2016 has been a rather difficult year for a number of reasons, so here’s hoping that 2017 is a lot better, and so I want to wish you all a Happy New Year.
For Players-Shakespeare.com, it’s a year since we launched our Internet-based play-reading service, and we’ve learnt a lot about how to use it, and so, a year later, we’re enhancing the service:
- As well as reading the plays online at Players-Shakespeare.com, you can now download them as epubs to read them on Apple (iPhones, iPads, MacIntosh running iBooks); Android (phones and tablets using Google Play Books); Amazon (Kindle Fire using its AZW3 e-reader); Windows Laptops (using Icecream e-book reader); and even print them out on paper. The software for all these environments are free and support our Highlit Text format. No doubt there are many other environments that work. If in doubt, try it out.
- In a playreading, you can mix different play-reading methods. For good response times, it’s good if not everyone is using the Internet.
- Eighteen of the most popular Shakespeare plays are now online, and we’ve introduced a standardised index which contains: Introduction to the play; Cast List; Script (for Round-robin readings); Castings for different no. of Players (usually 6 – 12), plus the Original Casting; Let’s Play scenes for less players (usually 1 -5); Articles about the Play; DVDs and Streaming productions of the play. Three plays already have that index: All’s Well That Ends Well; Hamlet; and The Merry Wives of Windsor. We hope to add a similar index to the other plays – 1 or 2 a month.
- The big challenge for us in 2017 is to get a few other play reading groups to use our versions of the texts. We’re particularly keen on encouraging playreading groups in the Scottish Central Belt and Borders to use the system, because we can offer better support to them to make sure things work. We’ve discovered that the best playreading group size for us is around 6 – 8 players, so we’ve had to cut back on the number of people coming to our playreadings. We’re sure there are enough players out there to start more play-reading groups, and we’d be more than pleased to help them get started. If you are interested, please let me know, and we’ll see how we can help.
Whatever your involvement with Shakespeare, and theatre more generally, we wish you well, and….