakespeare Express) May - June, 1999
  • Richard III (Shenandoah Shakespeare Express) June - July, 1998
  • Private Lives (with Interact Theatre Company) February - March, 1995
  • Richard III (with The Travelling Shakespeare Company) January 11-29, 1995