Adelaide Road
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Adelaide Road

Inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ Adelaide Road is an interactive journey and performance where ‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.’ Using a typical London street as the performance space, Adelaide Road explores the themes of love, betrayal, exile and home in the 21st century. The RSC worked with a poet in residence Aoife Mannix to develop a story with the local people. The experience itself was a promenade performance following actors in different locations. The storyworld was also available on an iPhone app that located different parts of the tale in the places that they were performed by the actors. It also offered users the chance to participate by writing their own poems from choices offered in the app.

COOKING TIME: 5 months

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An experienced producer
A handful of Calvium app developers
A ready-made poet in residence
A series of writing workshops
A trio of live performances performed by RSC actors
Good quality GPS
Plus extra iPhones to serve

Cooks Tip

Be flexible: Aoife suggested using a technique from her story writing workshops to encourage audience members to write their own poems. Calvium were delighted to incorporate this into the app.

Raising Agent

Commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Adelaide Road iPhone app was designed by Calvium and supported by the Pervasive Media Studio. The project was created by Aoife Mannix and produced by Sarah Ellis.


Using Shakespeare’s As You Like It as inspiration, take a creative and a technical team and blend their expertise together.Start with a writing workshop for members of the public. Ask Tudor Allen (senior archives officer at Camden Archive Centre) to select a range of archived material connected with Adelaide Road to provide inspiration for workshop participants.

Use writing exercises to encourage the creation of ghost stories and poems.

Explore with writer Aoife Mannix and Calvium’s Jo Reid the possibilities for marrying story telling with technology. Using Aoife’s expertise, look at how to encourage people to write creatively. Combine this with Jo’s knowledge of the technology of experience design and effective use of GPS.

Come up with an overall design, incorporating letters and existing themes as an organising construct for moving and synchronising along the journey.

Remember throughout the process that these mechanics must work in all three platforms; live, iphone & web.

For further inspiration and written content, continue to hold workshops with a range of participants from under fives to over sixties.

At some workshops ask participants to write their own material based on set themes or tasks, at others collect stories and inspiration from the people there.

Attend the Media Sandbox Showcase in Bristol and learn about the cutting edge digital possibilities that are being developed with the Pervasive Media studio community. Think about how they could be used within Adelaide Road.

Create a prototype version of the app to test along Adelaide Road. Look to see if GPS zones are triggered correctly and decide how the workshops are going to be used to generate content to augment the central story line.

Think about ways to use techniques from the writing workshops and the interactive elements of the iPhone, to encourage the user to write their own poems.

Once the functional design is agreed, move on to the aesthetic design. Share expertise and ideas with the RSC team to co-develop the look, feel and flow of the app.

By developing the functionality and design of the app in parallel with the creative writing workshops it is possible to quickly add in the final media assets as soon as they are ready.

Following this, finish, test and publish the app on the app store in time for the live performance.

Create a programme in the style of a newspaper to be handed out at the event. Include information about those involved with the project.

By following this recipe, the performance is designed to work with the App and the App has been designed so that it can be enjoyed long after the live performances have moved on.

Diners Comments

The inclusion of the technological aspects worked very well indeed. The added interest created by the iPhone app gave not only another aspect of the performance that the participants could connect with but also a way for them to directly influence the show as well as having a personal and uniquely individual experience that can really affect them following the course of the action.


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