Shakespeare xR


Published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the First Folio includes 36 of Shakespeare’s 38 known plays. The texts, edited by Shakespeare’s close friends, fellow writers and actors, are considered the most authoritative of all early printings. The First Folio, formerly owned by a private collector in the US, was purchased through Christie’s New York with funding provided by a consortium of donors from across North America and with the generous support of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Named for the large and luxurious format in which it was printed, the First Folio is an extremely rare book. Most of the 235 copies of the First Folio that remain around the world are either in the United Kingdom or the United States, and on the west coast there are only nine copies in public collections – all in California. This cultural treasure is only the second copy in Canada. UBC Library has made its first edition of William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies openly accessible to the public by publishing a digitized version of the volume online through Open Collections.


The Shakespeare xR project reimagines some of Shakespeare’s classic characters taken from Shakespeare’s First Folio across different technological media. Its purpose is to create proof of concept projects as part of Dr. Patrick Parra Pennefather’s research into lesser known Shakespeare characters, and to pursue future funding opportunities. The project pipelines will include rigging and animating characters for web-based AR, VR and an interactive touch table using Unreal Engine’s Metahumans. To support the project, the following features of the parallel pipelines would have already been created: 1) motion captured characters speaking parts of the text; 2) access to 2D scanned pages of the Shakespeare Folio for integration into an interactive touch table; 2) a 3D environment in VR consisting of the Globe Theatre. Target audiences are library goers and those unable to access the Shakespeare First Folio. It’s also for those individuals who may not be into Shakespeare or experiencing Shakespeare though a live staging or film.

The Team

Principal Investigator(s)

    PI: Dr. Patrick Parra Pennefather, Professor, UBC Theatre and Film

Student Team

  • Olivia How, Project Lead, Developer (May 2023 – August 2023)
  • Jiho Kim, Volunteer (May 2023 – August 2023)