- Toby MaloneToby MaloneState University of New York at Oswego
- and Brett Greatley-HirschBrett Greatley-HirschSchool of English, University of Leeds
Digital publishing, from early ventures in fixed media (diskette and CD-ROM) through to editions designed for the Web, tablets, and phones, radically transforms the creation, remediation, and dissemination of Shakespearean texts. Likewise, digital technologies reshape the performance of William Shakespeare’s plays through the introduction of new modes of capture and delivery, as well as the adaptation of social media, virtual reality, video gaming, and motion capture in stage and screen productions. With the aid of the computer, Shakespearean texts, places, and spaces can be “modeled” in new and sophisticated ways, including algorithmic approaches to questions of Shakespearean authorship and chronology, the virtual 3D reconstruction of now-lost playhouses, and historical geospatial mapping of Shakespeare’s London.
- British and Irish Literatures
- Film, TV, and Media
- Middle Ages and Renaissance (500-1600)
- Theater and Drama
- Print Culture and Digital Humanities
The Digital Shakespeare Text
Whether on computer, tablet, or smartphone, digital technologies are facilitating new ways for users to encounter and engage with the Shakespearean text. Digital texts can be searched, concorded, and collated with the speed and accuracy of a machine.1 Users can often customize their reading experience (e.g., by adjusting magnification and color or toggling between different displays, adding notes, and highlighting) and contribute to the experiences of other users (e.g., by sharing annotations, commentary, and other user-generated content). With appropriate hardware and software, digital texts can also be delivered as computer-generated speech or rendered in Braille and other output formats, thereby assisting readers with sensory, physical, learning, or reading disabilities to access Shakespeare’s works.
Digital technologies enable content users as well as producers. No longer subject to the physical constraints and dimensions of the printed page, publishers of digital Shakespeare editions can offer content and features not otherwise available to readers of print. If space—calculated as bytes of data rather than by word or page counts—is no longer as much of a premium, then digital Shakespeare editions can afford to offer content, commentary, and critical apparatus in greater detail and volume.2 This content may also be of an entirely different format: unlike a static page in a printed book, digital Shakespeare editions can also incorporate multimedia content and may effectively become extensible archives of text, graphic, audio, and video material.3
Digital Shakespeare editions may be more easily updated than print ones—in fact, content can even be populated live and in response to users. Whereas a print edition can only index and refer to material between and beyond its covers, the contents of a digital edition can be dynamically interlinked and, with appropriate functionality, drawn immediately from external sources.4 This capacity for continuous revision and growth, combined with a perception that “the possibilities are endless” when it comes to digital Shakespeare editions, primes users to expect more from them than their counterparts in print.5 As a result, reviews of digital editions can all-too-easily devolve into a checklist of absent features and functions with the expectation that these will be addressed by some later iteration.
“I pray you mar no more trees with writing” (AYL, 3.2.223)
Before the Internet, digital editions of Shakespeare’s works were recorded, distributed, and stored on magnetic tape and optical disc.6 Machine-readable transcriptions and facsimiles of extant print editions—that is, “remediations” of analogue sources—were the earliest digital Shakespeare editions to appear and remain the most frequently produced.7 In some cases, digital Shakespeare editions are products of multiple remediations: the digital images of Shakespeare’s early printed works available through Early English Books Online, for example, derive from the much older Early English Books microfilm collections.8
While most digitized Shakespeare texts come from sources in the public domain, such as the ubiquitous Moby Shakespeare based on The Globe edition published in the mid-1860s, in-copyright materials have also been digitized as publishers seek new ways to reach audiences and sell content.9 Notable early ventures on diskette include the Oxford Text Archive, which made the transcriptions of the First Folio and quarto texts prepared by T. H. Howard-Hill in the 1960s from which to generate the Oxford Old-Spelling Shakespeare Concordances available for a modest fee; the WordCruncher Bookshelf Shakespeare, incorporating the text of the Riverside Shakespeare second edition edited by G. Blakemore Evans; and the Electronic Edition of the Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works, under the general editorship of Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, prepared by Lou Burnard.10 Shakespeare editions on CD-ROM began to appear in the 1990s, with the Voyager Macbeth, built around A. R. Braunmuller’s New Cambridge text; The Arden Shakespeare CD-ROM, featuring the complete text, commentary, and notes of the Arden second series as well as facsimiles of early print editions; and The Cambridge King Lear CD-ROM: Text and Performance Archive, edited by Jacky Bratton and Christie Carson, incorporating three modern-spelling texts edited by Jay L. Halio (Folio, Quarto, and conflated), transcriptions of major adaptations, and an extensive collection of production images.11
Just as the CD-ROM replaced the diskette, publishers soon “had to confront the commercial failure of the CD-ROM” as fewer desktop computers were manufactured with drives to read them.12 In the meantime, Internet technologies had matured such that publishers began to develop online platforms for their digital Shakespeare editions, marketed as subscription services for individuals and institutions. The earliest of these, ArdenOnline, provided digitized editions from the Arden third series as they became available as well as the complete texts of the second series, a new essay on performance, and collections of performance reviews and images. Despite these features, ArdenOnline failed for lack of subscribers and has been characterized as “a hard lesson in commercial catastrophe.”13
After changing publishers, the Arden editions were packaged as part of The Shakespeare Collection until 2015, when the licensing agreement with Bloomsbury, which had acquired the series in 2009, reached its term.14 Since 2013, the Arden third series editions was offered as part of Bloomsbury’s Drama Online, which also includes titles from the Arden Shakespeare Library and other reference works.15 Other publishers have followed a less circuitous route to bring their printed Shakespeare editions online, including Oxford Scholarly Editions Online, The Norton Shakespeare 3e Digital Edition, and Cambridge Shakespeare. Some of these, such as the New Folger Shakespeare Library editions (1992–2010) and the Octavo CD-ROM facsimiles of Shakespeare’s early printed works (1998–2003), are also, in whole or part, freely available online.16
The emergence of Web publishing also coincided with the development of so-called born-digital editions that, as the name implies, have no previous incarnation to remediate.17 To date, the only born-digital editions of Shakespeare’s works are those published by Internet Shakespeare Editions, founded by Michael Best in 1996 and based at the University of Victoria.18 David Bevington’s edition of As You Like It and John D. Cox’s edition of Julius Caesar were the first to be completed for the series, which offers annotated modern-spelling texts, commentary, collations, facsimiles and transcriptions of early print editions, as well as supplementary texts and performance materials—all entirely open access.19 The series is ongoing, and has inspired other editorial projects of interest to students of Shakespeare: Queen’s Men Editions, which publishes critical-performance editions of plays associated with the Queen’s Men, and Digital Renaissance Editions, which publishes critical editions of early modern drama, prose, and poetry. Like those of Internet Shakespeare Editions, editions published by these projects are peer-reviewed and freely available online.
