Remixing the classics: digital adaptation and the literary and dramatic canon

What does the adaptation of literary and dramatic classics look like in a digital age?

This research network seeks to understand how digital technologies can be used to engage twenty-first-century audiences in the experience of classic literature and drama, while also creating new works of art in their own right. How might mixed and virtual realities, immersive and multimedia environments, videogames, and creative applications of social media rewrite canonical texts in ways that are provocative and illuminating, but potentially also reductive and limiting?


Remixing the Classics brings together academic, creative, and educational practitioners interested in digital adaptations of classic literature and drama across a wide range of historical time periods, authors, and genres. Through a series of online seminars, a hybrid workshop in Birmingham, and a final online conference network members will:

  • Demonstrate how different digital technologies including videogames and VR, social media and transmedia storytelling, and mixed reality experiences can be used to reimagine classical source material.
  • Identify the artistic, political, reputational, and financial factors that shape the creation and commissioning of digital reworkings of canonical texts.
  • Outline the benefits and challenges of using these adaptations when teaching literature, drama, and literacy in the classroom.

All network events are free and open to the public, and teachers and creative practitioners are especially encouraged to join in. Together, participants will investigate the network's central research question: 

What do new digital technologies bring – artistically, pedagogically, politically – to the re-telling of old stories?

Network members


Founding members


Events and recordings

Online seminars (PDF Flyer)

  • 30 March 2022 – 'Videogames and Virtual Worlds', featuring Andrew Burn (UCL), Rebecca Bushnell (UPenn), and E. B. Hunter (Wash U. in St Louis)

  • 20 April 2022 – 'Accessing Digital Adaptations - Perspectives on Inclusion', featuring Jill Bradbury (RIT), Amrita Sen (Univ. Calcutta), and Stefan Kucharczyk (ARTiculate Education) 

  • 9 May 2022 – 'Social Media and Everyday Creativity', featuring David McInnis (Melbourne), Kate Faber Oestreich (Coastal Carolina), and Brooke Viegut (Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre) 

  • 26 May 2022 'Publishing, Programming, and Preserving Digital Adaptations', featuring Margaret Bartley (Bloomsbury), Fiona Morris (The Space), and Stella Wisdom (British Library) 

  • 20 June 2022 – 'Mixed Realities and Intermedia', featuring Lucy Askew (Creation Theatre), Emma Cole (Bristol), and Kate Pullinger (Bath Spa)

Cross-professional workshop 

  • 15 July 2022 - 'Remixing the Classics cross-professional workshop' at The Exchange in Birmingham, UK, and streamed live online, featuring Deborah Cartmell (De Montfort), Vicki Edmunds (Chipping Campden School), Sarah Ellis (Royal Shakespeare Company), Lara Ratnaraja (Arts Consultancy), and Erin Sullivan (Birmingham). Below you can find a recording of one of the sessions from this hybrid event.
  • 'Remixing the Classics Teaching Roundtable', featuring Vicki Edmunds (Chipping Camden School), Stefan Kucharczyk (ARTiculate Education), Cassie Martin (Kings School), Farida Mili (Tudor Grange Academy) and Andrea Moon (Cotswold School).

Online conference

  • 9 August 2022 – Together with the Association of Adaptation Studies, we hosted a free, one-day, online conference on digital adaptations of classic literature and drama. Selected papers from this conference and other network events will be published as part of a special issue of the journal Adaptation in 2023

Call for papers (archived)

Call for Papers (PDF Flyer)

Remixing the Classics: Digital Adaptation and the Literary and Dramatic Canon

A free, online conference on Tuesday 9 August 2022

Sponsored by the Association of Adaptation Studies and the Remixing the Classics Research Network

What does the adaptation of literary and dramatic classics look like in an increasingly digital age? How might mixed and virtual realities, immersive and multimedia environments, videogames and creative applications of social media rewrite canonical texts in ways that are provocative and illuminating, but potentially also reductive and limiting? We are seeking contributions for a one-day, online, free conference on digital adaptations of canonical texts, and a follow-on special issue of the journal Adaptation exploring this subject matter.

When Linda Hutcheon published the second edition of A Theory of Adaptation in 2012, she began by considering the rise of digital media since the book’s original debut. Was the resulting ‘shift’ in adaptation practices—characterised by a proliferation of platforms, more involvement from fan communities, new creative forms and greater slippage between creation and reception—‘one of degree or, more radically, of kind’? In the book’s epilogue, Siobhan O’Flynn outlined some of the effects of ‘the social web’ on transmedia storytelling, but both noted that there was still much research to be done in this rapidly evolving field.

A decade later, further scholarly work on digital adaptations of classic texts has appeared, though much of it has focused on specific authors or texts. Such research has highlighted how digital adaptations blur the lines between authors/performers and readers/audiences, extend the literal and figurative space of the book/stage, and provoke debates about what constitutes a thoughtful, engaging, significant—in a word, ‘good’—adaptation of a classic text. This conference and special issue aim to bring such work together, and to explore digital adaptation as a phenomenon across authors, time periods, genres, and disciplines.

Papers from theoretical, practice-based, and pedagogical perspectives are all welcome, and questions for discussion might include:

  • What do new digital technologies bring—artistically, pedagogically, politically—to the re-telling of old stories?
  • What kinds of knowledge and access can digital adaptations open up for audiences, and what sorts of engagement might they inhibit?
  • To what extent do digital adaptations reinforce the hegemony of existing literary and dramatic canons, and to what extent do they destabilise them?
  • What impact do the interactive capabilities of many digital technologies have on the way audiences engage with canonical texts, and how does this relate to other work understood as transmedia?
  • What are the ethical implications of digital adaptations that elicit or make use of audiences’ biofeedback or other forms of embodied identity?
  • How might digital adaptations aid in the teaching of classic texts and how might they disrupt or hinder it?
  • How does the digital divide and unequal global access affect the creation and distribution of digital adaptations, and how can such issues be addressed?
  • What are the challenges facing both creators and audiences when it comes to realising the creative, experiential and educational potential of digital adaptations?
  • To what extent can digital adaptations be considered a cohesive genre, and to what extent do the differences between digital technologies mean that we must examine them separately?

Please submit abstracts (up to 200 words) for 15-minute papers to Erin Sullivan ( and Deborah Cartmell ( by 1 June 2022.

Papers from the conference will be considered for a special issue of Adaptation.   



Fact sheets 

Following our networking events we created one-page fact sheets summarising our members' advice for creative practitioners and teachers interested in working with digital adaptations of classic texts. In addition to this, we used feedback from audiences at our events to offer recommedations to other people interested in using videoconferencing to facilitate research exchange. Click on the links below to access these guides.

Special issue

We are currently editing a special issue of the journal Adaptation that explores digital adaptations of the classics, due out in 2023.