Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Is Theatre Finally Becoming More Accessible?

There are more and more arguments to support the view that theatre audiences are becoming an exclusive club, and because of this, people are being put off from particularly West Ens shows, especially plays.
It could be argued that the price of theatre tickets is the biggest turnoff to audiences and rising prices are excluded a large potential audience.
However, things may be changing.
Over the last few months we have reported many ways shows, theatre companies and producers are changing the ways they are offering theatre and ultimately giving potential audience’s more reasons to go.
Michael Grandage’s theatre company are selling most tickets for £10 to his upcoming play series, along with ‘A Chorus of Disapproval’ which is also selling £10 tickets. Theatre company, Theatre Deli are giving you the chance to pay what you want for their shows, while The Northern Ballet are giving audiences a taste of ballet by allowing them to watch rehearsals.
Now a local theatre in Essex has decided to stream their new series of shows online, with a charge of £2.99 per performance!
The Broadway Theatre, in Barking has come up with an ingenious way to encourage more people into the theatre. With technology company, Ipercast’s help, the theatre will be streaming plays from its new season of shows. These shows will be available online to watch at a cost of just £2.99. It is hoped that the integration of new media and traditional theatre-going will help draw audiences into the theatre, and learn that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The Broadway Theatre’s new season includes two new plays. ‘Doorman’, an adult comedy about bouncers which will feature cameos from the cast of The Only Way Is Essex, who are hoped to be another draw for the audience. Soap star, Kirsty Leigh Porter and Shameless actor Ciaran Griffiths will also be starring. Other shows include ‘Airport’, and ‘All The Single Ladies’, a stand-up comedy show about dating featuring comedian Andi Osho.
These are all great ways to encourage people to try theatre. Lowering price seems obvious; lower price = bigger audience. The arts industries are constantly facing funding cuts, so in some ways it is understandable that theatre prices are rising to compensate this however annoying it for us who want to see as much theatre as possible!
Live streaming has its perks but also it may have its drawbacks too. Are we now that lazy, that we can’t even drag ourselves down to a local theatre to watch live a performance? Yes, the price is an obvious positive, but what if everybody starts streaming theatre?
Audiences will become smaller and eventually disappear and then lose even more money!  Everyone will be tucked up in bed with a cuppa watching theatre on their laptops. And at that point, you might as well as just watch TV – resulting in the theatres having the same problem they started with!
Do you think live online streaming is the way forward for theatre? Or does it detract from the ‘theatre experience’? Tell us your thoughts.

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