The popularity of tablets and smartphones in the late 2000s and early 2010s prompted development of several Shakespeare apps. Although they may be accessed on the same devices, these Shakespeare apps are distinguished from straight remediations of print editions into e-book formats by their incorporation of multimedia content and additional functionality.20 If scholars and institutions supplied the primary market for most of the commercial digital Shakespeare editions on diskette and CD-ROM, then Shakespeare apps were—and continue to be—targeted at individual students. This is reflected by their contents and relative costs: the Arden Shakespeare CD-ROM, for example, was originally listed at US $3,995 or £2,500 (including a network license), whereas apps for iPad and Android devices are typically priced “in the range of an inexpensive paperback edition of a Shakespeare play.”21
As with editions of Shakespeare on the Web, many of the apps available simply remediate texts from the public domain. For those built around in-copyright texts, 2012 was a watershed, with the launch of several apps for the iPad. These include Shakespeare’s Sonnets, which combined the Arden third series text and annotations with additional commentary as well as video of recitations by famous artists, actors, and scholars; the Folger Luminary Shakespeare, inaugurated by The Tempest for iPad, which supplements the New Folger Shakespeare Library text and annotations with additional commentary and audio performances; and Explore Shakespeare, which combines material from the New Cambridge Shakespeare and Cambridge School Shakespeare with audio performances and other images, activities, and commentary.22 The Arden third series editions also form the basis of Heuristic Shakespeare, launched with The Tempest, including multimedia timelines and commentary, video recitations of actors’ parts, and discussion with Sir Jonathan Bate and Sir Ian McKellen, the series co-editors. Although conceived as a series covering Shakespeare’s complete works, the only title in the Heuristic Shakespeare appearing to date is The Tempest.23
Of these Shakespeare apps, only the Touch Press Sonnets and Heuristic Tempest remain available on the App Store at time of writing (July 2020).24 This serves as a stark reminder that, unlike their counterparts in print, digital editions require ongoing maintenance to remain accessible to users by ensuring compatibility with the latest hardware and software. “Like a puppy, a digital edition is for life, not just for Christmas,” whereas a printed book needs no further intervention on the part of the publisher to remain readable once it has left the press.25 As publishers continue to produce a dizzying array of print editions of Shakespeare, the costs associated with staving off technological obsolescence may go some way to explain the relative scarcity of digital Shakespeare editions.26
Digital photo-facsimiles of Shakespeare’s early printed editions, however, may be a significant exception. According to one estimate, some 3.8 trillion photographs were taken in all of human history up to the year 2011, whereas one trillion were taken in 2015 alone.27 The factors driving this dramatic increase are rapid technological, financial, and social changes, such as wider access to digital photography and scanning equipment (including smartphones and tablets), as well as greater availability of high-speed data networks to support transfer and storage of high-definition image files—all at increasingly lower costs. As a result, libraries and cultural institutions of all sizes and budgets are becoming able to produce digital images of their Shakespeare materials, and there is no shortage of image-sharing platforms on the Web. At time of writing (July 2020), digital photo-facsimiles of twenty-three copies of the Shakespeare First Folio are freely available online, and the British Library’s Shakespeare in Quarto site provides access to 107 copies of the twenty-one Shakespeare plays published in quarto before 1642.28 Large-scale digitization projects such as Google Books, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive have also made facsimiles of historical Shakespeare editions published in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries more widely available.29
Digital Shakespeare in Performance
Digital broadcast technology has extended the scope of Shakespeare performance farther than at any point in history, given the relatively inexpensive and far-reaching potential of filming live performance. Filmed Shakespearean performance long predates digital technology: John Gielgud’s Hamlet, which ran on Broadway from April 9 to August 8, 1964, starring Richard Burton, was broadcast to cinemas with a technology billed as “Electronovision,” intended to project high-resolution videotape technology into a television format to permit viewers around the world to tune into a live stage production. Burton’s performance was filmed from seventeen different angles and was broadcast live into cinemas for two days.30 Although a resounding success in terms of viewership, it was cost prohibitive and has not aged well.31
The broadcast of live stage performance began as an early 1960s shared interest between the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the BBC, following early experiments looking to capitalize on the prestige the theatre lent to the fledgling televisual format. Filmed stage productions were fundamentally rudimentary. A series of often-static camera angles and a sparse selection of alternate shots created “the interplay between ‘constructed’ and ‘abstracted’ space” in the viewing audience’s experience yet did not satisfactorily replicate the theatrical experience nor approximate an adequate made-for-television program.32 Multi-camera broadcasts of The Wars of the Roses, an in-studio replication of Laurence Olivier’s Othello, and a Hamlet at a disused train-shunting roundhouse were notable attempts at “event cinema”; the expense and diminishing returns of the experiment saw interest dwindle by the early 1970s.33 Isolated gestures toward filmed performance emerged in the intervening decades, but most were studio-shot films on sound stages, usually without audiences.
Live Performance Broadcast: “with a quaint device” (Tmp, 3.3.52sd)
It was not until midway through the first decade of the 21st century that Shakespeare finally found himself the center of a new industry: the live performance broadcast. In 2003, Shakespeare’s Globe pioneered what they described as a “live, uncut theatre performance of Shakespeare,” broadcast on BBC4 and later packaged for sale in DVD format.34 This broadcast relied heavily on the physical space of Shakespeare’s Globe, an attractive proposition for potential viewers to be able to see a live performance from the comfort of their homes.35
In 2006, New York City’s Metropolitan Opera launched an initiative called “The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD” (now stylized as “The Met: Live in HD”), in which select opera performances were filmed live and broadcast to cinemas. This project expanded the Met’s viewership and established a public taste for live performance without having to travel to New York. Within three years, live Shakespearean performances, led by companies that first included the National Theatre, and later the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Stratford Festival of Canada, began to appear on cinema screens around the world.
The advent of live performance broadcast into cinemas was hastened by the development of the digital technology that, after the initial outlay for infrastructure, was markedly cheaper to distribute than the efforts of the 1960s. Notably, these broadcasts retained a prestige element, grounded in the opportunity for spectators to attend their local cinema to watch the performance live as it occurred, with minimal delay. This meant viewers could plan ahead to view a live play at the same time as many thousands of like-minded individuals around the country (and eventually the world) followed suit. Based on feedback and social media response, this created a community camaraderie that revolved on a shared event.36 Viewers unable to attend the simulcast could watch the recorded screening at other select times, but crucially the performances were selective to heighten the event nature of the act. Distinct from a feature film adaptation of a Shakespeare play, the live performance broadcast sought to maintain the performance’s theatrical soul, as it limited the number of screenings and incorporated peripheral glimpses of the viewing audience as a factor not to be avoided but celebrated. Advancing technology played a fundamental role in the accessibility of these performances, through high-definition cameras and internet streaming that permitted greater flexibility for the recording of performance.37
In 2009, the National Theatre of Great Britain escalated the Globe’s innovation by premiering what was branded “NTLive.” The National extended the liveness aspect into arts centers and cinemas, which worked to elevate the performances from “appointment television” to “special event,” which signaled a “paradigm shift in theatre-going practices.”38 This quickly mimicked innovation represented an opportunity for theatregoers around the world to “attend” a performance at the National from a local cinema for the price of a slightly inflated movie ticket.39 NTLive hinged on the liveness of the event and utilized high-definition technology and satellite streaming to broadcast a specially staged performance of the June 2009 production of Phèdre (directed for the stage by Nicholas Hytner and for the screen by Robin Lough) to “70 cinemas and arts centres, reaching a widespread audience live across the UK,” while “[o]ver 200 venues around the world also screened the production.”
The follow-up production introduced Shakespeare to the medium, with a successful October 2009 adaptation of All’s Well That Ends Well (directed for the stage by Marianne Elliott and again for the screen by Robin Lough) screened in over three hundred venues around the world. The global theatre audience offered not only greater accessibility, which meant patrons need only travel to their local cinema rather than to Bankside, but also incredible potential audience sizes. The original screening of Phèdre was estimated to have been seen by a global cinema audience of fifty thousand—roughly equivalent to the entire in-person attendance for a three-month run. Since that time, as the popularity of the medium has grown, and with the attraction of major stars, viewership has exploded into the hundreds of thousands, easily outstripping live performance and often cinematic adaptations.40
The later addition of streaming events created as live streams but recorded for later “Encore” viewings at selected times in the cinema and then later in the private home offered the audience further agency and flexibility. While these at-home viewings on televisions and computer screens removed the often-reported event-factor camaraderie that accompanied attending a screening of a production with other like-minded individuals, they offered the power to watch in fragments, to rewind or fast forward, to multitask, and to abruptly decide to stop watching, which does not carry the same weight as walking out of a live performance or cinema.41 Despite the risk that removing these performances from the live space poses—given the overwhelmingly positive feedback gleaned from live cinema audiences delighted to share a cross-country simulcast—the “Encore” performances proved similarly popular. The recorded likeness of the live broadcast proved sufficient: it benefited from “the power of the ‘atmosphere of the screening’ to make ‘liveness’ portable.”42
This experience is not presumed to replace or heighten the theatrical product: indeed, the difference between seeing a performance in person and seeing a filmed version has been described as “negative convergence,” to suggest that an unsatisfying experience is preferable to no experience at all.43 While some critics lauded the success of the program, it is clear that with the directed gaze, selective camera angles, and ability to zoom in on an actor’s face, this is a very different experience than the traditional stage production.44 The key element to differentiate between this product and a made-for-cinema film is the presence of the audience and their applause, laughter, and reactions, which must be expertly negotiated by the screen director who jockeys between camera feeds in the style of live television. The great and burgeoning success of the NTLive program can be attributed at least in part to the liveness element, which turns the scheduled screenings into “events.”
