In 1623, the First Folio was published – a posthumous collection of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. It is the only reliable text for about twenty of Shakespeare’s plays. They are printed as black text on white paper. There are now better ways of printing a play, so we publish the ‘Modern First Folio Edition’, both online as HTML, and as ebooks, in epub format. The plays we’ve published are shown below. Plays in our latest format with an index, are highlit in pale blue. Click on a play title to see the play script.
|Our Published Plays||Category||Year?||Cast Lists|
|A Midsummer Night's Dream||Comedy||1595||06 - 12, 20|
|Alls Well That Ends Well||Problem Play||1602?||06 - 10, 18|
|Antony and Cleopatra||Tragedy||1607||07 - 17 & 25
|As You Like It||Comedy||1599||06 - 15 & 20
|Hamlet||Tragedy||1600||07 - 12|
|Henry IV Part I||History||1590||06 - 10|
|Julius Caesar||History||1599||09 - 12|
|King John||History||1596||08 - 11|
|King Lear (No play sidebar yet)||Tragedy||1605||09 - 12|
|Love's Labour's Lost||Comedy||1595||07 - 12|
|Macbeth||Tragedy||1605||07 - 10 & 28
|The Merry Wives of Windsor||Comedy||1602.||05 - 12 & 22|
|Othello||Tragedy||1604||06 - 13|
|Romeo and Juliet||Tragedy||1594||06 -16 & 20|
|The Taming of the Shrew (no sidebar yet)||Comedy||1593||08 - 11|
|The Tempest||Late||1611||05 - 10|
|Twelfth Night||Comedy||1599||08 - 12|
This new format makes the play scripts a lot easier to use for many purposes, allowing more people to ‘play the play’ which, in our view, is the best way to enjoy them. In the Modern First Folio:
- Each play can be ‘cast’ for a different numbers of players to play-read or perform. Typically cast lists are provided for 6 to 12 players. Each player sees a script which shows them the lines they need to play.
- The original cast list (for perhaps 20 – 25 players) used in the first production by Lord Chamberlain’s Men, or The King’s Men can be explored, or used for play-reading or performance.
- Each player can choose to see their script in Highlit Text (the complete script is shown with that player’s lines highlit in different colours), or Parts and Cues (only the stage directions and speeches for that player are shown, together with the cues for their speeches and stage directions).
- If a small number of people (say 2 – 4) wish to read a play together, they can read it in ‘round-robin’ form (each player reads one speech, and then it’s on to the next speech read by the next player).
- Using ‘Let’s Play’, specific scenes from specific plays can be played by a small number of players so as to explore that scene and the characters in it.
- Using ‘Let’s Explore’ you can explore in depth specific characters in a play by reading their scenes in Parts and Cues mode, and in Highlit Text mode (see Let’s Explore on Hamlet Standard Index).
- The text, spelling, and punctuation is mostly modernised, making it easier for most people to read.
The Modern First Folio Edition can be used by:
- Amateur theatre groups as the script for a production of a play.
- By Home Schoolers who wish to explore Shakespeare plays or scenes from the plays in a small group.
- School or University drama groups for exploring scenes, play-reading plays, or productions.
- Play-reading groups, for play-readings of Shakespeare’s plays (rehearsed and unrehearsed).
- People with poor eyesight who require large text.
The plays currently published in the Modern First Folio Edition, which provide these capabilities, are listed above. You can explore our ‘Play of the Month’ by clicking on any index entry to the right of this post (or after it on mobile phones). Alternatively, explore one or more of the plays we’ve published by clicking on the title of the play in the table below:
To find out how to run a play-reading using one of our MFFEV5 plays check out our Play-reading support page.
Note that as well as the plays outlined above in MMFEV5 format, we have another 17 plays or so in MFFEV1 format which you can play-read. You can find them on our Play-reading Pack page. We recommend that you start with MFFEV5. It’s easier to use, has Parts and Cues, and Highlit Text, you can read it online, and it’s free. However, if there’s a play you really want to play-read, and it’s not yet in MFFEV5 format, it may be in MFFEV1 format, so it might be worth using an MFFEV1 Play-reading Pack for that.
If you want to keep up-to-date with the plays and extracts we publish:
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