Earliest writing of Shakespeare to go on show in Yorkshire

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An exhibition of rare Shakespeare folios will go on display as commemorations continue to mark 400 years since the playwright's death.

The earliest collections of his work will be on show in public in the For All Time: Shakespeare in Yorkshire event at the University of Leeds.

The set of four folios was collected by Lord Brotherton of Wakefield, with the First Folio dating to 1623, just seven years after the writer's death.

Leeds University's Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis with William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies
Leeds University's Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis with William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies (Danny Lawson/PA)

The other three date from 1632 to 1685 and demonstrate the development of language and printing aesthetics during the 17th century.

Co-curator Kit Heyam said: "As a northern lad who loves Shakespeare, I was thrilled to be able to dig deep into his relationship with Yorkshire when curating this exhibition.

"So often when people talk about Shakespearean England, they really mean Shakespearean London - but as the exhibition shows, if we ignore the north we ignore some of the most interesting things about Shakespeare's plays and their legacy.

A portrait of Shakespeare
A portrait of Shakespeare (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

"So many of Shakespeare's most dramatic stories are stories of Yorkshire, and our county's actors and theatres have a long-standing love affair with his plays.

"Special Collections has such an amazing collection of books and archive material which really brings this hidden relationship to light."

The exhibition, which opens on September 6, will look at how Shakespeare dramatised Yorkshire history and how theatre directors are still using his work to ask questions about regional identity.