As the live digital performances grew in popularity, the means of production quickly standardized:
Most high-end transmissions . . . involve six or seven cameras stationed throughout the theater auditorium: two or three are usually placed on tracks in the center and side stalls, allowing them to dolly about 1.5 m left-to-right while also zooming and pivoting, while another is mounted on a crane stationed in the center stalls, from whence it can extend over and into the stage space and create dramatic panning shots.45
Such an arrangement offers directorial control to select shots in the live process and features a standard slate of angles and shots that both a stage and film director can prepare for. In many cases, companies began identifying likely candidates to fill the lucrative live digital performance slots and would adjust staging to ensure their vision was not only conveyed to the in-person audience but those watching on screens: without doubt, “NTLive has definitively changed the NT’s working practices.”46
Following NTLive’s resounding expansion of their digital brand through the cinema, other global arts organizations followed suit. The digital medium’s flexibility, and later, the ubiquity of hosting sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, meant theatre companies prioritized supplementing their products by translating versions of them to this new format. Critically, the National Theatre’s lead was based on the liveness of performance, rather than focusing exclusively on the plays or performers, which might have led to re-staged, cinematic adaptations without audiences. Rather, the NTLive model emphasized the audience, offered behind-the-scenes glimpses into the event director’s control room, featured talkback experiences with members of the creative team, and built in real-time theatre intermissions. This canny move meant digital theatre performance maintained its connection to the liminal theatre space, and others soon followed suit.
Shakespeare, in particular, has been a major target of these live digital performances. From the Globe’s original forays into live digital performance on BBC4, they quickly joined the cinematic fray with their 2010 Romeo and Juliet, directed for the stage by Dominic Dromgoole and for the screen by Kriss Russman.47 NTLive offered a broad repertoire but featured Shakespeare in all but one of its first ten seasons, with a total of seventeen different cinematic releases, including high-profile productions featuring major stars (Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet, broadcast from the Barbican, 2015; Ian McKellen as King Lear in the Chichester Festival production, broadcast from the West End, 2018) and varied locations outside of the National Theatre complex (the Donmar Warehouse, the Manchester International Festival, the Young Vic).48
The Royal Shakespeare Company launched “RSC Live” in 2013 with Gregory Doran’s stage production of Richard II, starring David Tennant, and also directed for screen by Robin Lough. Over the intervening years, RSC Live has broadcast twenty-six of Shakespeare’s plays, several of which offered distinctive readings and innovative technological choices.49 In addition, the RSC also offers tailored “Schools Broadcasts” to stream content into classrooms all over the United Kingdom, often purposely made more attractive to students with the presence of celebrity actors.50
In 2014, Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival of Canada, announced a plan to film the entire Shakespearean canon over the course of a decade or more.51 This launched the following year as “StratFest@Home” to broadcast productions into Canadian and select international cinemas but without the live event aspect, as these were filmed and packaged for broadcast at a later time, both in cinemas and on CBC Television.52 The short-lived Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company (2015) streamed its entire lone season, which included productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale, which remains the only British company to offer streamed versions of Shakespeare performed on a proscenium stage.53
The global nature of digital processes means audiences have the chance to see plays they would never likely have the chance to view and has offered the chance for companies based outside of the United Kingdom and the United States to take the opportunity for digital exposure. One very notable example is the 2012 Globe to Globe Festival, hosted by Shakespeare’s Globe to run parallel to that year’s London Olympics. This festival brought companies from across the world to perform the entire Shakespearean canon on the Globe stage, the vast majority in languages other than English.54 Importantly, all performances were digitally filmed and preserved and were hosted on a dedicated digital pop-up site, called The Space, funded by the BBC and Arts Council England, thus exponentially extending the reach of these individual performances.55
From the work of the National Theatre and the Globe, smaller companies around the world followed suit, including Cheek by Jowl, which offered their Measure for Measure, staged in 2013 in collaboration with the Moscow Pushkin Theatre and streamed online in 2015.56 Other groups, including Talawa, in association with the BBC, gained great exposure from streaming their performances, including a very successful King Lear, while the Comédie Française released a digital version of their successful 2015 production of Roméo et Juliette in association with Pathé Live, broadcast to over three hundred francophone cinemas in Europe and Canada, and staged in the theatre’s distinctive avant garde style.57
In each of these cases, digital Shakespeare in performance revealed the vast potential of the format. Naturally heightened as live stage performances but directed as compellingly intimate through both technology and convenience of viewing, these seemingly oppositional factors come together to create a forum that encourages risk and experimentation. Even the event of filming the stage performance shifts the in-person audience’s experience as the film crews record the live stage before them, which potentially elevates an audience’s sense of responsibility to respond in a particularly enthusiastic manner, given that it will be streamed out to hundreds of locations worldwide.58
The medium itself, swiftly dominated by large-scale Anglophone theatres, has come under scrutiny as a means of communicating meaning. For example, the Cheek by Jowl Measure for Measure (2015) further interrogated the liminal performing space through directorial intervention, where live-stream director Thomas Bowles worked to deliberately keep Isabella out of frame, essentially “offstage,” as a clear commentary on her role and how her voice is excluded from the narrative.59 Gregory Doran’s The Tempest (RSC, 2016) divided Ariel into two halves, with a digital and physical presence facilitated by motion-capture technology, and further heightened in the live-stream version. This division, in which the audience is afforded views of the actor’s (Mark Quartley) physical body both in and out of his motion-capture “Xsens” suit, was an unexpected benefit to asking pertinent questions about the liminal space, particularly when considered from the perspective of the viewing audience in the cinema and at-home sphere. Such work to expose, destabilize, and interrogate the mechanism of production thus opened questions about the possibilities of further technological innovation.
While the tools developed for the digital broadcast of Shakespeare were impressive, they were essentially repurposed from preexisting, well-worn, and familiar industries, including live television and cinematic direction. With the emergence of the increasingly technologically driven world in the mid-2000s and early 2010s came the work of innovators looking to apply digital startups to the theatrical space, as the ability to achieve and afford such challenges became quickly attainable. Through this, digital tools emerged that quickly became ubiquitous and in many cases indispensable. In these early days, critics were skeptical about whether Shakespeare would find a place in this new world, asking “Does Shakespeare invite the creative interactivity of digital play, and if so, in what ways?”60 After a sustained period of time, it appears that digital Shakespeare is starting to settle into a comfortable niche.
While the emergence of the internet into everyday life was a major turning point for the structure of society in the mid-1990s, by the next decade, a new form of communication shifted the digital communication paradigm further. Social media encompasses generally unmoderated user-driven posts grouped by followers through websites such as Facebook (founded 2004), Twitter (2006), and Instagram (2010). While these social media platforms were primarily established for sharing photographs and messages with friends and like-minded people, they quickly evolved into forums for political activism, advertising, and community engagement. As social media has become more ingrained in daily life, so too have theatre makers moved to establish social media presences and to incorporate this technology both into performance and to use it as a staging point.61
Social media was quickly used to embrace, adapt, and extend access to elevate Shakespeare and his plays.62 Along with the introduction of YouTube (2005), where users can access and upload videos from a countless number of users on an endless supply of topics, Shakespeare gained traction as a formidable digital presence, where uploaded videos “[mark] an important shift in the appropriation and transmission of the dramatist’s body of work.”63 While YouTube has remained the world’s dominant video sharing site, alternative hosts have emerged, including Vimeo, BBC iPlayer, and arts streaming site Marquee, that allow for a variety of free and paywall-protected repositories. Indeed, in response to the early 2020 shutdowns necessitated by the global coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, many companies, including the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Stratford Festival of Canada, the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, and Cheek by Jowl, offered limited-time free access to past performances on YouTube. A sense of global goodwill around the release of these items to consumers trapped in isolated quarantine is mitigated by knowing that much of the intention behind this gesture came from a very modern impulse to remain constantly in the public’s eye and generating content related to the impatient nature of modern social media.
