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

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Let SmartPass be your Guide

‘Innovative, instructive and inspiring...
lit crit to ensure A-stars all round.’
The Guardian

‘SmartPass is the first–rate teacher everyone deserves.’
The Independent

Imagine reading the novel, play or poetry you’re studying with a teacher whispering in your ear. Then imagine its cast of characters speaking aloud, as the text becomes a lavish audio drama. Luckily, you don’t need to imagine as SmartPass has made it a reality!

Combining full-cast audio drama with expert commentary and analysis, SmartPass audio education study guides open up the world of English Literature, exploring and explaining everything a student needs to know to achieve their potential, whatever that may be.

For around the price of an hour’s private tuition our friendly and conversational commentary – presented by Joan Walker
in the role of the PassMaster – not only demonstrates critical thinking skills but dives into the plot, the themes and characters, as well as the social and historical worlds of a text and its author, making it more real, more relevant, and more enjoyable. And it’s our hope that through this greater understanding and appreciation of studied texts that today’s students will become tomorrow’s experts and enthusiasts, as they continue to embrace and enjoy great literature.

Ideal for revision and independent study, SmartPass guides encourage listeners to take control of their learning, moving at the pace they need to, recapping and re-listening when they want to, pausing the guide to make notes, take breaks, or carry out suggested tasks.

In sharing their SmartPass experiences with us, parents, homeschoolers, teachers and students have highlighted their usefulness:

  • For accelerated learners – as the tasks can be as challenging as they want to make them; and our nuts-and-bolts approach to essay writing allows high flyers to excel.
  • For students who may have missed out on school or dropped back in class – as a catch-up tool they can move at a pace they’re comfortable with, and concentrate on tasks to build their confidence.
  • For auditory learners.
  • For students with a visual impairment or, for whatever reason, cannot access conventional reading materials.
  • For families to listen and learn together.


All titles are available as SmartPass Audible downloads. Audio CD sets are available to customers in the UK. Guided plays and poetry are presented unabridged, while novels are brought to life through dramatised key scenes that not only tell the story but read between the lines.

SmartPass Plus

All unabridged play titles are available as SmartPass Plus Audible downloads. This edition includes everything the SmartPass guide has to offer, plus the play without commentary.

The MP3 CD-Rom (available to customers in the UK) also includes the play without commentary and bonus PDF read-along scripts.

‘Clear and lively... a stimulating study aid.’
Sunday Times

‘A brilliant way to revise.’
The Daily Express

‘Audio guides offer unique access and insight into great literature. Each is a vivid walk through the imagery, themes and background.’

‘High quality and extremely good value. These guides would enthuse and actively involve students of all abilities.’

A Kestrel for a Knave
by Barry Hines

Experience the gritty realism of Billy Casper’s world as he fights to escape the confines of life in a 1960s Yorkshire mining town by training and flying a hawk. ‘You’ll not catch me! You’ll never catch me.’

3 CDs £19.99 2 hours 55 minutes

An Inspector Calls (unabridged)
by J B Priestley

Peel away the layers of Priestley’s complex drama to appreciate this powerful warning play, wrapped up in the genre of a gripping detective story, to truly understand that ‘We don’t live alone. We are members of one body.’

4 CDs £19.99 4 hours 20 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 8 hours

Animal Farm
by George Orwell

Orwell’s political fable is told from the viewpoint of its key characters – the animals – who are quizzed and questioned about how ‘some animals are more equal than others’ in this vibrant guided drama.

3 CDs £19.99 3 hours 20 minutes

Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens

Dickens’ tale of Pip, a young man ‘removed from his present sphere of life’ and cast into a Victorian nightmare, is a powerful audio drama to be enjoyed and appreciated as an important piece of social criticism.

3 CDs £19.99 3 hours

Hamlet (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’ Discover why generations of actors dream of playing Hamlet, the intellectual prince at war with himself, in this powerful tragedy of revenge, remorse, madness and murder.

6 CDs £19.99 7 hours 54 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 12 hours 11 minutes

Henry V (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

Examine and appreciate the powerful language of leadership in this guided history play, considered to be Shakespeare’s greatest creative statement about war. Winner of two silver Spoken Word Awards for Best Original Audio and Publishing Initiative.

5 CDs £19.99 6 hours 15 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 9 hours 50 minutes

Julius Caesar (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

The real Julius Caesar famously said ‘experience is the teacher of all things.’ Experience Shakespeare’s masterful moral drama with teaching notes to consider whether his assassins were freedom fighters or cold-blooded killers – a question as pertinent in today’s world as in ancient Rome.

4 CDs £19.99 5 hours 15 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 7 hours 50 minutes

King Lear (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

Judge for yourself whether Lear is ‘a man more sinned against than sinning’ in this moral tale that pits wisdom and age against ambition and youth. Experience and examine the power of Shakespeare’s most cruel and violent tragedy.

6 CDs £19.99 7 hours 55 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 11 hours 40 minutes

Macbeth (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

‘And nothing is, but what is not.’ Macbeth may be mystified by the Weird Sisters’ words but this intense performance with incisive commentary cuts to the heart of Shakespeare’s complex psychological tragedy.

4 CDs £19.99 4 hours 30 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 7 hours

Othello (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

Meet literature’s greatest villain in this tragedy fueled by jealous rage. Journey into the twisted mind of Iago, who freely admits ‘I am not what I am’, to truly get under the skin of this wondrous play.

6 CDs £19.99 7 hours 55 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 11 hours 15 minutes

Pre-Twentieth Century Poetry

Step back in time with the PassMaster and an inquisitive student to explore the conventions and workings of classical poetry. Discover ‘the best words in the best order’ from Dryden, Milton, Keats, Browning, Wordsworth, Marvell and many more.

3 CDs £19.99 3 hours

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

This timeless classic of gossip and matchmaking is presented as exquisite drama that questions and analyses the values and beliefs of Austen’s own times, to understand the ‘blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd’ world of the text.

4 CDs £19.99 4 hours 20 minutes

Romeo and Juliet (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

‘Passion lends them power.’ The poetry of Shakespeare’s star crossed lovers is poignantly performed and expertly explained in this unique production.
Voted the nation’s third favourite audiobook and bronze Spoken Word Award winner for Drama.

4 CDs £19.99 5 hours

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 7 hours 50 minutes

Shakespeare the works

Discover the genius of William Shakespeare in this entertaining and educational drama, designed to whet the appetite and introduce you to the man, the life, the legacy. Includes key scenes from the major plays.

3 CDs £19.99 3 hours 20 minutes

The Mayor of Casterbridge
by Thomas Hardy

Hardy's world is brought to life in this vivid drama that sets the scene, tells the tale, and puts the characters on trial using theatre-in-education techniques to examine ‘the leaden gloom of one who has lost all’.

3 CDs £19.99 3 hours

Twelfth Night (unabridged)
by William Shakespeare

When characters have to ask ‘Are all the people mad?’ you need a guide! Explore this topsy-turvy world to understand, enjoy, and analyse the language, imagery and themes of Shakespeare’s dark comedy.

4 CDs £19.99 4 hours 50 minutes

MP3 CD-Rom £24.99 7 hours 10 minutes

War Poetry

This educational drama captures the experiences of a young WWI soldier who was touched, inspired and changed forever by war poetry. Through vivid readings and recollections we examine the work of 16 poets.

4 CDs £19.99 4 hours 25 minutes

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