21st Century Technology To Bring Shakespeare’s 16th Century Drama Much Ado About Nothing To Life

Filament Theatre A Muddle in Messina Jenny Harper
Filament Theatre A Muddle in Messina Jenny Harper

21st century technology is bringing Shakespeare’s 16th century drama to life in an exciting new project launched by Halifax based Northern Broadsides and its partners.

A brand new mobile app provides background information, learning resources and even drama exercises based on Shakespeare’s language and stagecraft. The app runs alongside the current touring co-production of Much Ado About Nothing by Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre.

By scanning a map of Messina, where the action is based, students, audiences and lovers of the Bard can “lean in and listen” to the play’s back stories, immersing themselves in an interactive, augmented reality tour of key locations from the play.

As they move around the city through the screen of their mobile device, they can watch videos and listen to music, enhancing their understanding and enjoyment of the production, which is set in the 1940s after World War II.

The app, which is available at the App Store (Apple) and Google Play (Android), and augmented reality content are the result of a collaboration between Northern Broadsides, Filament Projects, Stute Theatre and augmented reality specialists ooh-AR.

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, which will play in libraries alongside the tour. The interactive map and performance work in tandem to create a world of music, language and so much more.

Everyone who attends A Muddle In Messina will receive a printed map so they can enjoy the Augmented Reality content on their very own devices.

A pdf of the map is also available at www.northern-broadsides.co.uk/education/. Download the Much Ado About Nothing AR app, print out the map and put it flat in front of you before scanning it.

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 May 25. For further information visit www.northern-broadsides.co.uk

The projects are supported by the Arts Council England and the Community Foundation for Calderdale.

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