Is digital going to go away and if not what can I do about it.

Phil Coggins, 13 July 2012

I am an analogue person trying to pretend to be a digital being! I understand aspects of digital media and I'm quite competent in some aspects of social media etc but I feel I am always trailing behind, and no matter what training I seek,this feeling hasn't left me yet.

In our discussion there was lots of agreement that Digital will never truly replicate the ‘live’ experience but it's impact is inevitable and really we should be examining ways in which we can engage it and with it.
If we can, as artists and theatre makers, we should make the technology available to us so ordinary to our work that it becomes another tool in our theatre making kit.

It is another means of extending the conversation with audiences before, during, and beyond a performance. Sharing thoughts and ideas from start to finish of the creative process.

Lots of unanswered questions about THE SPACE - ACE's digital bank for the arts - is it just making theatre more like film? Is this going to alienate many artists who do not engage on a digital platform? Will it change audience behavior to attend ‘online’ and not in person?

What about TWITTER and BLOGGING? Does documenting processes and productions this way translate to more audiences? It was agreed that it was definitely a powerful tool for marketeers to share information and raise the profile of work - people who followed the process of productions online did have a different experience when they came to view the production than those who didn't. It can allow audiences to respond instantly to work on a public forum, even during productions. Sheffield Theatres are trialing TWEETZONES where audiences can TWEET during a show, from the auditorium - their messages flashing up on a live feed outside the theatre space. Is this a distraction to the production? Does it enhance the event? Is this changing the nature of watching live work and audience interaction? What impact will that have on theatre makers?
As a theatre maker I have to have confidence in trying, learning, and incorporating the technology available.
I have to recognise that it isn't just about selling tickets, it's an open conversation with audiences, artists, interested participants.

Theatre is often left trailing behind other artforms in using technology, can we change if we learn to integrate technology into our process as another tool in the theatre making kit?


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