Discussions about adapting stage plays for the screen, whether broadcast live or recorded ‘as live’, have moved on apace over the past couple of months. There have also been a number of further cinema broadcasts, including a successful presentation by NT Live of David Hare’s Skylight, of which Encore screenings are continuing. Below are some recent readings about this question.
• Let’s stop pretending that theatre can’t be captured on screen: this Michael Billington Guardian piece (18 June 2014) is something of a game-changer:
I went this week to a preview of Digital Theatre‘s screen version of Richard Eyre’s Almeida production of Ibsen’s Ghosts: I can only say that it offered an experience comparable to that I had in the theatre… while I remain an evangelist for live theatre, I think it’s time we stopped pretending that it offers an unreproducible event. A theatre performance can now be disseminated worldwide with astonishing fidelity.
• Sir Alan Ayckbourn voices fears over theatre screenings: the playwright offers a note of scepticism; from BBC online, 11 June 2014.
• NESTA research finds that National Theatre Live has no negative impact on regional theatre-going: outline from The Audience Agency on the research undertaken with NESTA; 25 June 2014.
• Research finds that National Theatre Live has no negative impact on regional theatre-going: this is NESTA’s press release; 24 June 2014…
• NESTA Working Paper 14/04: … and this is a download of the report in full.
• How live cinema screenings can help boost live arts audiences: Arts Council Chair Peter Bazalgette adds his gloss to the research; from the Independent, 30 July 2014.
• New work needs to be done before cinema broadcasts bring new audiences to opera: the focus is different, but this English Touring Opera research is also a valuable contribution to the debates; this is their 27 May 2014 blog piece…
• English Touring Opera – Opera in cinemas research: … and this is a download of the paper in full.
• The bitter taste of live screening: Elizabeth Freestone raises some important questions about live cinema broadcasts; from Arts Professional, 5 June 2014.
• Coney’s no island – could streamed theatre let audiences call the shots?: Andrew Haydon for the Guardian on Coney’s interactive theatre experiment Better than Life; 1 July 2014.
• Of Mice and Men to be National Theatre’s first live Broadway screening: meanwhile, NT Live is expanding its geographical reach to take in a New York show; this is the BBC’s 25 July news report. Screening dates for the ‘as live’ recording have still to be announced.
The next RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon cinema broadcast is Simon Godwin’s sparkling and totally delightful production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona on 3 September; details here.