Theatre Transformed: Technology’s Role in Theatre Arts

There is no denying how valuable art is to human beings. Some art pieces can even become references to how life used to be. It’s in what kind of art people enjoyed during specific periods in time that we can learn more about our predecessors and the past.

Art can even become pieces that record events in history, whether it’s a painting, a musical arrangement, or a theatrical play. Some of them are even relevant and popular to this day, and we often call them timeless pieces of art. These are just some of the reasons why art is so important to us.

Unfortunately, art galleries, art shows, cinemas, and theatres had to close down because of the pandemic. The situation created a need for the art industry to adapt to these uncertainties. More and more people are shifting to the digital world, and while paintings and digital art still found their place, it was a different story for the performing arts.

There are so many factors that make theatre a unique form of art, with the most important one being that it was a completely live experience. The ambiance, the architecture, the live performances, and more contributed to how magical a theatrical play can become. Because of the implementation of strict health guidelines, all of those elements suddenly became inaccessible. People couldn’t go out anytime they wanted to, nor could people gather in one place as much as they did before. Fortunately, the performing arts may just have found the hope they needed to start anew in technology.

Here are some ways technology can breathe new life into theatre, especially in the digital world.

More Reach, More Visibility

Through online platforms such as social media and websites, what was once a theatre catering only to its local community, is now a global venue online. Moving performances into digital formats can help the performing arts reach a global audience. With the right digital marketing strategy, they can quickly gain the viewership of a massive online population.

In addition to that, theatre companies can directly connect with their patrons through engaging content on social media and other online platforms. They could allow patrons to interact with the characters of a show as if they were talking to them directly. It adds an intimate and personal experience that lets patrons develop a deeper relationship with the theatre company.

Less Cost, More Revenue

By making their performances available online and digitally, they can save a lot of money on operating expenses. They can record a play or a musical once and make it available for everyone to watch again and again online. It eliminates the need to perform the same show multiple times while giving patrons the freedom to watch it anytime and anywhere. And this is especially beneficial to smaller performing arts theaters that want to maximize their resources.

Going digital also gives theatres complete control over how they generate their revenue. From a pay-per-view business model to a subscription-based one, there are now so many ways for them to monetize their theatrical plays and musicals. Those things include merchandise and play materials. They can use paid services on online platforms that help push and show their content to a specific target audience. Since their target audience is the type that loves musicals and plays, it’s more likely that they will spend on a theatre’s content, and ultimately generating them more revenue.

Creating Unique Digital Experiences

woman using a vr headset for media consumption

With the emergence of technologies like virtual reality (VR) and altered reality (AR) comes the potential of creating unique and immersive experiences that a theatre cannot replicate. They can now use VR to produce fictional worlds or recreate historical events in 3D to make their performances more immersive and believable. These can help viewers feel like they’re part of the show instead of just part of the audience. Additionally, they can use AR to add another layer of immersion and entertainment on playbills. They could add easter eggs or greetings from characters from the play in a 3D environment through a patron’s smartphone by scanning a code on the playbill or other printed materials.

Our world becoming more digital each day is inevitable. The earlier traditional artforms like performing arts adapt to it, the better chances they have of surviving. Theatre companies should not look at technology as a threat to their traditional ways but rather as a tool that they can utilize to supplement existing work or create an entirely new theatrical experience. With a plethora of new technologies that they can use to transform the theatre, there’s no doubt that the unique experiences they make for the theatre in the digital world will continue to prosper.

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