The story of Hamlet is told by the Gravedigger using Shakespeare’s moving words with help from the audience.


WHEELING, W.Va. (April 11, 2016)- – In conjunction with the First Folio’s visit to Wheeling, Oglebay Institute is pleased to announce two performances of the touring production of Gravedigger’s Tale, an interactive play based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, produced by the Folger Theater and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

In Hamlet, the Gravedigger appears briefly in Act V to perform a comic exchange with a fellow gravedigger before speaking to Hamlet and presenting him with the jester Yorick’s skull.  Our Gravedigger arrives with his trunk and a book and engages the audience in a re-telling of Hamlet from his unique perspective. Conceived and developed by director Robert Richmond (Richard III and Henry V at Folger Theatre), this special touring production features Helen Hayes Award-winner Louis Butelli as the storied Gravedigger.

Two shows are planned for Saturday, June 11. A 2 p.m. matinee performance will be held at Oglebay Institute’s Mansion Museum, and a 7:30 performance takes place at Wheeling’s historic Greenwood Cemetery. Seating is limited at both shows. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 304-242-7272 or at  Walk-ins will be accepted only if space is available.

Kepner Funeral Homes and the West Virginia Humanities Council provided funding to bring Gravedigger’s Tale to Wheeling.

Oglebay Institute’s Mansion Museum was selected to exhibit an original 1623 First Folio from the Folger Shakespeare Library as part of First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare. This first-ever national tour of one of the world’s most influential books celebrates 400 years of Shakespeare and his legacy. Oglebay Institute is the only location in West Virginia for the First Folio! national tour. The exhibition will be on display in the Sauder Gallery of the Mansion Museum from May 9 to June 12, 2016.


About Folger Theatre and Folger Shakespeare Library:

Folger Theatre is the centerpiece of Folger Shakespeare Library’s programs for the public and is recognized for dynamic performances in the 250-seat Elizabethan-styled theatre, specializing in innovative stagings of works by Shakespeare, other classical work, and new plays inspired by these traditions. Since 1991, Folger Theatre has been honored by the Helen Hayes Awards with 23 awards and 135 nominations for excellence in acting, direction, design, and production—including the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Play in 2011 for Hamlet (a year in which all three of Folger’s theatrical productions were nominated in that category) and in 2013 for The Taming of the Shrew. In 2012, Folger Theatre brought from London Shakespeare’s Globe’s Hamlet for the company’s first Washington appearance and continued their collaboration last season with the World-to-World two-year global tour of Hamlet, as well as their on tour production of King Lear featuring Joseph Marcell. Janet Alexander Griffin is the Artistic Producer of Folger Theatre and Director of Public Programs which includes the Folger’s music and literary series.

Folger Shakespeare Library is a renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for research material from the early modern period (1500-1750), Folger Shakespeare Library is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K-12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs —theatre, music, poetry, exhibits, lectures, and family programs. A gift to the American people from industrialist Henry Clay Folger, Folger Shakespeare Library—located one block east of the U.S. Capitol—opened in 1932 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more at