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Credit: Pamela Raith

Live theatre broadcasts have positive impact

Published 12 October 2016

Society of London Theatre (SOLT), UK Theatre and Arts Council England (ACE) have published their From Live-To Digital report. The report is the first authoritative piece of research to examine the opportunities of live broadcasts and streaming of theatre performances. The publication follows yesterday’s announcement of the latest NT Live dates which includes Amadeus on 2 February 2017, Saint Joan on 16 February and Hedda Gabler on 9 March.

The report found that:

  • Audiences do not believe Live-to-Digital is a substitute for live theatre; they believe it is a significant and distinct experience
  • Streamers are younger and more diverse than live theatre and Event Cinema audiences
  • Overall, organisations believe Live-to-Digital to have had a positive impact

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre, said: “The UK’s theatre industry has been at the forefront of many technical innovations and has continued to adapt and thrive. We welcome the findings of this report which will help us roadmap how ACE, UK Theatre and SOLT can work with organisations to help ensure the sector remains vibrant and relevant in a fast-changing landscape, while embracing the evolving digital technologies and continuing to celebrate live performance which is so unique to theatre’s appeal”.

Simon Mellor, Executive Director of Arts and Culture at ACE, added: “We’re delighted to have partnered with UK Theatre and SOLT to commission this important piece of research. It clearly shows that the threat from ‘live to digital’ to live theatre is minimal. We therefore look forward to working with these organisations, and other parties committed to building a vibrant future theatre …”

SOLT and UK Theatre’s most recent box office figures show that live theatre continues to thrive, with combined ticket sales of over £1 billion. On Sunday UK Theatre announced the winners of the UK Theatre Awards 2016 which the organisation’s president, Fiona Allan, said “celebrate the world class theatre that is performed on stages across the country and demonstrates the breadth and depth of outstanding talent.”

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