But more automation would mean less work for actresses!

It is billed as the way to make theatre more accessible to the masses: Broadcast live performances to cinemas across the country, so they can be enjoyed by wider audiences at a fraction of the cost.
But Gemma Arterton has hit out at the rising trend of transmitting plays that were created for the stage via the big screen, saying a theatre production is “something you were either there for or not”.

16 thoughts on “But more automation would mean less work for actresses!”

  1. In the sense that if you catch a play at your local cinema=no need for expensive London trip, there might be fewer plays put on. But it is not entrepreneurship to pull a move that reduces your profits–so the West Enders will likely have checked to be as sure as possible that this move=more cash not less. If so then it would prob mean more plays and more work for actresses not less. Plays that might not be viable in a single live house might make it with cinema shows in the deal.

    Of course plays can come from other places–Broadway could try to horn in on the West End–or vice versa.

  2. If, like me, you live in foreign, it is a marvellous innovation. Here in Hong Kong we get New York Met opera and the odd West End play in the cinemas.

    I absolutely agree that a play is best seen as intended, but not everyone has the option, especially for West End productions that do not tour.

  3. Isn’t going to a play all about social signalling, though? I mean, if you want to watch Henry V, just buy Branaghs film for a fiver. It’s more enjoyable, you watch it when you like, you watch it again and again?

    Theatre is now entirely led by other forms. People go to see Benedict Cumberbatch in a play because he’s on TV. They go and see plays based on films. What’s the last great film derived from a modern play?

  4. 3D cinema has pretty much died on its arse… if these plays could be broadcast in 3D it might reinvigorate the corpse. Maybe.

  5. They probably suspect that once that genie is out of the bottle, cheaper and better actors in far away countries will do all the performing and have it screened around the world.

  6. cheaper and better actors in far away countries will do all the performing and have it screened around the world

    I don’t see Bollywood movies becoming wildly popular in the west any time soon.

  7. This does give theatre actors an ability to “scale” that formerly was possessed by only their telly and film brethren. Sometimes all three being the same people, of course, but there are plenty who tread the boards and nowt else. Ought to be a good thing for wages of stage actors.

  8. There’s probably some genuine luvvie concern in there, but the Equity rates for re-transmission will be an additional income stream for the likes of her. Where the luvvies might be getting panicky is the prospect of on-demand and the requisite adjustments that would have to be made for royalties there.

    Some time ago I raised the idea of streaming for fringe theatre. Needless to say, the luvvies completely rejected the possibility of it. Today we have BroadwayHD. Such is life.

  9. James

    In Fringe theatres, the cast tend not to get paid and the audiences are tiny. You would think they would bend over backwards to increase their audiences and revenue streams. Sitting in a cramped room over a pub is uncomfortable at the best of times and, sometimes, the production can be ruined by the sound of a fruit machine paying out downstairs. I would welcome it if it were possible to see fringe shows. Not too sure I would bother to see the Mousetrap or Jersey Boys or Miss Saigon or Les Mis.

  10. “Theatre is now entirely led by other forms”. Thus spake anon. An interesting use of the word “entirely” in a rare sense meaning “not to any great extent”. For every West End play featuring BC or David Tennant, there are approx 150 that do not.

  11. “But more automation would mean less work for actresses!”

    Is this the same principle as when the invention of power looms meant less work for textile industry workers?

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    They already do this for the Last Night at the Proms don’t they?

    I would love to see what would happen if they tried to go global. You think they could broadcast it not just in Edinburgh, but in Times Square, at the India Gate in New Delhi, in Tiananmen square and so on? Would it draw a non-rioting crowd?

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    Rocco Siffredi – “Acting is not really mechanical.”

    Says the guy in the porn industry! Ignoring the fact that actually artificial actors can act quite well. Virtually every single cartoon acted rings around Bob Hoskins in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

    However I would think that modern technology has meant more people see more plays despite technology. Loom weavers might have been thrown out of work, but I bet actors have not. Not even by the invention of cinema. We just have more free time and see even more than we did before.

    Not to mention modern technology means that things like plays and especially music gets printed. Creating a corpus of work we call the classics. Without that technology Bach and Shakespeare would probably be forgotten by now.

  14. Smfs,
    Go down to your local church hall and watch a play or show.

    Rocco has it right. Acting is not mechanical. When it happens, it happens in the moment. It can never be repeated. Same for musical performance.

  15. Thespians the other day/week/month:

    “We must all reduce our carbon footprints by reducing unnecessary travel…”

    Thespians the other day

    “We must make people travel to our single showing!”

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