the power of audio drama to teach, to learn, to enjoy

Shakespeare Appreciated

Shakespeare Appreciated is the first range of audio entertainments from SmartPass, created for anyone who wants to understand just what all the fuss is about. So if school turned you off Shakespeare, then find out what you’ve been missing all these years with our beautifully crafted audio, featuring actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the BBC radio repertory, as well as especially composed music.

Presented as unabridged drama, the play is brought alive through full-cast performance and entertaining commentary that explains who’s who, and what’s going on as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the commentary offers historical insights and background information, so you enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare’s world. Not only will you understand the language, themes, and power of the Bard – possibly for the first time – but you’ll also be able to amaze your friends with your cultural knowledge!

Each title includes two versions of the play, giving you the opportunity to listen with or without commentary.

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Hamlet by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

Shakespeare’s innovation, ingenuity and insight into the human condition have set him apart from other writers for centuries, and Hamlet is undoubtedly his greatest masterpiece. Powerful drama presents the moral and psychological dilemma our hero faces, as the intellectual prince Hamlet is at war with himself. Insightful commentary reveals the poignancy of the play’s father-son relationship, as at the time of writing, Shakespeare was mourning the loss of his own son, Hamnet, and feared that his aged father was not long for this world.

MP3-CD, 11 hours 28 minutes, £24.99
10 CDs, 11 hours 28 minutes, £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

As co-owner of the Globe, Shakespeare had risen from the ranks of writer and jobbing actor to become an impresario. London’s newest theatre needed a brand new play and the tragedy of Julius Caesar delivered just what audiences relished ­ spectacular action and stunning drama. Shakespeare doesn’t simply retell the story of a great ruler’s assassination, but intimately examines the events leading up to the act and its impact and repercussions on Roman society. Appreciate this revolutionary piece of writing about the power of the state and what it will do to protect itself. Judge for yourself whether Caesar’s assassins are freedom fighters or terrorists?

MP3-CD, 7 hours, £24.99
6 CDs, 7 hours, £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

King Lear by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

Too dark, too cruel, too violent. Experience Shakespeare’s original King Lear, powerfully performed with insightful commentary, and judge for yourself whether his almost apocalyptic vision should have been kept off the stage for more than 300 years. As an aged leader underestimates the impact of retiring, dividing his kingdom, and passing the reins of power to the next generation, Shakespeare shows us a world on the brink. As wisdom and age are replaced by ambition and youth, we see the former king in free-fall, dropping through the social order, estranged from his family, fighting to retain his identity and sanity.

MP3-CD, 9 hours 40 minutes. £24.99
9 CDs, 9 hours 40 minutes. £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

Othello by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

Racism, sexism, ageism, murder, and the greatest villain of world literature. The tension of Othello will leave you speechless, while the true story of the Moors’ experience of early 17th century London, may make you see England and Shakespeare in a new light. Arguably the greatest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Othello is a nail-biting tour-de-force that has shocked audiences for 400 years. Proof positive that Shakespeare’s writing is still relevant, as modern audiences draw parallels with the Christian Muslim situation today.

MP3-CD, 11 hours. £24.99
10 CDs, 11 hours. £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

Discover not only the timeless beauty of Shakespeare’s first tragic masterpiece, but uncover his own story of love and loss as we delve into the worlds of Romeo and Juliet, and the man behind it. Journey back to London in 1591, gripped by plague, and experience the society in which William Shakespeare lives and writes. Our full-cast unabridged production – winner of the bronze award for Best Drama, Spoken Word Awards 2004 in the format of a study guide – will leave you spell-bound while our all-new commentary will make everything clear.

MP3-CD, 8 hours. £24.99
7 CDs, 8 hours. £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

How did Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up parliament lead to the writing of Macbeth? How did the King’s trials and executions of witches influence the writing of Macbeth? Could this masterpiece have been written in only 10 days? Our guided production of Macbeth brings Shakespeare’s bizarre tragedy of supernatural omens, murders and ghosts alive through powerful performance and insightful commentary that answers all your questions, and more.

MP3-CD, 7 hours. £24.99
6 CDs, 7 hours. £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

The granddaddy of all black comedies is presented as full-cast drama with guided commentary that illuminates Shakespeare’s world. In a period of personal mourning, we shed light on how he created a topsy-turvy world of comic sadness and melancholy humour. With the background in place and the finer points of the language explained, Shakespeare’s vision is fully realised so that his comedy can be whole-heartedly enjoyed. So, if you’ve ever wondered how 400 year old jokes can be funny – this is a must!

MP3-CD, 7 hours. £24.99
6 CDs, 7 hours. £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

Henry V by William Shakespeare (unabridged)

Shakespeare’s greatest history play is alive today, because the subject of war is as relevant in the modern world as it was during the time of King Henry V. With religious and political intrigue and plotting, Henry V is possibly the greatest artistic comment ever created about war. With a powerful full-cast unabridged production – winner of two silver Spoken Word Awards, 2005, for Best Original Audio and Publishing Initiative, in the format of a study guide – our commentary offers historical and social perspective, while looking at the morals and ethics of war.

MP3-CD, 9 hours 25 minutes. £24.99
8 CDs, 9 hours 25 minutes. £29.99

Buy on CD or MP3-CD

Listen live | download (4.4 MB)

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