The Royal Shakespeare Company were early social media adopters in their mid-2000s gesture to incorporate audiences into their processes and performances. Such ambitions included behind-the-scenes access through the company’s popular Twitter feed and Facebook page, which were creatively utilized as previously untapped sources of audience engagement. This culminated in a 2010 collaborative experiment with multimedia group Mudlark for a Twitter-based adaptation of Romeo and Juliet punningly named Such Tweet Sorrow (see figure 1). This adaptation was directed by Roxana Silbert and was designed to be followed on Twitter by interested users. Such Tweet Sorrow featured six characters adapted from Shakespeare’s play—Romeo, Juliet, the Nurse (“Jess Capulet”), Mercutio, Tybalt, and cafe owner “Laurence Friar”—and played out a heavily altered version of Shakespeare’s play over five weeks in the platform’s then-limitation of 140 characters at a time. Followers could watch and interact with the characters, offer advice and support, and were encouraged to use hashtags (#teamcapulet and #teammontague) to register their encouragement to one side or another.64 The project encompassed some four thousand tweets, and despite the protests of prominent critics, managed to generate some six thousand hashtag-associated tweets from followers, with exposure to 140,000 audience members over the course of the project: a success on many levels.65
Facebook, too, has been used for similar purposes, such as the Birmingham, Alabama-based Sloss Performing Arts Company’s January 2010 production of Romeo and Juliet, which actively incorporated Facebook posts and character-related profiles into their rehearsal process. Here, audience members were invited behind the scenes with additional material, rehearsal footage, and actor-driven content, in a prescient anticipation of what would later be commonly driven by professional social media managers.66 The RSC’s social media follow-up to Such Tweet Sorrow, A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming, was hosted on Google+, Google’s ersatz and now defunct Facebook rival. To offer unprecedented interactivity to social media users, the RSC launched a social media campaign, tagged #Dream40, to accompany the company’s 40th production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This user-generated project tasked viewers to provide their own Dream-related experiences, perspectives, and imagery. This preceded a unique, fragmented take on the play, filmed and partially shared on social media, ancillary to the generated hypertextual material of Google+.67
Plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet boast predictably popular presences on social media, as tales both comic and tragic of thwarted love that stand in for the romantic aspirations of many young users.68 In 2018, Instagram hosted Romeo ♥ Juliet, a queer-cast version of the play performed through Instagram posts and stories, where a cast of nine played out the tragedy across multiple conversant accounts.69
This incorporation of modern terminology and technology has also entered the physical theatre space. For example, Robert LePage, in his 2018 Coriolanus at the Stratford Festival of Canada, ostensibly crafted his projection-heavy stage production for the live audience, but when the piece transferred into StratFestLive series in cinemas, the production’s use of digital technology, including text messaging and emojis to replace missives from messengers, and colorful projected backgrounds, translated immediately to the streaming space.
On a larger scale, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2016 The Tempest, directed by Gregory Doran, represented the company’s “most ambitious technological collaboration” yet.70 Developed in partnership with tech companies Intel and motion-capture studio Imaginarium, this Tempest revolved around Doran’s ongoing question in rehearsal of “how is this enabling magic?”71 The production utilized high-tech, digital means to achieve this magic and to heighten the performance: Ariel appears in part as a shape-shifting digital avatar activated through the space with motion-capture technology supported by movement-mapping capabilities more customary to computer generated imagery (CGI) common to the cinema.72 Similarly, Phillida Lloyd’s highly successful 2016 all-female Donmar Warehouse Julius Caesar was enhanced in its use of technology, as it incorporated mobile phone cameras, drones, and wearable GoPro cameras to collect footage then built into the eventual digital performance release, which made certain moments visceral, alarmingly close-up, and urgent in a way that a conventional live digital performance might not be recorded.73 The 2013–2014 Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus (starring Tom Hiddleston) also incorporated supplementary technology, including headphones, digital programs, and audio commentary to provide an exclusive “backstage” audience experience, in a self-described “experiment,” a multi-layered experience made possible by affordable technological progress.74
Technology has also heightened the ways in which stories are told, including virtual reality (VR) environments. Early approaches to performance in the digital sphere were experimental in nature and represented precursors to later innovations possible through elevated technology. For example, in 1997, Stephen N. Matsuba and Bernie Roehl developed a streamed live performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (dubbed The VRML Dream Project, so named for Virtual Reality Modelling Language Matsuba and Roehl employed). This production featured real-time animation, 3D sets, voice dubbing, and live streaming, presented on the internet on April 26, 1998, in an event described as “Internet history.”75 A Midsummer Night’s Dream proved fodder for further exploration in the virtual reality world, with the launch of a project variously named Y2KDream and A Midcyber Night’s Dream. This project ran from June 29 to July 1, 2000 at the University of Kent’s Lumley Studio and experimented with creating a digital realm for the performance, in an example of what might be possible within virtual reality.
As technology has advanced, so too has the potential for exploration. For example, Shakespeare-VR is a research project headed by Stephen Wittek of Carnegie Mellon University, which “uses virtual reality technologies to bring students face-to-face with professional actors performing Shakespearean soliloquies in a replica of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse” and demonstrates synergy between the virtual performance and education.76 Throughout the late 2010s, theatre companies around the world tentatively experimented with the moderately more affordable nature of modern-day virtual reality, such as Hamlet: Thy Father’s Spirit, an hour-long immersive virtual reality environment from the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, which users access on YouTube and interact with via at-home VR devices such as Rift, Google Cardboard, or Oculus.77 Such environments place the onus on the user to explore the world, and in many cases they can decide which story thread to follow, but costs remain largely prohibitive for developers.
Such control closely mimics the user’s role in gamification processes, where Shakespeare also holds a presence. Shakespeare’s detailed plays may perhaps be expected to be rich fodder for gaming purposes, but prior attempts, such as the Kenneth Branagh–inspired Hamlet: A Murder Mystery, have fallen flat in part due to the complexities of language and in part for the necessity to maintain a cohesive through-line in the simulated environment to remain connected to Shakespeare’s play.78
Most Shakespeare-themed games have been usefully categorized into three types. “Theatre making games” are games that turn their users into theatre makers: for example, they ask users to select speeches, costume characters, and complete a scene. “Drama making games” are games in which the user inhabits a character—in a Shakespeare sense, often a character from one of the plays, like Hamlet or Juliet—to complete a quest or story. Finally, “scholar making games” are games that are primarily education-centric and relate to quiz-based knowledge of plays, characters, and quotations.79 The fledgling area of Shakespearean gaming is still finding its feet, although the latter half of the 2010s saw a steady rise in Shakespearean-themed games.
The success of “theatre making games” lies in promotion of a creative theatre-based sensibility as a potential means of capturing or igniting an area of passion in the performing arts. One such project is the 2015 motion-capture-based Play the Knave, developed by a team led by Gina Bloom at the University of California, Davis. Play the Knave utilizes Folger Digital Texts to create a suite for users to stage a selected edited scene from Shakespeare. In this karaoke-style staging app, users select from a range of costumed avatars, atmospheric music, and one of a choice of major world Shakespearean stages, and then perform—at a selected tempo—a speech or scene while a Kinect camera detects and transfers the user’s movements to the screen’s avatar (see figure 2).80
Similarly, Staging Shakespeare was one of several tablet-based games designed in 2013 at the University of Waterloo, Canada, in association with the Stratford Festival of Canada. It was developed by a team led by Jennifer Roberts-Smith and replicated Stratford Festival venues, costumes, and props that a user is asked to assemble to stage a scene from Romeo and Juliet. In this case, the staging is played out by avatars voiced by Festival actors. Points are awarded based on audience satisfaction, and users are encouraged to share their results to social media to become eligible for Festival-offered prizes. Such gamification is an open appeal to drive access to archival material and Shakespearean performance, with the expectation that it would also promote forthcoming productions at the Festival.81
While Shakespeare does exist in video game modalities, it is primarily at the level of citation, where selected Shakespearean quotations and character references appear in games such as Final Fantasy, Bioshock Infinite, Silent Hill 3, Empire Earth, and the Sims 2. Shakespeare-themed “drama making” games such as Hamlet! (2010), the Warwickshire Tourism–sponsored Romeo Wherefore Art Thou? (2017), and Elsinore (2019) exist as quest games, primarily built through problem solving and using Shakespeare’s character as avatars.82
In a more immersive sense, the virtual environment of Second Life, which hit its peak popularity in the mid-to-late 2000s, features Shakespearean locations and communities.83 This includes multiple virtual copies of both Shakespeare’s Globe and the Blackfriars Theatre and has hosted a resident troupe of players who participate in performances of Shakespeare’s plays.84 This group, variously called SLiterary Shakespeare Company (SLSC) and Metaverse Shakespeare Company, have staged productions of Hamlet and Twelfth Night (see figure 3), while other groups have performed Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.85 Users could invent districts and neighborhoods, including the Shakespeare-themed “Renaissance Island,” a fantasy role-playing environment that simulates both 16th-century England and a Renaissance Faire aesthetic.86
In these environments, users came together from all over the world to both perform and watch Shakespeare, which offered a sense of “self-validation” in topics the user already cared about.87 While the Second Life community is far smaller today than at its peak, it stands as a reminder of a virtual space where it was possible to create and experience anything within human imagination—and yet users chose to perform and recreate Shakespearean performance.88
In scientific terms, a model is a simplified representation of a larger, more complex phenomenon from which valid inferences can be drawn. The “surrogate reasoning” facilitated by a model, for example, allows travelers to navigate through three-dimensional space using only a rudimentary map, even if the map—a selective, two-dimensional, visual representation—excludes all but the most salient features.89 Scholars have used computers to construct models of Shakespearean texts, places, and spaces with which to test hypotheses about authorship, style, the material conditions of performance, and the geospatial relationships between different historical locations.
