They call it a revolution in British theatre. At least one rating service ranks it as popular as Netflix. It’s Digital Theatre and for those of you who don’t already know, it’s an online service which allows viewers from around the world to view major U.K. productions taped in hi-def before live audiences as little as $5.
The well directed, multi camera productions capture astonishing moments from the sweep of the stage to close ups of some of the most intimate moments. Examples? Jonathan Pryce’s interpretation of King Lear (directed by Richard Attenborough) or the magnificent performances of Zoe Wanamaker and David Suchet in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.
Digital Theatre’s library includes works from companies such as the Royal Court, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Young Vic, the Royal Exchange, Royal Court, Unicorn (for young audiences), as well as touring and open air theatres. You can choose to view online (starting at $4.63), or download to various devices ($13.89.)
Recently, Digital Theatre has added the Digital Theatre iPad App, which allows users to stream productions directly onto the iPad app; The Journal-Digital Theatre’s daily online arts blog, with content sourced from artists and practitioners around the world; the Digital Theatre Samsung Smart TV App beaming the best of British theatre directly into your living room and Digital Theatre Collections-a platform bringing together the best performing arts content from around the world; and Digital Theatre Plus, a subscription series of interview and instruction for students of theatre.
Here’s to the day when the barriers to recording and distributing live performances in the United States come down, so that the many excellent Washington theatre productions can be more than a memory in the minds of those of us fortunate enough to have witnessed them.