While the importance of Shakespeare is undeniable, for many the first encounter with the bard can be a painful one, as schoolchildren grapple with the long scenes and complex language. To help remedy this, the Royal Shakespeare Company has teamed up with Samsung to create an app to make the plays more accessible…
Titled Re:Shakespeare, the app is created for Android phones and includes interactive games and videos to help kids get their heads around the language and themes of Shakespeare’s work. It is hosted by David Tennant, an actor who occupies the rare position of being a performer of both Hamlet and Doctor Who, making him instantly familiar to children but also a reliable authority on the subject of the bard.
Alongside Tennant the app features actress Tamsin Greig, beatboxing artist Shlomo, and rapper and poet Akala, who all help users to navigate Shakespeare’s plays via games and challenges. This includes the opportunity for them to star in their own Dubsmash-style music video and mix Shlomo’s beatboxing with Shakespeare’s text to create their own track. Okay, this might all sound a bit ‘yoof’, but actually, if you think that, then the app probably isn’t aimed at you.
The trailer above offers an introduction, but doesn’t really show the full scope of the app, which alongside the games, features Greig and RSC voice coach Nia Lynn providing tips to would-be actors of how to deliver Shakespeare’s lines and also allows users to perform on a virtual stage, via a 360 degree experience featuring video content shot at the RSC. It’s all quite a long way from Cliffs Notes.
Re:Shakespeare was created by Cheil UK and Unit9 for the RSC and Samsung. It’s available to download for free at bitly.com/1eUXyHc.