The Penn Libraries recently added Shakespeare in Performance: Prompt Books from the Folger Shakespeare Library to our subscriptions of digital primary collections.
Prompt books are designed for individuals within a theatrical production, including actors, directors, and stage managers. Alterations to the source text, marginal annotations, and inserted cues all help contemporary readers to learn the nuances of a past production.
This collection comprises over 1,000 digitized prompt books, acting editions, and ephemera, covering 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. Notable items include:
- Letters from David Garrick describing his 1772 staging of Hamlet
- Prompt books and set design sketches from William Charles Macready’s The Merchant of Venice, 1841
- A souvenir prompt book from Paul Robeson’s Othello, 1930