FOLIO Sutton Coldfield is delighted to announce a special Shakespeare festival in Sutton Coldfield in April 2022.

Thanks to funding from the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council’s Community Grant Programme, grants from the Making a Different Locally Foundation, a Magic Little Grant from Localgiving and Postcode Community Trust, and a gift from a private benefactor FOLIO’s Shakespeare Festival will feature over 20 different events and activities across the town throughout April.

From street theatre to spoken word, alongside talks and walks about Sutton in the time of Shakespeare, films and plays made by community groups inspired by the Bard, photography and writing competitions celebrating Sutton’s creativity, Elizabethan dance workshops, music performances and much more across six different venues, with the highlight being a day of very special activities in Sutton Coldfield Library on the Bard’s birthday, April 23, this festival has something for everyone.

Jenny Wilkinson, FOLIO trustee, said, “Sutton Coldfield is mentioned in Shakespeare’s play Henry IV part 1, and we wanted to celebrate this by hosting a wonderful multi-arts festival, with a rich mixture of professional and community involvement, inspired by FOLIO’s participation in the ‘Everything to Everybody’ Project, a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City Council, with funding also contributed by National Lottery Heritage Fund and History West Midlands.

Liz Parry, also a FOLIO trustee, said, “During our festival there will be all sorts of opportunities for people to have fun, learn and be inspired, whether they want to get involved with a community curated Shakespeare exhibition, drawing on material held in the Library of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Memorial Library, taking part in one of our creative workshops or simply enjoying being part of the audience at one of the several productions which feature as part of the festival.

Zoe Toft, Chair of FOLIO, said, “We couldn’t put on this great festival without the amazing support from Sutton Coldfield Town Council. Thanks to their generous community grant we’ll be bringing some amazing shows to Sutton as well as commissioning local artists and suppliers, collaborating with community groups and creating lots of opportunities for Sutton residents to come together to enjoy and celebrate the greatest writer in the English language.

Cllr Simon Ward, Leader of the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council said, “Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council is delighted to be able to support this fantastic cultural event. Our town has a rich heritage and it’s great to be able to bring the work of the favourite son of the Midlands to Royal Town in such an innovative, inclusive and accessible way – we cannot wait for the festival!

As one of the many ways Sutton residents will be able to take part in the festival, FOLIO is running two competitions, which launch today.

Will’s Word Wizards is a competition for 7-13 year olds to create exciting new words for us to use during the festival; William Shakespeare introduced about 1,700 new words into English and inspired by Will, FOLIO is on the look-out for new words to have fun with! We are inviting children to use their wizarding powers to coin a new word, tell us what it means and what inspired it, write a sentence with it and then send it to us by 27 March to be in with a chance of winning a sack of ‘gold’ coins for themselves (actually £25’s worth of pound coins) and £125 worth of books for their school. Full details can be found here:

This green plot shall be our stage is a photography competition inspired by the fact that Gum Slade in Sutton Park is said to have inspired A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

We are inviting everyone to grab their phone, compact or DSLR camera and submit beautiful, unusual and interesting photos of Sutton Park to be in with a chance of having their photo displayed in Sutton Library during the festival, winning an art print of their entry, and a postcard pack featuring the 6 best entries to the competition.

There are two categories for this competition – (a) Photos taken by children and young people aged 15 or under and (b) photos taken by people aged 16 or over. Full details can be found here:

Announcing Shakespeare in Sutton – FOLIO’s fun festival for all