mobile-bannertablet-bannerdesktop-banner
Sir Ian McKellen, actor, photographed at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival on April 3, 2016 in Oxford, England.
Sir Ian McKellen, actor, photographed at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival on April 3, 2016 in Oxford, England. David Levenson/Getty Images

Listen to Ian McKellen Read Shakespeare's The Tempest

Apr 22, 2016

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Sir Ian McKellen is launching a series of apps that will allow users to listen to various actors read the Bard's plays aloud. The first app, dubbed "Heuristic Shakespeare — The Tempest," will be available on April 23, and features McKellen — best known for his role as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings — as Prospero and Sir Derek Jacobi as Gonzalo.

Developed on the premise that Shakespeare's works should be seen rather than read, the app gives users the opportunity to watch a professional cast recite a play while its lines appear in writing at the bottom of the screen. Those in consideration for participation include British actors such as Patrick Stewart and Stephen Fry.

Read More: Here Are Shakespeare’s 15 Most Beloved Quotes

At the launch for the app, McKellen spoke about why he feels Shakespeare is still important in today's world. "Anybody can relate to Shakespeare," he said, according to the Irish Examiner. "Shakespeare wrote about black people. He wrote about us all, he wrote about gay people like me, he wrote about women — my goodness, did he write fantastic parts for women! He wrote about leaders, tyrants, people you meet in the pubs, soldiers of all ranks. So the color of your skin or the culture from which you come from isn't really relevant, but the plays go on being persistently relevant — and not just in this country."

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.