First Folio Theatre

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Coordinates: 41°48′09″N 87°57′13″W / 41.802484°N 87.953491°W / 41.802484; -87.953491

First Folio Theatre is a not-for-profit theater company affiliated with the Actors' Equity Association. Founded in 1996, First Folio, originally named First Folio Shakespeare Festival, is located on the grounds of the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States. First Folio utilizes the "Folio Method" as developed by Patrick Tucker (at one time of the Royal Shakespeare Company), who first introduced his approach to American actors, directors and teachers in a series of workshops sponsored by the Riverside Shakespeare Company of New York City at The Shakespeare Center beginning in 1982, which led to an awakened interest in the First Folio.[1][2]

The Folio Method employs the text of William Shakespeare’s First Folio to illuminate the textual clues for the actors and the audience.

First Folio Theatre is listed as a Major Festival in the book Shakespeare Festivals Around the World by Marcus D. Gregio (Editor), 2004.

Performance venues[edit]

First Folio currently has three separate performance venues on the grounds of the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate. The first venue created was its outdoor stage, built in 1997 and located adjacent to the beautiful Portiuncula Chapel. Lawn seating allows up to 500 audience members to enjoy a picnic while they watch Shakespeare-under-the-stars. The second venue is First Folio's chamber theater, opened in 2004 and located in the formal library of Mayslake Hall. With seating for 80, this venue is used for more intimate productions. The third venue is the Event Hall, opened in 2008 and located in the Retreat Wing of Mayslake Hall. This venue seats up to 130 and is First Folio's primary indoor venue.

Educational outreach[edit]

Along with their formal stagings, First Folio's Educational Outreach program also offers four educational touring shows and an artist-in-residence program. The four touring shows include Master Shakespeare and His Stories, designed for grade-school aged children; Shakespeare's Warring and Wooing, The Fifty Minute Midsummer Night's Dream, and Edgar Allan Poe and the Tell-Tale Heart, all geared toward middle and high school students. First Folio has given over 250 performances of their touring shows for over 125,000 students throughout Illinois and Iowa. These programs are included in the Illinois Arts Council's Arts Tour Roster. First Folio's outreach program was chosen as the Artists-in-Residence for the Quad Cities Arts Program in November 2006.

Past performances[edit]















  • Jeeves in Bloom
  • Will Rogers: An American Original
  • Twelfth Night
  • The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe



  • Unnecessary Farce
  • The Turn of the Screw
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Shylock and His Daughter
  • The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe


  • Jeeves Takes a Bow
  • Underneath the Lintel
  • Cymbeline: A Musical Folktale
  • The Rainmaker


  • Rough Crossing
  • Salvage
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The Gravedigger


  • Laughter on the 23rd Floor
  • Love, Loss, and What I Wore
  • The Winter's Tale
  • The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe


  1. ^ Patrick Tucker, the author of Secrets of Acting Shakespeare: The Original Approach (Routledge Press, November, 2001), brought his first Acting Shakespeare workshop to New York City in the early 1980s, hosted by the Riverside Shakespeare Company.
  2. ^ The First Folio of Shakespeare, Introduction by Doug Mostin, Applause Books, 1995, p. vii. Also see First Folio