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Posts Tagged ‘William Shakespeare’

In 1949, the Amherst College Masquers dramatic society was at the center of a group of Shakespearean firsts. Their production of “Julius Caesar,” directed by Professor Curtis Canfield (AC 1925), became the first play ever produced on the Elizabethan-style stage of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  This was also the first modern production of “Julius Caesar” to reproduce the play “as it might have been staged in Shakespeare’s time.”* It followed the text from the original 1623 First Folio, the first published collection of Shakespeare’s plays, and the costumes were Elizabethan–“not even slightly Roman,” wrote Canfield (most modern productions were treated as Roman period dramas). And on April 3 of that year, their performance was the focus of an experimental broadcast by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) from the Folger Library’s stage, becoming the first nationally televised, full-length performance of a Shakespeare play.

The Amherst College Masquers, performing “Julius Caesar” at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 1949. Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

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