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High tech guide helps new generations explore Shakespeare's church

Posted on 19 April 2012

Visitors and pilgrims can explore Shakespeare’s church in new and exciting ways thanks to an innovative mobile phone app created for Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon by the University of York.

Screenshot from the Shakespeare's Church phone app showing Shakespeare's memorial

The ground-breaking smartphone app guide will be launched on 26 April, during the week of Shakespeare's birthday and as the World Shakespeare Festival begins. The launch will take place in Holy Trinity Church during an evening of readings by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion which forms part of the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival.

Over 200,000 people a year visit Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was both baptised and buried. Thanks to a partnership between Holy Trinity and the University of York’s Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, visitors can now engage with the church in new ways and learn about the unique features and stories the building has to offer.

Designed to encourage visitors, especially young people, to explore the church in greater depth, the app features include: three interactive panoramas of the church interior with touchable hotspots containing further information; three guided trails focussing on Shakespeare’s church, pilgrimage, and highlights and hidden treasures; and a 3D model of the church taking the viewer through nine centuries of development.

The new app brings the fascinating features and rich history of Shakespeare’s church to life, opening up so much more of the story and context of England’s greatest writer

Dr Dee Dyas

Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate and a patron of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at York describes the app as: “A wonderful new way for new generations to understand more about literature, history, and the stories which have shaped our culture – and what better place to start than in Shakespeare’s own church?"

The Revd Martin Gorick, Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, said: “Holy Trinity has a wonderfully deep history and remains a vibrant place of worship. Now there is a new way for visitors and pilgrims to connect with this holy place, encouraging people to explore the distant past and the living present, discovering the hidden treasures of Shakespeare’s church.”

Dr Dee Dyas, Director of the University of York’s Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, said: “It is essential that we find fresh ways to help people of all ages and backgrounds engage with historic churches and give them the tools they need to do so. The new app brings the fascinating features and rich history of Shakespeare’s church to life, opening up so much more of the story and context of England’s greatest writer.”

The new app was trialled over the winter and proved extremely popular with visitors of all ages and from countries across the world. Its success has prompted other churches and cathedrals across the country to ask York’s Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture to develop similar applications for them.

A second app will be launched at Coventry Cathedral in late May as part of the Cathedral’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.  As well as interactive panoramas, the app will offer three trails: a journey through the story of the three cathedrals which have stood on the site; an exploration of the unique architecture of the modern cathedral and the stories of the many spectacular works of art it contains; and a pilgrimage bringing to life the meaning of the soaring architecture, the stunning stained glass, and the many evocative spaces, stories and symbols.    

The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture is also working with Norwich and Ripon Cathedrals and a dozen churches across York to develop similar apps.

The Shakespeare’s church app is available for both Apple iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad, and Android devices. Search for ‘Shakespeare’s Church’ in Google Play and the Apple Appstore.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322029

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