Modeling Shakespearean Places and Spaces
To commemorate 2016 as the 350th and 400th anniversary of the Great Fire and Shakespeare’s death, respectively, the City of London commissioned Robin Reynolds to produce Visscher Redrawn, an updated pen-and-ink panorama of London based on Claes Janz Visscher’s 1616 engraving. Both works were displayed at the Guildhall Art Gallery throughout 2016, allowing viewers to compare the two images and appreciate the dramatic transformation of the city (see figure 4).
Visscher Redrawn shows that early 21st-century London would be barely recognizable to Shakespeare’s early audiences and readers and vice versa. And yet, London is an important feature in many of Shakespeare’s history plays, “replete with references to streets, buildings, neighbourhoods, wards, parishes, landmarks, and the natural landscape.”90 While an editor can gloss these geographical references as they appear in works of the period, it is difficult to convey a sense of their relationship to one another—the proximity between different locations, their accessibility by land or water, and so on—in concise prose. Designed to “map the spatial imaginary of Shakespeare’s city,” the Map of Early Modern London (MoEML) addresses this need by constructing an interactive model of Shakespeare’s London.91 Based on a scan of the 1561 Agas woodcut map, MoEML links a geospatial representation of these historical London landmarks to encyclopedia entries and digital editions of Stow’s Survey of London, Lord Mayors’ shows, and other early modern texts (see figure 5).
While few of the venues used for theatrical productions in Shakespeare’s time are still standing, theatre historians have attempted to reconstruct these now-lost structures virtually, creating 3D scale models with which to test the effects of different performance conditions (such as lighting, weather, and ambient sound) or hypotheses about early staging practices. The team at Ortelia Interactive Spaces, for example, have built interactive virtual models of the Boar’s Head and Rose playhouses, populated with actors and audience members that can be automated or controlled via motion-capture.92 With the help of Eric Tatham of Mixed Reality Ltd., Roger Clegg has recently produced a more detailed and sophisticated 3D model of the Rose playhouse in both its phases (1587–1591/2 and 1591/2–1606) and set in its immediate environment of Bankside (see figure 6).93
Other projects have produced similar 3D scale models of early modern theatre spaces to explore the relationship between text and performance, allowing users to virtually block scenes or an entire play with actor avatars. By combining “visualizations of text, performance, performance records, and annotations in two and three spatial dimensions, as well as in time,” the Simulated Environment for Theatre (SET) effectively enables the creation of animated, interactive performance editions.94 For example, the SET team have staged a simulated performance of the anonymous Queen’s Men play, The True Tragedy of Richard the Third, in a 3D model of Queens’s Cambridge stage (see figure 7).95
Modeling Shakespeare’s Style
Under various guises, including “distant reading,” “algorithmic criticism,” and “literary macroanalysis,” scholars have used empirical data to construct digital models with which to test hypotheses about authors and their works.96 As with other models, these proceed by a process of abstraction: inferences about an author’s style, for example, can be made using a model that reduces their literary output to its most salient features—linguistic, textual, and paratextual.97
Scholarship of this kind has focused primarily on questions of attribution, whereby models of Shakespeare’s authorial style (or his linguistic idiolect) are used to test for authorship of plays and poems, in whole or part.98 For example, by constructing such models using various methods of computational stylistics, contributors to Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship made the case for Shakespeare’s authorial presence in Arden of Faversham, Edward III, and the 1602 additions to The Spanish Tragedy, and Christopher Marlowe’s contributions to 1 and 2 Henry the Sixth.99 Because they have potential to revise assumptions about the canon, stylometric investigations like these have material consequences for the study, performance, and appreciation of Shakespeare. The New Oxford Shakespeare, for example, commissioned fresh attribution studies to determine material for inclusion and exclusion from the edition, publishing the research in a companion volume.100
Similar models can also be built to assist with dating texts. Hugh Craig, for example, constructed a statistical model of language shift to distinguish early modern plays of diverse authorship but securely dated to the 1590s from those dating to the early 1600s. Using this model, Craig demonstrated that the collaborative Sir Thomas More shares stylistic traits with plays written between 1600 and 1604, a finding that “decouple[s] the composition of the play from the outbreak of anger against foreigners in London in 1592–3,” as proposed by previous editors and critics of the play.101 Building on earlier empirical studies of Shakespeare’s prosody, Douglas Bruster and Geneviève Smith have also proposed a new chronology for Shakespeare’s plays, basing their statistical model on pause patterns in verse.102 As with authorship attribution, studies such as these may have significant consequences for our understanding of Shakespeare’s chronology and development as an author.
Scholars have also employed computational models to consider broader questions of literary interest beyond those of Shakespearean authorship and chronology. Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore, for example, have identified linguistic features to distinguish Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, and histories, as well as his early, middle, and late style.103 Likewise, Jonathan Culpeper and his collaborators have computationally mapped emotional language within individual Shakespeare plays and across the full canon, testing assumptions about genre and Shakespeare’s development as a dramatist.104 Wider availability of machine-readable texts from the period has broadened the scope of such studies to enable comparison of Shakespeare with his contemporaries. Collaborating with Michael Gleicher, Hope and Witmore constructed a model using a corpus of 554 early modern plays to discern distinctive features of tragedy and to explore Shakespeare’s plays in relation to these patterns.105 By analyzing a similarly enlarged corpus of early modern drama by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Hugh Craig and Brett Greatley-Hirsch have explored patterns in prose and verse, character idiolect, the use of stage properties, and plays belonging to the repertory company.106
Links to Digital Materials
As Will Sharpe notes, “what is covered” by the term digital Shakespeare is “expanding exponentially” and “frustratingly difficult to pin down,” with “published studies on the matter coming to seem embarrassingly out-of-date in surprisingly short periods of time.”107
- Carson, Christie, and Peter Kirwan, eds. Shakespeare and the Digital World: Redefining Scholarship and Practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
- Craig, Hugh. “Authorial Attribution and Shakespearean Variety: Genre, Form and Chronology.” Shakespeare Survey 70 (2017): 154–164.
- Estill, Laura, Diane K. Jakacki, and Michael Ullyot, eds. Early Modern Studies after the Digital Turn. Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, 2016.
- Fazel, Valerie M., and Louise Geddes, eds. The Shakespeare User: Critical and Creative Appropriations in a Networked Culture. New York: Palgrave, 2017.
- Galey, Alan. The Shakespearean Archive: Experiments in New Media from the Renaissance to Postmodernity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
- Greatley-Hirsch, Brett, and Michael Best. “‘Within This Wooden [2.]O’: Shakespeare and New Media in the Digital Age.” In The Shakespearean World. Edited by Jill L. Levenson and Robert Ormsby, 443–462. New York: Routledge, 2017.
- Guneratne, Anthony R. “Shakespeare’s Rebirth: Performance in the Age of Electro-Digital Reproduction.” In The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Performance. Edited by James C. Bulman, 352–368. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
- Hope, Jonathan. “Digital Approaches to Shakespeare’s Language.” In The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Language. Edited by Lynne Magnusson and David Schalkwyk, 151–167. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
- Huang, Alexander C. Y. “Global Shakespeare 2.0 and the Task of the Performance Archive.” Shakespeare Survey 64 (2011): 38–51.
- Jenstad, Janelle, Mark Kaethler, and Jennifer Roberts-Smith, eds. Shakespeare’s Language in Digital Media: Old Words, New Tools. New York: Routledge, 2018.
- Mancewicz, Aneta. Intermedial Shakespeares on European Stages. New York: Palgrave, 2014.
- Nicholas, Rachael. “Appendix: Digital Theatre Broadcasts of Shakespeare, 2003–17.” In Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience. Edited by Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne, 227–242. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018.
- O’Neill, Stephen, ed. Broadcast Your Shakespeare: Continuity and Change across Media. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018.
1. This is what Martin Mueller calls “the query potential of the digital surrogate”; see Martin Mueller, “Digital Shakespeare, or Towards a Literary Informatics,” Shakespeare 4, no. 3 (2008): 284–301.
