In recent months, you may have noticed we're adding descriptions for each and every character throughout the works of Shakespeare. There are over 1200 roles so that's a tall task in itself. But that process also involves going scene by scene and even line by line through all the plays in order to verify each and every one. Every list of Dramatis Personae you will ever find will never list out all the roles in the plays—almost always listing soldiers, messengers and other small roles all condensed. We've taken it upon ourselves to create a complete list for each play. If the text is used for performance, that means there's a complete list of cast members to determine how one might double/triple certain parts with the same actor. It also makes really clear the difference between the small roles (spearcarriers are people too!). We've also added play descriptions and plan next to add scene synopses for every scene to help people not familiar with the play follow the flow of action.
We've also expanded our Shakespeare Directory to include over 420 theatres, societies and institutions. There's no other resource anywhere as extensive. We also help you follow the Shakespeare blogs and news sites with Shakespeare Pulse, our news aggregator (don't forget, we have RSS feeds galore here).
Our monologue section has exploded in the last year with over 350 monologues for men and women. As one of the largest collections of Shakespeare monologues available, we carefully curate each so they're the best for study and audition purposes.
Our team of reviewers are seeing more productions and writing mroe reviews than ever before. Our Editor in Chief, Chris Adams, recently moved from London to Shanghai and is seeing great Shakespeare there. Our annual Falstaff Awards will be announced in the coming months as well.
Our community section is always buzzing with discussion in the forum and new events (post your Shakespeare event for free!). If you have an iPad, we've added a bunch of free Shakespeare backgrounds (and if you don't have it already, you should get our Shakespeare Pro app). You can post your own photos and your account is integrated with Facebook and Twitter too.
In the coming months are an upgrade to the podcast section and document library. We'll also be upgrading the software that runs the site, which will be invisible to you, the user, but will provide more overall stability and speed.
Most important of all, our play texts are undergoing a major rework over the last year or so. We're updating some archaic spellings (like updaing "moe" to "more"), clarifying characters, and making minor changes like normalizing capitalization. They will be completed soon and available in XML format in our document library as well as added to our Shakespeare Pro app. This marks version 3 of our texts and we're proud of them. For their quality, they beat any free options available and certainly rival any paid option.
Now, these are all fantastic features and they're free for anyone. But the nature of the Internet has caused us to require registration to access them. We know how registration can be a pain and even make people feel uncomfortable about their privacy, etc. However, there are "site scrapers" scouring the Web for content so people can add it to their own sites and claim it for their own—even try to make money off of it. This is a deplorable idea and very disappointing.
Our play texts are freely available and usable under the GFDL. In a nutshell, that means you can copy and use them however you please, but you just have to provide credit to PlayShakespeare.com (since we've literally put years of work into them, we think that's pretty fair). If you want permission to use descriptions, synopses, or reviews, we have a different license. Just get in touch and let us know what you'd like to use it for. We've never turned anyone down. We've always required registration to view an entire play on a single page for easy copying and now other aspects of the site will require the same.