The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive negative impact on every sector of the economy. The performing arts industries, in particular, are the worst hit. Cinemas and theaters were among the first to close down when the virus proliferated.
The big question we have to wonder is, how will these sectors cope? With no end in sight, the pandemic has forced these industries to adapt.
In this post, we focus on the simple but smart ways in which writers, actors, and theatres in general, are pushing the boundaries of storytelling to connect with their audiences.
The Emergence of an Alternative Form of Theatre
At the height of coronavirus infection cases in April, #JaneEyre rose to become a trending topic on Twitter. The pre-recorded versions of the theatrical production had found a way to reach its fans even with theatres closed.
The lockdown forced everyone to stay home. The social distancing rules meant that fans could not assemble to watch their favourite plays. Perhaps this is the final push the performing arts industry needs to follow in the footsteps of Casinos where the best of them are online. You can check out some of the best live casinos in Ireland to see how far off they have evolved from brick and mortar casinos.
Theatres quickly adapted by turning to YouTube and streaming sites to make their content available to fans stuck at home. This change has worked well enough as more people flock to their channels to watch pre-recorded versions of their favourite shows.
Online Streaming and the Competition
The online streaming of theatrical performances is a thing. The theatre was a great attraction to the populace because they offered live performances.
What is not clear is how writers, actors, performers, and the theatre fraternity will up their game to compete against TVs and movies. The National Theater, for instance, has made a name for itself on YouTube. They have made available their current shows and some of their best classics on the video hosting site.
However, since YouTube offers limited monetization options, they have had to ‘beg’ for donations to support their actors. This is not a long-term strategy to keep the theatre alive.
Appealing to a New Kind of Audience
To some extent, resorting to online streaming has been a blessing in disguise in the performing arts industry. The National Theater took advantage of the tools offered by YouTube to monitor the number of views during live broadcasts.
The insights, and the overall video views at the end of the shows, revealed a lot about their audience. According to One Further, viewers have been very consistent in attending the shows they like. The shows that were popular on the stage received the most viewers.
The metrics show that viewers flock online to catch their favourite performances the first time. Subsequent performances, however, receive fewer viewers.
Live Tweeting and Live Chats
The theatre of yesteryear did not accommodate live-commentary of performances. You could not attend a musical and live-tweet it as it happens. However, with live-streamed performances, the audience can comment and interact with the theatre in real-time.
The live comment feature on National Theater’s performance highlighted by One Further proves that the theatre will never be the same. The audience is now free and able to make their thoughts known about the show in real-time. This is akin to lighting a fire under the stage and witnessing the organizers and actors strive to deliver their best despite the smoke.
The theatre, and the performing arts industry in general, will never be the same even after the coronavirus pandemic.
What we witness today is history in the making, perhaps the most significant leap in theatrical performance since the emergence of the Theatre of Dionysus. Do we see the final days of the brick and mortar theatres?