2. See Jill L. Levenson, “Framing Shakespeare: Introductions and Commentary in Critical Editions of the Plays,” in Shakespeare and Textual Studies, ed. Margaret Jane Kidnie and Sonia Massai (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 377–390; Sarah Neville, “Rethinking Scholarly Commentary in the Age of Google: Some Preliminary Meditations on Digital Editions,” Textual Cultures 12, no. 1 (2019): 1–26; and Eric Rasmussen, “Editorial Memory: The Origin and Evolution of Collation Notes,” in Shakespeare and Textual Studies, ed. Margaret Jane Kidnie and Sonia Massai (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 391–397.
3. On the affordances of digital Shakespeare editions, see Michael Best, “Standing in Rich Place: Electrifying the Multiple-Text Edition or, Every Text Is Multiple,” College Literature 36, no. 1 (2009): 26–36; and Brett D. Hirsch, “The Kingdom Has Been Digitized: Electronic Editions of Renaissance Drama and the Long Shadows of Shakespeare and Print,” Literature Compass 8, no. 9 (2011): 568–591. On digital editions more broadly, see Peter L. Shillingsburg, From Gutenberg to Google: Electronic Representations of Literary Texts (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006); and Elena Pierazzo, Digital Scholarly Editing: Theory, Models and Methods (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2015).
4. This typically requires use of an application programming interface or “API” to facilitate interaction and delivery between different digital systems and applications. For example, an appropriate API would allow a digital edition to pull definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary.
5. John Jowett, Shakespeare and Text (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 164. This optimistic assessment is notably absent from the 2019 revised edition.
6. All references to Shakespeare are from Gary Taylor et al., eds., The New Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (Modern Critical Edition) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) and cited parenthetically. For a fuller historical survey of digital Shakespeare editions, see Ian Lancashire, “The State of Computing in Shakespeare,” The Shakespearean International Yearbook 2 (2002): 89–110; Michael Best, “Shakespeare and the Electronic Text,” in A Concise Companion to Shakespeare and the Text, ed. Andrew Murphy (Malden: Blackwell, 2007), 145–161; Brett D. Hirsch and Hugh Craig, “‘Mingled Yarn’: The State of Computing in Shakespeare 2.0,” The Shakespearean International Yearbook 14 (2014): 3–35; and Alan Galey and Rebecca Niles, “Moving Parts: Digital Modeling and the Infrastructures of Shakespeare Editing,” Shakespeare Quarterly 68, no. 1 (2017): 21–55.
7. In this context, “remediation” means “the representation of one medium in another”: Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media (Cambridge, UK: MIT Press, 1999), 45.
8. Early English Books Online (ProQuest, 1998–) and Early English Books (UMI, 1938–). A limited number of later, non-Shakespeare additions are clearly not derived from microfilm. On the history of Early English Books Online, see Ian Gadd, “The Use and Misuse of Early English Books Online,” Literature Compass 6, no. 3 (2009): 680–692; and Bonnie Mak, “Archaeology of a Digitization,” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 65, no. 8 (2014): 1515–1526.
9. Two sites, both launched in 1993, were the first to repurpose the Globe/Moby text for the Web: Matty Farrow’s The Works of the Bard (hosted by the University of Sydney) and Jeremy Hylton’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (hosted by MIT). For a feature-rich derivation of the Globe/Moby text and discussion of its history, see Eric Johnson’s Open Source Shakespeare (2003–).
10. T.H. Howard-Hill, ed., Oxford Old-Spelling Shakespeare Concordances (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1969–1973); WordCruncher (Orem, UT: Electronic Text Corporation, 1988), incorporating the text from G. Blakemore Evans, ed., Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed. (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1997); and Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, eds., Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works: Electronic Edition, prepared by Lou Burnard (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1988). The Oxford Text Archive now makes these texts, along with transcriptions from other projects (including the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership), freely available online.
11. A. R. Braunmuller, ed., Voyager Macbeth (New York, NY: Voyager, 1994); Jonathan Bate, gen. ed., The Arden Shakespeare CD-ROM (Walton-on-Thames, UK: Thomas Nelson, 1997); and Jacky Bratton and Christie Carson, eds., The Cambridge King Lear CD-ROM: Text and Performance Archive (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
12. Peter Holland and Mary Onorato, “Scholars and the Marketplace: Creating Online Shakespeare Collections,” Shakespeare 4, no. 3 (2008): 245–253 (246).
13. ArdenOnline (Walton-on-Thames, UK: Thomson Learning, 1999–2001); and Holland and Onorato, “Scholars and the Marketplace,” 247.
14. The Shakespeare Collection (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2003–). For an insider’s perspective on these platforms, see Holland and Onorato, “Scholars and the Marketplace.”
15. Drama Online (London, UK: Bloomsbury, 2013–).
16. Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012–); Stephen Greenblatt, gen. ed., The Norton Shakespeare 3e Digital Edition (New York, NY: Norton, 2015–); and Cambridge Shakespeare (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020–). The texts (without notes and commentary) of the New Folger Shakespeare Library editions, edited by Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine, have since 2012 been freely available as The Folger Shakespeare (previously Folger Digital Texts). Since 2006, images from the Octavo CD-ROM catalogue have been freely available, in reduced resolution, from Rare Book Room.
17. For a lively introduction to issues of digitization in literary study, see Adam Hammond, Literature in the Digital Age: An Introduction (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016).
18. On the project’s history, see Michael Best, “The Internet Shakespeare Editions: Scholarly Shakespeare on the Web,” Shakespeare 4, no. 3 (2008): 221–233. Although marketed and described in its general introduction as “born digital” (84–85), most of the material in The Norton Shakespeare 3e was clearly first prepared for print publication. In addition to telling internal references to numbered pages throughout (which have no meaning in the unpaginated digital version), the Digital Edition contained only a handful of titles when the completed print volume was published in 2016. At most, the Norton Shakespeare 3e can claim “born digital” status for those additional single-text editions published exclusively in the Digital Edition.
19. David Bevington, ed., As You Like It (Victoria, CA: Internet Shakespeare Editions, 2011); and John D. Cox, ed., Julius Caesar (Victoria, CA: Internet Shakespeare Editions, 2012). See Sarah Neville, “Mediating Textual Annotation in the Online Scholarly Edition,” The Shakespearean International Yearbook 14 (2014): 133–141, for a review of these editions in relation to the New Variorum Shakespeare.
20. For discussion of both apps and e-books, see Jennifer L. Ailles, “‘Is There an App for That?’: Mobile Shakespeare on the Phone and in the Cloud,” in OuterSpeares: Shakespeare, Intermedia, and the Limits of Adaptation, ed. Daniel Fischlin (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 75–112.
21. W. B. Worthen, “Shax the App,” in Shakespeare, Technicity, Theatre (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 68–103 (77).
22. Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Touch Press, 2012–); Folger Luminary Shakespeare (Folger/Luminary Digital/Simon & Schuster, 2012–2015); and Explore Shakespeare (Cambridge University Press/Agant, 2012–2013). For a trenchant scholarly review, see Eric Rasmussen, “Shakespeare’s The Tempest, App for iPad,” Shakespearean International Yearbook 14 (2014): 161–163. The Explore Shakespeare series released apps for Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet in 2012, followed by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and Othello in 2013.
23. Jonathan Bate, ed., The Tempest, Heuristic Shakespeare editions (Heuristic, 2016–).
24. For a more detailed discussion of these and other Shakespeare apps, see Noam Lior, “Multimedia Shakespeare Editions: Making Shakespeare Accessible/Making an Accessible Shakespeare,” Research in Drama Education 25, no. 1 (2020): 125–142. See also Sarah Werner, “Performance in Digital Editions of Shakespeare,” in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Performance, ed. James C. Bulman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 341–351.
25. Brett D. Hirsch and Janelle Jenstad, “Beyond the Text: Digital Editions and Performance,” Shakespeare Bulletin 34, no. 1 (2016): 107–127 (108).
26. On these and other challenges to producing digital Shakespeare editions, see Christie Carson, “The Evolution of Online Editing: Where Will It End?,” Shakespeare Survey 59 (2006): 168–181; Hirsch, “The Kingdom Has Been Digitized”; and Eugene Giddens, “Digital Revolutions and Digital Delays: Electronic Editions of Renaissance Literature,” Book 2.0 1, no. 1 (2011): 21–30.
28. See Sarah Werner, “Digital First Folios,” in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s First Folio, ed. Emma Smith (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 170–184. Werner also maintains a list of digitized First Folios. See also British Library, Shakespeare in Quarto.
30. As a neat example of full-circle thinking, the New York City–based Wooster Group produced a highly acclaimed adaptation of Hamlet (2006), which embraced projection and digital film technology to base their performance on this 1964 “Electronovision” Hamlet staging, complete with mimicking angles and staging. For more insight into the Wooster Group Hamlet, see Susanne Greenhalgh, “The Remains of the Stage: Revivifying Shakespearean Theatre on Screen, 1964–2016,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 19–40.
