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New app brings Shakespeare and his home to life
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust launches global challenge to snap Shakespeare around the world.
Actress Anne Hathaway strikes a pose with Shakespeare on the red carpet.
22 July 2013
A cutting edge Augmented Reality app has been released that lets users bring Shakespeare to life and pose with the playwright himself to create a personalised souvenir picture. The latest version of the free Eye Shakespeare app also allows users to view a 3D reconstruction of Shakespeare’s final home in Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time.
The Eye Shakespeare app is the result of a pioneering partnership between leading serious games provider, Serious Games International, Hewlett Packard and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the charity responsible for conserving Shakespeare’s legacy in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promoting the enjoyment of his works, life and times all over the world. The developers say the app is at the forefront of a revolution in the way that tourists can interact with destinations.
Free to download from iTunes, Eye Shakespeare is designed to enhance the experience of tourists visiting Stratford-upon-Avon. Visitors can use the app in seven different languages to explore Stratford-upon-Avon, taking in key sites including the five Shakespeare Houses and five centuries of local history. Now, with the latest version, users can bring Shakespeare into the scene, and pose with him to capture photos of themselves with the world’s greatest writer in his home town. The resulting souvenir pictures can be digitally printed at the Shakespeare Birthplace Gift Shop. It is the first time this form of technology has been available from a mobile device.
To celebrate the launch of the augmented reality Eye Shakespeare app, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is challenging photographers worldwide to capture pictures of Shakespeare in unusual locations from the Taj Mahal to the Pyramids. For two weeks, from 16-30 August, users of the app will be able to picture Shakespeare in any location they choose and send them to the Trust’s online gallery. David Hopes, Research Fellow and co-ordinator of the Eye Shakespeare project for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said, “Shakespeare is known and performed throughout the world, so we want to see how far he travels with this new technology.” For information on how to take part in the Shakespeare Snap global challenge go to http://findingshakespeare.co.uk/category/eyeshakespeare.
The app also lets users point their smart phone at the site of Shakespeare’s grand home, New Place, to see how it might have looked when Shakespeare lived and worked there while at the height of his powers. The house itself was demolished in 1702, but the app combines cutting edge technology with the latest historical research to conjure up a 3D rendering which can be viewed from different angles as users walk around the site. Dr Tara Hamling, an Historian and Senior Lecturer at the Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham) and advisor to the Eye Shakespeare project said, “One of the particular challenges of rendering New Place in 3D was that mapping the single extant sketch of what Shakespeare’s house might have looked like onto the physical properties of the site changed the proportions and overall visual impression of the building. While the fabric of the building is lost, experiencing this virtual model on its original footings evokes the scale and grandeur of Shakespeare’s impressive home and allows us to imagine how it might have felt to knock on his front door.”
Eye Shakespeare also incorporates hundreds of digital images of seldom seen treasures from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s archives, including original copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio and the last surviving letter written to him.
Dr Diana Owen, Director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with innovative technology partners like SGI and HP to develop creative new ways for people to connect with Shakespeare’s story here in Stratford-upon-Avon and all around the world. Augmented reality offers exciting opportunities for heritage attractions to give visitors a unique, personalised and truly memorable experience. Eye Shakespeare puts us in the vanguard of tourism, and most importantly gives us another tool to improve access to our wonderful Shakespearian heritage to all.”
Tim Luft, Managing Director, Serious Games International said, “This app revolutionises the way tourists and residents interact with their destination. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has embraced cutting edge technology to create a real wow for visitors which will certainly add value to Stratford-upon-Avon’s tourism offering.”
Key features of the Eye Shakespeare app:
- Compatible with iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices
- 13 historic sites, over 200 treasures and 3 character tour guides available within app
- Available in 7 different languages (English, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Italian)
- 3D reconstruction of New Place
- Create personalised souvenir with William Shakespeare
- Book tickets for events and buy gifts
For further information, media interviews please contact:
Serious Games International: Mick McLaughlin, Marketing Manager, Tel 024 76 15 8224
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: Lynn Beddoe, PR & Public Affairs Manager, Tel 01789 207134
Notes to editors:
Shakespeare shares the red carpet with Anne Hathaway
Shakespeare on holiday at Taj Mahal
A video demonstration of the app can be seen here http://youtu.be/CqJt2ozJ3Q4
About Serious Games International:
Serious Games International uses video games, science and technology to create engagement and solve business problems. Its uniqueness lies in that it harnesses heavyweight games industry experience alongside senior academics to create world class solutions in games based learning, virtual environments, 3D computer generated avatars, augmented reality tourism apps and tailored solutions.
About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the charity which promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s life, works and times.It is the guardian of the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites, comprising Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Nash’s House & New Place, Hall’s Croft, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm. At the heart of all things ‘Shakespeare’, the Trust is not only at the forefront of academic learning, but also an iconic destination in the UK and the cornerstone of the Stratford-upon-Avon region’s identity and tourism economy.