Simon & Schuster Releases New Interactive Shakespeare App

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Simon & Schuster is thrilled to share that Folger Shakespeare Library and Luminary Digital Media have recently launched an interactive app that will forever change the way people—particularly students and teachers—read, learn, and study Shakespeare in the 21st Century. In the last few years, over 4 million iPads were purchased by school districts in the U.S.; as of today, 2 million are already in use. The Folger Luminary Shakespeare app, which is built on Luminary’s social reading platform, is aimed at those who have introduced iOS mobile devices, like iPads, into the classroom.

You can watch a video of how to use the app HERE. Othello, Macbeth, and Romeo & Juliet are currently available for purchase in the Apple iTunes store. If you are interested in a complimentary review copy of any of these three plays, to be downloaded with a code, please let me know. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be released later this year, with more of Shakespeare’s plays to follow.

The following features make the Folger Luminary Shakespeare app different from other Shakespeare apps, and have paved the way for the app to become the leading tool for readers and teachers of Shakespeare moving forward:
· tHE gOLD STANDARD TEXT. The app uses the richly annotated Folger Shakespeare editions texts that are familiar to generations of teachers and readers.
· AUDIO PERFORMACES BY professional Shakespearean actors. Readers can listen to full-length audio performances, commissioned specially by the Folger Shakespeare Theatre and performed by leading Shakespearean actors, as the play text scrolls alongside. Additional audio takes provide alternative performances of key passages.
· EXPERT COMMENTARY ON key passages. Short, lively, accessible commentaries on key moments in the play, written by the world’s leading Shakespeare scholars and performers, enhance the reading experience and provide a deeper understanding of key passages.
· USER-FRIENDLY PLATFORM GEARED TOWARD SHARING THOUGHTS AND ASKING QUESTIONs. Users can take notes and ask questions, and share them immediately, to fuel discussion. Users can also publish their own private commentaries within the app.
· IMAGERY, VIDEOS, AND MULTIMEDIA. The app includes richly annotated image galleries, videos, and multimedia learning tools that enhance the reading experience.

From solitary reading to generative thinking, from the classroom to the theater, the Folger Luminary Shakespeare app offers a dynamic experience to enhance our pleasure and understanding of Shakespeare’s extraordinary works.

The creators of the app and Luminary Digital Media co-founders Katherine Rowe and Elliott Visconsi, and Michael Witmore and Peggy O’Brien, both of Folger Shakespeare Library, are all available for comment. You can find their bios below my signature, alongside a select list of reviews of the app from teachers and professors across the country, following a test run of The Tempest.

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