New Media

Bohdan Piasecki, 7 October 2012

The session was called to talk about the use of new media in theatre - in the broadest sense. We discussed new media as part of the creative process and as a way to engage audiences outside of performed work.

Too often the new media component of a show is an afterthought, tacked on after the process is over in attempt to add marketing channels, or worse, an attempt to be cool.

There was widespread agreement that true creative use of new media entails involving it from the very beginning. This means writing and rehearsing for all the platforms on which the work will exist. Ideally, it also means inviting new media experts - programmers, coders, etc. - and making them part of the creative team rather than handing them ready-made material with a set of instructions.

The often heard claim that new media have eroded the sense of communal experience so crucial to live theatre - that we want our entertainment on our own schedule, that we dip in and out - was challenged with several examples from communities like gamers or online sports fans who coordinate their schedules to experience events in sync with their friends. Instead, it was acknowledged that online culture creates a whole new set of expectations and preconceptions for theatre to challenge and subvert.

It is important to acknowledge that the technology is a tool, and not a goal in itself. The simplest way to do things is the best, it's just that some stories, and some ways of telling them, are only possible through new media.

New media as platform for audience interaction are well established, but on a basic level, and they could be used both to solicit and share feedback before and after session (to create a digital equivalent of audience hubbub) and to give the audience a way to directly influence the play, the actors, or the set.

Participants: Jacqui O'Harlon, Liz Thompson, Ann Beynow, Tom Wise, Sarah Ellis, Tom Fox, Rachael Harper, Joanna Reid, George Davis-Reiley

Session called by: Bohdan Piasecki


web, tools, Technology, Process, process, Innovation, engagement, innovation, technology, Internet, internet, new media