Willy the Kid: Shakespeare in the American West

Published: July 01, 2016 | Author: Tommy Gugino | Read Time: 1 minutes

Willy the Kid: Shakespeare in the American WestThe Gerald R. Sherratt Library will commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death through an exhibit titled “Willy the Kid: Shakespeare in the American West.” The exhibit will open July 1 and run until October 31 in the library’s Special Collections.

The walk-through exhibit features 16 printed artifacts including posters and scripts from the Gold Rush era (1850-1870), as well as stories of actors and production teams who traveled to the American West to put on Shakespeare shows in gold mining towns.

Matt Nickerson, associate dean of the SUU library, said he wanted to have an exhibit in conjunction with the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which complimented the American Library Association’s traveling folio.

“I started doing research on a cool story of Shakespeare to do for the exhibit and I discovered that he was the most popular playwright on the western frontier,” said Nickerson.

Michael Bahr, education director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, said the exhibit will showcase the popularity of Shakespeare’s works during that time.

“We want to celebrate his place in the American West and his importance to the early communities,” Bahr said. “He was a man for the West and was important for civilizing the West.”

The exhibit is sponsored in part by the Education Department at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Utah Humanities.  “Willy the Kid” is free to the public every Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The library will host an opening reception for the exhibit on July 6 at 6 p.m. in Special Collections. All are welcome to join for free food and refreshments. 

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