University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
The Shakespeare at Play company shines a spotlight on Hamlet
Photo by Yale Massey

The Play’s the Thing

A PhD student hopes video will spice up Shakespeare for high school readers

The eBard of Avon? Absolutely, thanks to a project just launched by PhD candidate Noam Lior (BA 2005 Woodsworth, MA 2009) and alumni partners. Lior met business associate Tim Chisholm when they were both drama undergrads at University College; years later they’ve teamed up to create ebook versions of Shakespeare’s plays that integrate video with the text. Not merely clips, but full-length performances of every scene. The reader can use a split-screen view to follow both performance and written play simultaneously; icons link to audio synopses or character lists while embedded notes explore staging tips or recurring themes. A free smartphone app offers the text alone.

“Each play was made to live on its feet, in a live performance,” explains Lior, who is writing his dissertation on editing Shakespeare. The partners hired actors, including Daina Valiulis (BA 2005 UC) and Trevor Jablonowski (BA 2007 Woodsworth) who later joined the team as co-producers. Their intended audience is high-school students, so of course their first three projects, available now at shakespeareatplay.ca, were Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet. Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are up next.

Watch a demo of the Shakespeare At Play app:


Video by Tim Chisholm

Recent Posts

Photo of front campus field and Convocation Hall with flower emoji illustrations floating above

Clearing the Air

U of T wants to drastically cut carbon emissions by 2050. It’s enlisting on-campus ingenuity for help

Abstract illustration showing a red-coloured body and face, with small black and white pieces flowing from inside body out of the mouth, and the U.S. Capitol Building dangling on puppet strings from one hand

The Extremism Machine

Online disinformation poses a danger to society. Researchers at U of T’s Citizen Lab are tracking it – and trying to figure out how to stop it

Prof. Mark V. Campbell with a beige background and red lighting

Charting Hip Hop’s Course

Professor Mark V. Campbell grew up during the early years of rap music. Now, he is helping preserve Canadian hip-hop culture for future generations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *