The first two productions to be presented under this initiative are Elizabeth Freestone's productions of Sheridan's The School for Scandal and Marlowe's Dr Faustus that will run in rep at the venue Oct. 1-17. Future productions to be staged under the scheme include Lady Windermere's Fan, Volpone, A Doll's House, Antigone, The White Devil and The Alchemist.
The plays, mainly chosen from the English, Theatre Studies and Drama GCSE and A level schools' syllabus, will be staged and recorded at Greenwich Theatre. Each will run as a theatre production for a short season, during which time they will be recorded on High Definition Video and produced to deliver the look and feel of a live performance.
The DVDs will be available via the Stage on Screen website and mail order. There will be three versions available: a Regular Pack for students and theatre lovers, a Library Pack for rental use and a four-disc Teacher Pack, which includes an extras DVD and an interactive CD ROM that allows students to edit their own versions of key scenes. The DVDs will be directed by Chris Cowey — previously director of Top of The Pops for the BBC and numerous other live TV programs.
In a press statement, Phil Rees, director of Stage on Screen, said, "This is a truly exciting opportunity. Nothing like this has ever been done before, and research indicates that these DVDs will make a massive difference to the enjoyment, appreciation and study of the plays. They will alleviate time and cost pressures on teachers, who will also, we hope, find the many additional features in the teachers' packs and on the website invaluable. In addition, students will benefit from enjoyable and effective study aids – and an increased chance of achieving the highest grades."
James Haddrell, director of Greenwich Theatre, added, "Greenwich Theatre is the natural home for this initiative, representing as it does the perfect fusion of theatre and learning. It marks a key moment in the Theatre's history as we embark on a period of regular producing not seen since the late 90s, but maintains an educational motivation for the work. Nothing will ever beat the experience of live theatre for young people, but we have to be honest and acknowledge the economic and logistical challenges faced by teachers who want their students to experience curriculum texts in performance. Far from being an alternative to going to the theatre, this will enhance the learning experience for young people unable to attend a live performance, and offer a bridge into theatre attendance in the future." To book tickets for the live performances of the plays, contact the box office at 020 8858 7755 or visit www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk. For more information on Stage on Screen, visit www.stageonscreen.com.