Shakespeare and digital performance

This long-term research project, led by Dr Erin Sullivan, explores the impact that digital technology is having on the performance of Shakespeare in the twenty-first century.

Primary focuses include the rise of theatre live broadcasting and online streaming; the increasing incorporation of digital technology into stage performance through the use of dynamic projections and live video feeds; and the movement of the stage into the digital sphere through social media adaptation.

Digital Shakespeares screenshotThis research will eventually culminate in a monograph by Dr Sullivan for Palgrave’s Shakespeare in Practice series. She has blogged about her work at, and a series of articles and essays on broadcasting, audience live-tweeting, and social media adaptation have also been published. In 2017, Dr Sullivan took up a short-term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library to develop this project.

Shakespeare Institute and University of Birmingham students were involved through a postgraduate research assistantship in 2015 and an undergraduate research scholarship in 2016, as well as a public talk on digital creativity at the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of the University of Birmingham’s Beyond the Book Festival. Currently an M3C funded PhD student is working on the live broadcast side of the project.

A Shakespeare Institute Library exhibit on the subject took place in 2017, as well as an event related to the British Library and National Videogame Arcade’s ‘Shakespeare Off the Map’ game-design competition, for which Dr Sullivan was a judge. She is also a board member for The Other Way Works, a Birmingham-based theatre company in Birmingham that uses digital technology to create immersive experiences.