21st century technology brings Shakespeare to life

Northern Broadsides is launching a brand new mobile app to provide background information, learning resources and drama exercises based on Shakespeare’s language and stagecraft. This will no doubt help younger audiences engage thoroughly with the language and want to get on board with The Bard!

The app coincides with the production of Much Ado About Nothing going on tour. Users of the app can find out more about the play’s back stories and immerse themselves in an interactive, augmented reality tour of key locations from the play. The play is set in the 1940s after World War II, so app users will be able to see some exclusive video footage and music to enhance their enjoyment of the production.

The app is a collaborative project between Northern Broadsides, Filament Projects, Stute Theatre and augmented reality specialists ooh-AR. The app is available at the Apple App Store or Google Play for Android users.

Further to the new app, actress Sophia Hatfield, who is playing Margaret and a member of the Watch in the show, has written A Muddle In Messina, a new storytelling piece aimed at school children aged 4 – 11. The play will be performed in libraries alongside the tour. The interactive app map and performance work in tandem to create a world of music, language and so much more to get people properly engaged and excited about Shakespeare. The projects are supported by the Arts Council England and the Community Foundation for Calderdale, and I personally believe they’re exceptional ways to get people talking and interacting with this style of theatre that is so often considered inaccessible.

Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Conrad Nelson said: “This Spring we tour our critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s, Much Ado about Nothing. It’s been my desire to explore the effective marriage between digital content and the live theatre experience and I am delighted to be working with Filament Projects, Stute Theatre and Ooh-AR in launching our first interactive, augmented reality app. This will run in conjunction with the excellent Northern Broadsides on-line education pack written by award winning playwright, Deborah McAndrew and a new live show, Muddle in Messina, written by Sophia Hatfield. This production for 4-11 year olds will tour to libraries across the UK. It is an ambitious project that has received support from ACE and generous donations from trusts and individuals for which, many thanks.”

The Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre co-production of Much Ado About Nothing will be touring nationally until 25th May. For further information visit www.northern-broadsides.co.uk. 

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