Shakespeare Week 2017

From 4 to 7 April we celebrate William Shakespeare with a week of cultural events open to all members of the Harold Acton Library, existing and new.

The theme of this year’s week is Richard III (1592)

Please note that the programme is provisional and subject to change.


Tuesday 4 April

15.00 Public Reading

Richard III

Richard III is a story of manipulation and deceit set at the end of the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485), fought between the rival Houses of Lancaster and York for the control of the throne of England. The jealous Richard, Duke of Gloucester and younger brother of the newly-crowned King Edward IV, has set an evil plan to get the throne for himself.

Library members are welcome to come and listen or to join in on the reading. Shakespeare is meant to be read aloud, everything is right there in the dialogue. Without sets, props or costumes we read the play as a group finding new meaning in the magic of hearing the lines spoken.

While we read primarily in English, readers are welcome to read aloud in other languages.



As part of the centenary celebrations of the British Institute of Florence, Lorenzo Perrone presents his exhibition “Shakespeare in White”.

Through his evocative white book sculptures, Lorenzo Perrone revisits Shakespeare’s most important works. 

Libri Bianchi (White Books), are real books which are stripped of their literary content. Using plaster, acrylic paint, and the application of objects as barbed wire, nails, stone and wood, the books are turned into sculptures and installations with great visual impact. For further information please visit the LibriBianchi website here.

Followed by light buffet generously provided by the Friends of the Library.


Wednesday 5 April

Cultural Programme

18.00 Lecture in English

Martin White, Richard III and representations of tyranny in Shakespeare and early modern drama.

Professor Martin White of University of Bristol gives the keynote lecture in our Shakespeare Week, looking at how the play in performance has pursued the theme of tyranny and glancing at treatments of the same theme by other early modern dramatists.

Talking Pictures

20:00 Film

Laurence Olivier’s Richard III (1955), 161 minutes. With Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke.

Richard III is a 1955 British Technicolor film adaptation of William Shakespeare's historical play of the same name, also incorporating elements from his Henry VI, Part 3. It was directed and produced by Sir Laurence Olivier, who also played the lead role. The film depicts Richard plotting and conspiring to grasp the throne from his brother King Edward. 


Thursday 6 April

16:30 Afternoon Tea

Our weekly afternoon tea in the Harold Acton Library will have a Shakespearean theme.


Friday 7 April

9:15-17:15 The Italian Association of Shakespearean and Early Modern Studies (IASEMS) Graduate Conference at The British Institute of Florence.

The Fine Art of Lying: Disguise, Dissimulation and Counterfeiting in Early Modern Culture

This year’s conference focuses on the theme of lying and related concepts such as falsehood, deceit, disguise, dissimulation, counterfeiting, the role they have and the values they entail in early modern culture.

The annual conference is a one-day interdisciplinary and bilingual English-Italian forum open to PhD students and researchers who have obtained their doctorates within the past 5 years. This year’s conference will focus on the theme of lying and related concepts such as falsehood, deceit, disguise, dissimulation, counterfeiting, the role they have and the values they entail in early modern culture.

For further information please visit the IASEMS website here.

For the complete programme click here.


18:00-19:30 Sounds of Europe. Concert by Stuart Patterson (tenor) & Nina Uhari (piano)

Stuart Patterson, accompanied by Nina Uhari, will sing songs in tribute to Shakespeare as well as English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh folksongs.  

To attend please register online.

The event is part of the concert series, Sounds of Europe 2017, organised by the European University Institute, with the support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and in cooperation with the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole together with cultural partners in Florence, to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.

For further information please visit the EUI website here.


Shakespeare Workshops

During Shakespeare Week the British Institute of Florence organises special workshops for high-school students. For more information:


All events take place at the Harold Acton Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9, Firenze.

Membership of the Harold Acton Library is required. Membership options include annual (€ 75), three months (€ 50) and 24 hour (€ 6) membership. We have also created a special Shakespeare Week membership for only €15, covering all events. Please note that membership is not a requirement for events on Friday 7 April: the IASEMS Graduate Conference and the Sounds of Europe Concert.