Remaining time:

Due to high demand, your chosen tickets can only be held for a limited time and then removed automatically.

    Streamed Theatre Vs. Live Theatre - Does Theatre On A Screen Ruin The Magic?

    Something which has been on the rise in the past few years is the idea of ‘streamed theatre’ - events such as Billy Elliot Live as well as RSC and National Theatre broadcasts have seen plays and musicals screened to cinemas and regional theatres up and down the country, and occasionally to our TV screens too! But does watching theatre on a screen (big or little!) ruin the magic?

    Let’s look at last summer’s RSC production of The Merchant of Venice, for example. I saw the ‘real’ production first, and the live screening about a month later. In my opinion, the live screening wasn’t quite as good because you couldn’t feel the full effect of all of the fantastic dramatic tension created; this particular production had a very reflective set (quite literally - it was shiny!) and I don’t think you could have really appreciated that unless you had seen it in Stratford prior to the screening. On the other hand, having a live screening does give you the opportunity to see the actors’ faces up close - until I saw the screening, I hadn’t given enough thought to how talented Makram J. Khoury and Jamie Ballard were, especially in the more high-octane scenes, but this was something that was really nicely shown off by the live broadcast.

    A recent event from across the pond, which I feel I should mention is Grease: Live, which aired on Fox and ITV earlier this year. It was the perfect combination of the movie and the stage musical, and filmed completely live. It was a completely different feeling to watching a ‘real life’ musical, but it still had the fun atmosphere that Grease should, through the huge use of social media to promote it in the run up to the show. This relatively new idea of a ‘TV musical’ is a challenge that, over the past few years, has been brilliantly taken on by NBC, Fox and ITV - and all three channels have said that they plan to do more in the future.

    So is digital theatre the future, then? In my opinion, the answer is no; while digital broadcasts are great for people who live further away from New York or London or perhaps can’t afford the trip, for me nothing can ever beat the feeling of sitting in a theatre before a show, with the audience chattering and the orchestra warming up - that feeling and atmosphere is part of the magic of theatre, and the magic of theatre is something that cannot and will not ever be replaced by technology.



    Related news

    Bat Out Of Hell: an explosive, high-energy night out

    Posted on | By Carole Lovstrom

    Loud. To begin with, that was my overwhelming initial impression of the show. Considering a good ... Read more

    The Height of the Storm

    Posted on | By Sandra Howell

    At first, I was confused about what was happening, particularly by the way in which the character... Read more

    Why School of Rock rocks!

    Posted on | By Jade Ali

    Everyone knows and loves the popular movie ‘School of Rock’, starring Jack Black, but... Read more

    Follow us for instant updates and special offers

    Sign up to our mailing list and be the first to hear about new West End shows and exclusive ticket discounts. We value your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time. But we hope you won’t!