Spend Midsummer Online with The Royal Shakespeare Company

Oberon wakes Titania as Bottom sleeps in her bower and Lysander, Demetrius, Helena and Hermia sleep on their trapezes in Peter Brook’s 1970 Royal Shakespeare Co. production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at Stratford-on-Avon. Photo: Joe Cocks

This summer marks the 40th production of Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

To celebrate RSC has announced  “a ground breaking digital theatre project –Midsummer Night’s Dreaming – in partnership with Google Creative Lab.” 

Here is what’s going on:

Across Midsummer weekend (21 – 23 June) the play will be performed by an acting company in real time… culminating in a wedding, which you can attend.
Meanwhile, the story will be shared through photos, snippets and news stories online from the perspectives of some lesser known characters, as if it was happening in real life. After the event, we will release an audio recording of A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by the acting company, which will be annotated with content created by commissioned artists and audiences over the weekend and posted on Google+. 

 To stay plugged in and “be the first to hear updates as the story happens” you’ll need to join the Midsummer Night’s Dreaming Google+ community 

You are also encouraged to respond to the play. “You could invent a whole new character and play along for three whole days, or you could just write a newspaper headline. Or make a song, draw a comic, or bake cupcakes, or do a dance, or knit one of the characters a scarf. It is a world of opportunity.” 

And if that’s not enough to pique your interest then this trailer featuring  Billy Shakespeare and his pet pig Francis giving you their take on the plot just might.

Finally, here is a recent piece in The Guardian by Peter Brook as he looks back at his seminal 1970 RSC production.

Sticky fingers force Polish mobile library to go digital

The initial idea was simple:

Acknowledging  that Poland is not one of the “European nations which read a great deal” the mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz took part in a plan to outfit a fleet of 35 brand-new trams with books from local libraries in an effort to promote reading.

Special nets were placed on the back of the seats and librarians worked hard in selecting the 5000 books that would stock these new mobile libraries. The program launched in January of this year.

By April all 5,000 books had been stolen!

So, what next?

A digital approach.

Now all trams are replete with virtual shelves where traveler’s scan codes from the “book-spines” to read for free on their mobile device.

A Virtual Shelf

Perhaps the true solution lies somewhere in the middle. Let’s not make this an all or nothing proposition. 

What if the books were free and the rider’s could take them with them? Still a great way to promote reading and the physical book without straining library budgets through theft. Get the publisher’s involved, keep the librarians as curators and offer both physical and digital choice.

Gdansk turns trams into mobile libraries
Gdansk installs thief-proof e-books on trams