Larry Elliott’s optimistic article (Covid pandemic might unlock doors to golden age for the arts, 23 May) rightly points out the place of technology as the key driver for cultural change. Already in the vanguard by committing to stream every production is the Young Vic, tentatively supported by the Almeida, and hopefully underpinned by the National Theatre at Home service.
These change the game for those who can’t access live theatre, with captioning, audio description and literally “being there” when you can’t make it. Beats me why every show isn’t getting a livestream, given that audiences for this year, and possibly for some time, will be reduced through social distancing. I love live events, but as bits of me fail, the words are never clearer than through subtitles and headphones, the moves and expressions never more detailed than in close-up, and what better way to break down the metropolitan stranglehold and give regional theatres an equal footing, as the Leicester Curve and its peers are promising?
I’m surprised that the West End’s commercial producers aren’t preserving their shows for posterity and monetising them through internationally available streams while they’re still running. The idea that important landmarks like Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt and Ian McKellen’s late-stage second crack at Hamlet aren’t captured for all to access would be criminal if it wasn’t so sad. Access isn’t an add-on, but the driver to wider, more engaged audiences.
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Reference : https://bit.ly/3gwKXew