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New app presents rare insider’s view of Festival

The Stratford Festival’s latest app, “Stratford Behind the Scenes,” is an interactive voyage through an entire season, revealing the secrets of theatrical production, demonstrating that the artistry that takes place behind the scenes is every bit as magical as the performance itself.

“Stratford Behind the Scenes” presents an insider’s view of theatre as it’s never been seen before. It takes users from concept through creation to performance, offering exclusive video and photos of performers, coaches, directors and artisans, captured in dressing rooms, rehearsal halls and workshops, which are generally closed to public view.

“Thousands of visitors flock to our backstage tours each year,” says Festival executive director Anita Gaffney. “With this app, we’re able to offer a new version of that experience to an even wider audience, adding voices and experiences that go further than physical tours allow and pulling back the curtain on areas that have been largely off-limits in the past.”

Features of the app include:
• Interviews on such topics as the role of the director, the fate of the understudy, the challenges of set building, and the intricacies of wig making.
• Hundreds of breath-taking photos of every aspect of the theatrical process, some revealing what the actors do backstage between scenes.
• Time-lapse video of the daily “changeover,” in which stage hands strike the set of one production and reconstruct another in a span of less than two hours.
• 360-degree views of props and costumes from our archival collection.
• A series of costume sketches accompanied by audio descriptions by the designer.
• Transformation slideshows of actors preparing for a role.
• 3D tours of set designs.
• 360-degree views of the theatres and dressing rooms.

“The Festival is earning a reputation for leadership in the digital realm,” says Gaffney. “The digital media channel allows us to share a slice of our work with people from around the world and helps us to connect with young audiences. This new app employs techniques that draw the user into the theatre experience, animating it in a new and innovative way.

“It serves as inspiration for follow-up projects including study guides for students and teachers, and digital versions of our promotional materials in the future. The possibilities are exciting to contemplate.”

Inspired by the 60th season book of the same name, the “Stratford Behind the Scenes” app was created by Stratford Festival Digital Media – Lisa Middleton, Marc Raffa, Jason Clarke and David Cook – with app design and development by Storycode Inc. Along with its wealth of interactive features, the app includes the entire content of the original book with text by Don Gillmor and photography by Erin Samuell.

The iPad app is now available for $9.99 through the App Store. A PlayBook version will be released soon.

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