Shakespeare goes high tech to transport visitors back in time - The Stratford Observer
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8th Aug, 2022

Shakespeare goes high tech to transport visitors back in time

SHAKESPEARE is moving into the 21st century.

A new project will allow visitors to see virtually inside Shakespeare’s New Place – 260 years after the Bard’s last Stratford home was demolished.

Visitors will use a coin and contactless card operated viewfinder, which combines Augmented Reality – which takes in real life objects and enhances them – and virtual reality, to recreate the house against the live backdrop of the site as it is today. They will then be invited inside by a servant to have a 180-degree look around the courtyard, hall and long gallery.

Shakespeare bought New Place in 1597 and it remained in his family’s ownership until the death of his granddaughter, Elizabeth Barnard, in 1670. The house was then extensively remodelled and eventually demolished in 1759.

The Extended Reality (XR) project has been developed in collaboration with artificial intelligence and immersive technology specialists AiSolve and Coventry University’s Centre for Postdigital Cultures and is the first of a series of digital experiments at the homes.

Trust spokesman Paul Taylor said: “Shakespeare XR presents two firsts for us: it gives our visitors the chance to virtually step inside Shakespeare’s New Place for the first time since it was demolished in 1759, and is the first digital visitor experience that is specific to one of our heritage sites. This is the start of the next phase of our digital journey as we get to work with a range of creative practitioners to explore different ways of sharing Shakespeare with the world, using all forms of digital technology.”

* A MUSICAL midwinter camp is set to take visitors to Shakespeare’s New Place back in time.

The Festival of Lost and Found is a theatrical experience from Coventry-based group Talking Birds, running from December 11 to 15.

Hosting is the great-great-great grand-daughter of 18th century actor David Garrick, who needs help to realise her dream of finally hosting the grand pageant cancelled during her ancestor’s Shakespeare Jubilee of 1769 because of heavy rain.

Visitors are taken around the camp as they hunt for clues to find the missing poem that will be the centrepiece of her dream show.

Performances take place at 6pm with 4pm matinees on December 13 and 14. There will be a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter at the 6pm show on December 14.

Tickets are £12 (£8 children).

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