How to Support a Theatre Company and Stream a Show While Social Distancing

Film & TV News   How to Support a Theatre Company and Stream a Show While Social Distancing
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many regional theatres are moving to digital; here's how to join.
Justin Mortelliti and Mary Mattison in <i>Pride and Prejudice</i>
Justin Mortelliti and Mary Mattison in Pride and Prejudice Kevin Berne

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring productions around the world to a halt, some theatre companies have found a way to ensure that the show will go on—at least on screen—by offering streams of its current shows. Patrons can now support these organizations impacted by widespread closures and have a chance to catch the shows even during mass gathering restrictions.

The swift pivot to streaming is the product of collaboration between the theatres, artists, and a number of unions that weigh in on media decisions, including Actors' Equity and IATSE. Theatrical licensors have also stepped in to make it easier for companies to acquire rights to offer its stagings digitally during this time.

“These new streaming agreements help protect the economic security of Equity members with additional weekly salaries and health care contributions,” said Actors' Equity Executive Director Mary McColl. “When theaters go dark, actors and stage managers face tremendous economic uncertainty. A streaming agreement can be a win for everyone, from the audience to the actors and stage managers.”

Take a look at the current list below. Many other regional theatres are making arrangements to follow suit; stay tuned for more information.

READ: Your Daily Guide to Streaming Theatre Content and More

Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes
Signature Theatre (Arlington, Virginia)
The world premiere from D.C.-based playwright Dani Stoller began February 18, and though it had to shutter about a month later in the wake of the health crisis, Signature has created a filmed version for affected ticket holders; a limited number of virtual tickets are on sale to the public as well. The stream will be available through April 12.

The Siblings Play
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (New York City)
The Off-Broadway theatre company will offer a limited number of tickets for at-home viewings of the Ren Dara Santiago play. The stream will be available through April 5 and will also be given to patrons who had tickets to canceled performances.

School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play and Culture Clash (Still) in America
Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Berkeley, California)
Berkeley Rep has partnered with BroadwayHD to offer streams of its two productions impacted by California’s mass gathering restrictions: Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls and the latest from the performance collective Culture Clash. Ticket holders will receive an email on how to access the streams, and those who wish to purchase streaming-only tickets can do so online. All tickets will include one-week access to BroadwayHD’s catalog.

Alley Theatre (Houston, Texas)
If you are emotionally equipped to handle a dystopian drama right now, the Alley Theatre has you covered. Its production of the Michael Gene Sullivan adaptation is available to stream through April 12 to affected ticket holders via password-protected link, and video-only tickets are available for $20.

The Habit of Art and The Croft
Original Theatre Company (U.K.)
As previously announced, Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art—as well as Ali Milles' The Croft—have been made available to stream online after cutting their U.K. tours short. They will be accessible for a suggested donation until June 2.

Gloria and Toni Stone
American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco, California)
Though all remaining performances of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Gloria and Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone have been canceled, A.C.T. will send out recordings of both to affected ticket holders via BroadwayHD. The stream is also available for purchase to the general public, and audiences will have through April 5 to view the productions.

Teenage Dick
Theatre Wit (Chicago, Illinois)
The remaining performances of Mike Lew’s Shakespeare sendup will now presented as one-time-only streams of a previously filmed performance. Only 98 streaming links will be available for each stream time, which aligns with the theatre’s intended performance schedule. A live, post-show discussion will also take place after each stream over video conference.

They Promised Her the Moon
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, California)
Though all remaining performances of Laurel Ollstein’s play had been canceled, the regional theatre has created a streaming version, on sale at a pay-what-you-can rate. Those who pre-purchased tickets will receive a link by April 3, and the performance will be available through to watch through April 12.

Pride and Prejudice
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, California)
The Bay Area venue presented the world premiere of the musical adaptation by Paul Gordon earlier this season, and a filmed version will play on Streaming Musicals April 10 as a free "virtual opening night" at 6:30 PM (as well as an encore presentation at 10 PM). Tony winner Beth Leavel and Julie James will host the stream, featuring interviews during intermission. Streaming Musicals' business model includes profit-sharing for artists and arts organizations that bring content to the stie.

we broke up.
Single Carrot Theatre (Baltimore, Maryland)
Single Carrot has teamed up with local playwright DJ Hills to create the experiential digital performance, after having to postpone its production of Bulgaria! Revolt!. The live-streamed webcast will launch in mid-April.

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