An Evening Fit for the Bard Celebrates First Folio’s Arrival

First Folio

Lavish Feast May 7 Welcomes First Folio to Wheeling

WHEELING, W.Va. (April 12, 2016)- – In celebration of an original 1623 Shakespeare First Folio arriving at Wheeling’s Mansion Museum as part of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national tour, Oglebay Institute will host a Madrigal Dinner, recreating the regal elegance of the Renaissance through costumes, feast and revelry.  The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at Camp Russel in Oglebay Park.

Oglebay Institute’s museums director Christin Byrum describes the event as “an evening of live music, entertainment, food and drink fit for the Bard himself.”

A multi-course meal reflective of traditional Renaissance feasts will be served. Featured entertainment includes the musical ensemble Marginalia, performing Renaissance music on period instruments and The Rustic Mechanicals, a professional touring Shakespeare troupe.

The Madrigal Dinner is one of dozens of public programs taking place in Wheeling in conjunction with the Folger Shakespeare Library’s traveling exhibit First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. Oglebay Institute is the only location in West Virginia for the first-ever national tour of one of the world’s most influential books. The exhibition will be on display in the Sauder Gallery of the Mansion Museum from May 9 to June 12, 2016.

A Madrigal Dinner is a 21st Century re-creation of the feasts held in the great baronial halls throughout England during the Renaissance.

“If you lived in England during the 16th Century and were lucky enough to be one of the favored guests, you would be dazzled with lavish food and entertainment from singers, musicians, actors and performers of all sorts,” Byrum explained.

She said that during the times of the Renaissance, feasts typically took place during religious celebrations, which is why many Madrigal Dinners are often held during the twelve days of Christmas. Byrum said that even though the First Folio is arriving in May, not December, hosting a Madrigal Dinner “is a fitting welcome for this world-famous book and a perfect way to kick-off the community-wide celebration of Shakespeare and his legacy.”

The May 7 lineup aims to appeal to all senses of the audience.

The menu for the evening includes Watercress Salad with Sherry Poached Pears, Roasted Chicken with Wine, Apples and Dates, Orange Scented Rice, Roasted Turnips and Beets with Honey-Rosemary Glaze. Gooseberry Foole is the featured dessert, and there will be ample supplies of Claret, Mead and English Ale.

Music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance will be provided by Marginalia, an ensemble of early music specialists, which takes its name from the small illustrations that populate the margins of medieval manuscripts. Anchored by the distinctive sound of the early bagpipes, the ensemble also uses hurdy gurdy, harp, lute and other instruments played by minstrels and dance musicians of the period.

Actors from The Rustic Mechanicals will also perform throughout the evening. The only troupe of professional actors in West Virginia dedicated to touring the works of William Shakespeare and other classical playwrights, the Mechanicals focus on making Shakespeare’s plays accessible to modern audiences by utilizing interesting productions concepts, dynamic staging, and extreme casting.

This festive event is sponsored by Harris Law Office.  Admission is $75 and includes a private First Folio! exhibit preview on May 8.  Make reservations online or by calling the Museums of Oglebay Institute at 304-242-7272.