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Globe unveils Shakespeare on demand

The Bard could be set to reach a new audience thanks to digital technology, with Shakespeare's Globe releasing its plays on-demand.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors head to the Globe, the replica of Shakespeare's theatre on the south bank of the River Thames, to see the dramatist's plays performed in the open air.

Now viewers will be able to watch more than 50 Shakespeare productions either from the comfort of their living room on a desktop computer, or on a mobile or tablet while on the move.

Plays, including the hit production of Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry, will be available to rent or buy from the Globe Player.

The theatre said it is the first in the world to make its plays available as video-on-demand.

The Globe's artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, said: "The Globe is always looking for bold new ways to take Shakespeare out into the world and share his astonishing plays with as many people as possible.

"Globe Player will allow us to reach brand new audiences and to make access to our productions simple and seamless for anyone with the internet. We are delighted to be the first theatre with its own dedicated video-on-demand platform."

In recent years, theatres as well as opera and ballet companies have reached larger audiences by broadcasting their productions in cinemas live.

The open-air theatre runs productions from April to October. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a candle-lit, indoor recreation of a Jacobean theatre, opened earlier this year to allow productions to be staged on the Globe site throughout the year.

The Globe began filming its productions in 2009. Rentals cost up to £4 and the Globe is charging around £8 to buy a download.

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