First-Ever Interactive Shakespeare Web Site Introduced at Holy Cross

WORCESTER, Mass. – The theatre department at Holy Cross has launched a revolutionary Shakespearean Web site, created in collaboration with English and theatre professors from around the country, under the supervision of Associate Professor Edward Isser, a member of the Holy Cross theatre department.

This prototype site ( is the first-ever Shakespearean teaching resource on the Internet to combine text, video, audio, and graphics to create an intuitive, interactive, and fun-filled learning environment for secondary school and college students.

Isser began to work on this project three years ago after participating as a fellow in a humanities institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  This fellowship, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, brought together 16 English and theater professors from around the country to develop new methodologies for teaching Shakespeare through performance techniques and technology.

The Interactive Shakespeare Project went online unofficially six weeks ago with its first project, Measure for Measure.  This play was chosen because it has emerged in recent years as one of Shakespeare's most popular and readily accessible works.  In 2000, a study guide for All's Well That Ends Well will be added.

"An initiative like this could only be pursued at a place like Holy Cross.  At a big university, good ideas and promising ventures get lost in the shuffle, get sent to endless committees, or put back at the end of the line.  At Holy Cross, there is a kind of intimacy, energy and institutional excitement about deserving projects that allows and encourages such work," says Isser.

Later in 1999, an interactive Globe Theatre, developed by Associate Professor William Rynders of Holy Cross, will be posted.  Using VRML technology, the Virtual Globe will allow complete freedom of movement, enabling users to explore the outside and inside of the structure.  Using the program, visitors will be able to stop at different locations as well as to direct a virtual play, revolutionizing the teaching of literature and theatre.