31. Laurie E. Osborne associates the “cinematic strategies to represent theatrical immediacy and ephemerality” as “cold and static,” quoting from the National Theatre’s promotional materials: “Epilogue: Revisiting Liveness,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 216.
32. Greenhalgh, “The Remains of the Stage,” 20.
33. The Wars of the Roses, prod. Peter Hall, John Barton, and RSC, 1965; Laurence Olivier, dir., Othello, National Theatre, 1965; and Hamlet, RSC, 1969. See also Greenhalgh, “The Remains of the Stage,” 19, 25; and John Wyver, Screening the Royal Shakespeare Company: A Critical History (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).
34. Pascale Aebischer, “South Bank Shakespeare Goes Global: Broadcasting from Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 113.
35. See Aebischer, “South Bank Shakespeare,” for a useful discussion of the physical space and its impact on this screened technology.
36. As Pascale Aebischer and Susanne Greenhalgh note of a later broadcast of Julius Caesar: “The audience’s participation in the screening had no power to shape the broadcast” yet they reveled in “the intensity of the sensation of ‘being there’ that was generated, on the one hand, by the broadcast’s deployment of medium-specific effects of proximity, immediacy and point-of-view, and on the other hand by our experience of belonging to a physical and networked community of fans that spanned geographical locations and shared in the excitement of participating in a unique, ephemeral cultural event”; Pascale Aebischer and Susanne Greenhalgh, “Introduction: Shakespeare and the ‘Live’ Theatre Broadcast Experience,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 7.
37. For a technical perspective on this process, see John Wyver, “‘All the Trimmings?’: The Transfer of Theatre to Television in Adaptations of Shakespeare Stagings,” Adaptation 7, no. 2 (2014): 104–120.
38. Erin Sullivan, “‘The Forms of Things Unknown’: Shakespeare and the Rise of the Live Broadcast,” Shakespeare Bulletin 3, no. 4 (2017): 627.
39. In Great Britain this was set at £10, although this varied in international markets.
40. Sullivan, “The Forms of Things Unknown,” 628. See Sullivan, “The Forms of Things Unknown,” for a more detailed perspective on the financial and spectatorial successes of this program. Furthermore, for information on the international impact of the NTLive broadcasts, see the collection of essays compiled in a sub-section titled “Reaction Shots” in Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne, eds., Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), which includes essays about live digital Shakespearean broadcast in Japan (177–184), Hong Kong (185–192), Italy (193–198), the United States (199–206), and France (207–214). Notably, according to Alison Stone, market research demonstrated that “NTLive audiences found the broadcasts more emotionally engaging than did audiences who saw the same production live in the theater”; see Alison Stone, “Not Making a Movie: The Livecasting of Shakespeare Stage Productions by the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company,” Shakespeare Bulletin 34, no. 4 (2016): 627–643 (636).
41. See Pascale Aebischer, Shakespeare, Spectatorship and the Technologies of Performance (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 195.
42. Stone, “Not Making a Movie,” 637.
43. Kitamura Sae, “The Curious Incident of Shakespeare Fans in NTLive: Public Screenings and Fan Culture in Japan,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 178.
44. Michael Billington, after the first screening of Phèdre, gushed “the production worked even better in the cinema than it did in the Lyttelton. And the implications of that are enormous”; Michael Billington, “National Theatre Live: Phèdre,” The Guardian, June 26, 2009.
45. Sullivan, “The Forms of Things Unknown,” 635–636.
46. Susan Bennett discusses the earning power of the live broadcasts in contrast to feature film (and their disparity in cost) in “Shakespeare’s New Marketplace: The Places of Event Cinema,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 41–58. See also Stone, “Not Making a Movie,” 628.
47. See Aebischer, “South Bank Shakespeare Goes Global,” for more insight into the Globe’s strategies.
48. For a detailed but inevitably now-incomplete list of Digital Theatre broadcasts of Shakespeare, see Rachael Nicholas, “Digital Theatre Broadcasts of Shakespeare, 2003–17,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 227–242.
49. This includes a 2015 Othello featuring Lucian Msamati, the first-ever black actor to play Iago at the RSC, and an innovative 2016 Tempest featuring Simon Russell Beale and live motion capture. For more insight into the RSC Live programming, see John Wyver, “Screening the RSC Stage: The 2014 Live from Stratford-upon-Avon Cinema Broadcasts,” Shakespeare 11, no. 3 (2015): 286–302.
50. Geoffrey Way, “Together, Apart: Liveness, Eventness, and Streaming Shakespearean Performance,” Shakespeare Bulletin 35, no. 3 (2017): 397.
51. “Stratford Festival to Film ‘Entire Shakespeare Canon’ for Canadians,” CBC News, September 16, 2014.
52. See Margaret Jane Kidnie, “The Stratford Festival of Canada: Mental Tricks and Archival Documents,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 133–146.
53. Greenhalgh, “The Remains of the Stage,” 32.
54. Of the thirty-seven Globe to Globe productions, only two were presented in English.
55. The Space still exists as a broader-reaching digital culture player. In 2015, the Globe founded their own standalone hosting site, called Globe Player, a subscription-based service maintained by Shakespeare’s Globe. For more on the Globe Player, see Way, “Together, Apart,” 390.
56. See Peter Kirwan, “Reframing Cheek by Jowl: Reframing Complicity in Web-Streams of Measure for Measure,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 161–173.
57. Jami Rogers reports that Talawa’s King Lear attracted 160,000 page views on the BBC iPlayer, and another 120,000 tuned in to watch on BBC4, which demonstrates the extreme reach of the medium; Rogers, “Talawa and Black Theatre,” 157. See Pascale Aebischer, “Shakespeare from the House of Molière: The Comédie Française/Pathé Live Roméo et Juliette,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 207–213.
58. For an account of witnessing this first-hand as an audience member, see Julie Raby, “A View from the Stalls: The Audience’s Experience in the Theatre during the RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon Broadcasts,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 103–109.
59. See Aebischer, Shakespeare, Spectatorship, 191.
60. Laurie Osborne, “iShakespeare: Digital Art/Games, Intermediality, and the Future of Shakespearean Film,” Shakespeare Studies 38 (2010): 49.
61. See Stephen O’Neill, “Shakespeare and Social Media,” Literature Compass 12, no. 6 (2015): 274–285.
62. Studies have suggested Shakespeare is referenced on Twitter every forty-one seconds: see O’Neill, “Shakespeare and Social Media,” 274.
63. Valerie Fazel, “Researching YouTube Shakespeare: Literary Scholars and the Ethical Challenges of Social Media,” Borrowers and Lenders 10, no. 1 (2016), n.p. For an in-depth analysis of Shakespeare’s presence on YouTube, see Stephen O’Neill, Shakespeare and YouTube: New Media Forms of the Bard (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2014).
64. Popular Twitter hashtags aggregate interest in common themes and have become vital for modern marketing. For consideration of the use of these hashtags in theatre performance, see Erin Sullivan, “The Audience Is Present: Aliveness, Social Media, and the Theatre Broadcast Experience,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 59–75. For a detailed examination of this project, see Erin Sullivan, “Shakespeare, Social Media, and the Digital Public Sphere: Such Tweet Sorrow and A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming,” Shakespeare 14, no. 1 (2018): 64–79; and Aebischer, Shakespeare, Spectatorship, 108–113.
65. Sullivan, “Shakespeare, Social Media,” 67–68.
66. For more on the Sloss Romeo and Juliet, see Geoffrey Way, “Social Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Social Media, and Performance,” Journal of Narrative Theory 41 (2011): 401–420.
67. For an in-depth perspective on A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming, see Sullivan, “Shakespeare, Social Media.”
68. Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer offers an in-depth analysis of the commodification of Juliet as a character on social media in “Juliet, I Prosume? Or Shakespeare and the Social Network,” Borrowers and Lenders 10, no. 1 (2016), n.p.
69. This program was played out and collected through an Instagram account called @delightsandends.
70. The RSC claimed this to be the first-ever Tempest featuring motion-capture technology, which Gina Bloom debunked in 2019, noting a production fifteen years prior at the University of Georgia’s Interactive Performance Lab. For more, see Bloom’s “Rough Magic: Performing Shakespeare through Gaming Technology: Shakespeare Birthday Lecture,” Folger Shakespeare Library, April 9, 2019.
