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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, 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

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