New Mag+ iPad App Brings Victoria & Albert Museum Archives to the Digital Stage

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The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) explores 60 years of British theatre history in an iPad app built and published with Mag+; delivering entertaining, educational, multimedia content to mobile audiences

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Using Mag+ to build the Played in Britain app, we’ve been able to prove that creating a great app is a cost effective way of showcasing content that’s not on permanent display in the Museum,

The V&A are today publishing an iPad app showcasing a new and previously undigitised theatrical photographic archive. The new app – Played in Britain: Modern Theatre in 100 Plays – covers six decades of British theatre history – from 1945 to 2010 and is introduced by the actor and academic Simon Callow. Built on the Mag+ iPad publishing platform, the app is packed with original essays, historical photographs and supplementary multimedia content. It introduces new audiences to the richness of the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Collection.

Played in Britain uses Mag+’s sleek layouts to guide readers through 600 images of British theatre photography – taking full advantage of the iPad’s retina display, multi-media, and intuitive interactions. The app presents each play as one long borderless page – for a smooth, fully engaged, reading experience. Taking full advantage of powerful Mag+ technology, the app brings to life the stories behind these rare photographs.

A catalyst for this app came in 2009, when the archives of prolific Soho theatre photographer Douglas H Jeffery were acquired by the V&A. The Theatre and Performance department of the Museum commissioned Mag+ to build an app to promote its rich post-war theatre collections to the public on iPad.

Malcolm Sutherland, responsible for digital projects and apps at the V&A, has already seen first hand how digital publishing can bring the V&A to a global audience, increasingly keen to consume content on-demand. The V&A’s calendar app – also created using Mag+ – was released earlier this year. It is about to be updated, having already been downloaded more than 16,000 times.

“Using Mag+ to build the Played in Britain app, we’ve been able to prove that creating a great app is a cost effective way of showcasing content that’s not on permanent display in the Museum,” says Sutherland. “The app gives the V&A an opportunity not only to expand our audience, but to bring together our vast collections of photographic stills, audio-visual material and production photographs. All this is viewable in extraordinary detail, and in just a few simple swipes.”

Damien Whitmore, V&A Director of Public Affairs and Programming said: "The V&A is world's leading museum of art and design. Our purpose is to inspire creativity in all of our visitors. This app provides a fantastic way of bringing rich and diverse content to people any place, at any time."

Mag+ is proud to be helping the V&A embrace the opportunity to engage a wider, more global mobile audience than ever before. Gregg Hano, CEO of Mag+, says: “We want to encourage more heritage organisations to capture new opportunities and new audiences through digital publishing. The V&A has discovered that experimenting with Mag+ to create and publish iPad apps not only produce beautiful results to be proud of, but gives more freedom, without the burden of costly resources.”

Made in Britain: 100 Plays is packed with unique Mag+ multimedia features:

  • over 600 images, including the work of acclaimed theatre photographer Douglas H Jeffery
  • embedded videos
  • audio clips and narration by the plays’ original cast members and other actors
  • click-through web browsing critic interviews
  • unique essays written by V&A experts
  • original first night reviews from the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers
  • original cast lists and interviews with cast members
  • long-form pages dedicated to each play

The app is available now from the Apple app store. It is priced at £7.99.

About the V&A
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 2000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.

About Mag+
Mag+ is a complete digital-publishing ecosystem comprising a plug-in for InDesign CS4-CS6, a powerful web-based backend, and white-labeled reader apps for iOS, Android and Kindle devices. It gives users the fastest, simplest publishing platform to create content optimized for mobile devices, without the need for programming skills. Mag+ premiered on the first iPad in April 2010 with the award-winning Popular Science+. Publishers and creatives have now built more than 700 apps, spanning Mad Magazine, Hemispheres (United Airlines), Toyota, WebMD, Outside, Shape and IDG.

Mag+ also offers consultancy and creative services via Mag+ Studios. And for those customers who wish to create bespoke apps, the Mag+ App SDK allows any developer access to the Mag+ reader engine.

From publishers to catalog marketers, design agencies and app developers, Mag+ is ideal for anyone wanting to bring beautiful, immersive content to the millions using the new generation of digital devices.

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Linda Wakeham
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