71. Aebischer, Shakespeare, Spectatorship, 119, 120.
72. For a more detailed account of the technology’s use, see Aebischer, Shakespeare, Spectatorship, 127.
73. Julius Caesar received a limited cinematic release and was selected for the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
74. See Rachael Nicholas, “Understanding ‘New’ Encounters with Shakespeare: Hybrid Media and Emerging Audience Behaviours,” in Shakespeare and the “Live” Theatre Broadcast Experience, ed. Pascale Aebischer, Susanne Greenhalgh, and Laurie Osborne (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2018), 77–92. For in-depth analysis of this Coriolanus, see Michael Friedman, “The Shakespeare Cinemacast: Coriolanus,” Shakespeare Quarterly 67, no. 4 (2016): 457–480.
75. As Matsuba noted: “VRML Dream was the first live, streaming, VRML entertainment project that would have a running time of more than two or three minutes, and it proved that streaming both motion and voice data over standard Internet connections was possible.” For more information, see Stephen N. Matsuba and Bernie Roehl, “‘Bottom, Thou Art Translated’: The Making of VRML Dream,” IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications 19, no. 2 (1999): 145–151.
76. The Shakespeare-VR project. In 2016, a collaboration between the Melbourne University Shakespeare Company and the Faculty of Arts e-Teaching Unit produced three five-minute scenes from The Taming of the Shrew shot in 360-degree video, enabling an immersive experience for users with appropriate VR headsets.
77. For access to this virtual reality environment, visit “Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit” or “Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit; Shakespeare in VR.”
78. Hamlet: A Murder Mystery (Castle Rock Entertainment, 1997). See Osborne, “iShakespeare,” 50–51, for a longer exploration of Hamlet: A Murder Mystery, along with consideration of other educational efforts, such as Macbeth Interactive, Hamlet: The Text Adventure, HyperMacbeth: Lyrics by William Shakespeare, and Arden I.
79. This designation of “theatre making,” “drama making,” and “scholar making” games is attributed to Play the Knave creator Gina Bloom, in “Videogame Shakespeare: Enskilling Audiences through Theater-Making Games,” Shakespeare Studies 43 (2015): 114–127 (114–115).
80. Bloom, “Videogame Shakespeare,” 115. For more detail on Play the Knave, see Gina Bloom et al., “‘A Whole Theater of Others’: Amateur Acting and Immersive Spectatorship in the Digital Shakespeare Game Play the Knave,” Shakespeare Quarterly 67, no. 4 (2016): 408–430.
81. For perspectives on the challenges and creation of this “Staging Shakespeare” game, see Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Shawn DeSouza-Coelho, and Toby Malone, “‘Staging Shakespeare’ in Social Games: Towards a Theory of Theatrical Game Design,” Borrowers and Lenders 10, no. 1 (2016): n.p. For more insight into the Stratford Festival games and use of apps, see M. G. Aune, “From Cultural Tourists to Shakespeare Fans: The Stratford Festival and the Construction of Audience,” Borrowers and Lenders 12, no. 2 (2019): n.p.
82. See E. B. Hunter, “Enactive Spectatorship, Critical Making, and Dramaturgical Analysis: Building Something Wicked, the Macbeth Video Game,” International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media 16, no. 1 (2020): 1–17.
83. A virtual world is a “networked cyberspacial phenomenon, spatially based depictions of persistent virtual environments, accessible by avatars, which represent the participants involved”; see Bell, “Toward a Definition of ‘Virtual Worlds,’” 2–3.
84. Katherine Rowe identifies five different Globe Theatres; see Katherine Rowe, “Crowd-Sourcing Shakespeare: Screen Work and Screen Play in Second Life,” Shakespeare Studies 38 (2010): 58–67 (59).
85. The now-dormant SLiterary Shakespeare/Metaverse Shakespeare Company ceased operations in late 2011 but maintains a company website. The Macbeth-themed project, called Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters, created in 2008, has since been geared toward educational opportunities where students may tour the Macbeth-themed environments created on the Second Life platform.
86. Rowe, “Crowd-Sourcing,” 60–61.
87. O’Neill, “Shakespeare and Social Media,” 274.
88. See Eleni Timplalexi, “Shakespeare in Digital Games and Virtual Worlds,” Multicultural Shakespeare 18, no. 33 (2018): 134.
89. The phrase “surrogate reasoning” was introduced by Chris Swoyer in “Structural Representation and Surrogate Reasoning,” Synthese 87 (1991): 449–508; see also Gabriele Contessa, “Scientific Representation, Interpretation, and Surrogate Reasoning,” Philosophy of Science 74, no. 1 (2007): 48–68. On the modeling of literary texts, see Andrew Piper, “Think Small: On Literary Modeling,” PMLA 132, no. 3 (2017): 651–658; and Fotis Jannidis and Julia Flanders, “A Gentle Introduction to Data Modeling,” in The Shape of Data in the Digital Humanities: Modeling Texts and Text-Based Resources, ed. Julia Flanders and Fotis Jannidis (New York: Routledge, 2019), 26–95.
90. Janelle Jenstad, “Using Early Modern Maps in Literary Studies: Views and Caveats from London,” in GeoHumanities: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place, ed. Michael Dear et al. (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2011), 112–119 (117).
92. See Recreation of the Rose Theatre. For a case study coming out of this research, see Joanne Tompkins, “Making the Invisible Visible: Stage Props and Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus,” in Performing Objects and Theatrical Things, ed. Marlis Schweitzer and Joanne Zerdy (New York: Palgrave, 2014), 161–172.
93. Roger Clegg, Reconstructing the Rose: 3D Computer Modelling Philip Henslowe’s Playhouse (Santa Barbara, CA: EMC Imprint, 2019). See the appendix for a “fly-through” video of the model.
94. Jennifer Roberts-Smith et al., “SET Free: Breaking the Rules in a Processual, User-Generated, Digital Performance Edition of Richard the Third,” The Shakespearean International Yearbook 14 (2014): 69–99 (70).
95. For a reflection on the recent use of 3D models in theatre history research, see Gina Bloom, “Theater History in 3D: The Digital Early Modern in the Age of the Interface,” English Literary Renaissance 50, no. 1 (2020): 8–16.
96. Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History (London: Verso, 2005); Stephen Ramsay, Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2011); and Matthew Jockers, Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013).
97. For a more detailed discussion of computational studies of Shakespeare, see Brett Greatley-Hirsch, “Computational Studies,” in The Arden Research Handbook of Contemporary Shakespeare Criticism, ed. Evelyn Gajowski (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2020), 205–21.
98. For an accessible historical overview of authorship attribution and its methods, see Harold Love, Attributing Authorship: An Introduction (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002). On attribution studies of Shakespeare, see Gabriel Egan, “A History of Shakespearean Authorship Attribution,” in The New Oxford Shakespeare: Authorship Companion, ed. Gary Taylor and Gabriel Egan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 27–47; and Will Sharpe, “Authorship and Attribution,” in William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays, ed. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen (New York: Palgrave, 2013), 641–745.
99. That is, the computer-aided identification and study of linguistic patterns across texts not ordinarily visible to the eye of a human reader. See Hugh Craig and Arthur F. Kinney, eds., Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009), chaps. 3, 4, 5, 8.
100. Gary Taylor and Gabriel Egan, eds., The New Oxford Shakespeare: Authorship Companion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
101. Hugh Craig, “The Date of Sir Thomas More,” Shakespeare Survey 66 (2013): 38–54 (51).
102. Douglas Bruster and Geneviève Smith, “A New Chronology for Shakespeare’s Plays,” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 31, no. 2 (2016): 301–320.
103. Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore, “The Hundredth Psalm to the Tune of ‘Green Sleeves’: Digital Approaches to Shakespeare’s Language of Genre,” Shakespeare Quarterly 61, no. 3 (2010): 357–390; and Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore, “Quantification and the Language of Later Shakespeare,” Actes des Congrès de la Société Française Shakespeare 31 (2014): 123–149.
104. Jonathan Culpeper et al., “Measuring Emotional Temperatures in Shakespeare’s Drama,” English Text Construction 11, no. 1 (2018): 10–37.
105. Michael Witmore, Jonathan Hope, and Michael Gleicher, “Digital Approaches to the Language of Shakespearean Tragedy,” in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Tragedy, ed. Michael Neill and David Schalkwyk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 316–335.
106. Hugh Craig and Brett Greatley-Hirsch, Style, Computers, and Early Modern Drama: Beyond Authorship (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
107. Eric Rasmussen and Will Sharpe, “Digital Shakespeare,” in The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 92.