1) It’s cheaper
2) It’s easier to get tickets
3) Less worry about sightlines/being able to hear things/uncomfy seats
4) You don’t need to fret so much about making noise/accidentally making people ‘tut’ you
5) There isn’t a ‘theatre crowd’ that you can feel uncomfortable about not being in
6) It is more unique and special than a film because it only happens a few times
7) Ltd number of camera angles + ltd soundtrack means you actually listen to the dialogue a lot more than if it were a film
8) It feels like the theatre have bothered to make it possible for Mrs Knees of Inverness to see a play she might like and not just said ‘come to London or wait for the tour, if we can be bothered to do one.’
9) You can hear the audience in the room, and therefore retain the sense of having compromised for a less intimate experience, i.e. one that might induce you to go to the theatre in the future so you can actually share it.
10) The quality and ‘level’ of broadcasts is actually very good – extremely sympathetically and intelligently filmed (see number 6) and at NT/RC level it has genuinely sustainable appeal. FFS though can we stop EXPLAINING it to people in douche-y intros?!
11) These are also more likely to be ‘big stage’/orthodox 4th wall shows that again fit the broadcast format. For many less orthodox and/or fringe shows (‘The Author’, say) it just won’t work and that’s FINE, although even ‘…Bradley Manning’ worked very well and that’s not exactly ‘classically’ staged…. On a purely financial note, these are less likely to appeal to the ‘casual’ theatregoer anyway, but that’s fine because it’s probably true of theatre screenings that…
12) THEY’RE FOR *CASUAL* THEATREGOERS. If you hate the idea, consider for a moment ‘am I by some definition a theatre professional?’ and ‘do I therefore set far more stall by ‘the live event’ than most people [i.e. who are not theatre professionals] do?’. Doesn’t mean you wrong, it just means they’re not AIMED at you. Maybe live broadcasts should be more fully embraced as an aspect of Outreach – in my head that’s kinda the point of them and I bet they do an equivalent job to schools tours/workshops/etc in terms of ££ and also just getting people through the damn door.. Do we want people to see more theatre or not?! How can potential audience possibly make any sort of useful judgement about the form if we insist on keeping it from being more accessible to them?!
13) If you say you’re going to the theatre, people go ‘ooo-OOO-ooo’, like you’ve become a Lord or something. Theatre is (or is generally perceived as) part of the class system and we haven’t fixed this yet. Going to the cinema to see a screening of a play is like being allowed into that ‘world’ (see numbers 4 and 5) in a safe way, where you can enjoy it on your own terms. As an industry, our refusal to acknowledge that theatre feels weird for most people is why new people never come. This is a good way of fixing this.
14) If you hate the show, it’s not so bad because it’s happening in another room somewhere else
15) If you love the show, you want to get closer next time (see number 9)