Alex Green, 26 January 2014

Sharing the Theatre Making Process Online:


Ruins the safe space?

Reveals the ‘magic?’

@123alexgreen called and minuted the discussion.


I called this session because I was interested in the ways that online mediums

(particularly social media) can be (and have been) used to document and share the

theatre making process.

On opening the examples I gave were:

- National Theatre of Scotland's In the Time of Strife Production workbook

(coincidentally the person you made this workbook Eve Nicol also made it into the


- Newton Faulkner's live stream from the studio of his entire five week writing and

recording an album process.

- The National Theatre's tendency to make production videos (but posted


Sharing process online is a good Idea:

- A Great Resource for young theatre makers

- Opening the process could help to demystify the theatre making process and allow

punters to better understand and discuss theatre in general

- Learning from each other's processes (both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ bits) will help

theatre to grow in general.

- An emerging director would find it very useful to be able to watch a rehearsal process

without the need to give up time without receiving money.

- In the majority theatre audiences are niche audiences and thus they are likely to be

interested in engaging in this sort of thing.

- Would help with funding. (i.e. could display to the arts council that you are engaging

with the public and ‘letting them in’)

- In the group there was a more positive response to this concept if it was a closed

resource for theatre professionals rather than open to all. (We then thought this was

interesting and what is it about sharing with peers that is easier than sharing with the


- Useful tool for the theatre makers themselves, as they would be able revisit the

work/progress they made on day 6 (etc) both during the process and in future.

- the created materials could even inspire other people to make ‘offshoot work’.

- It is always great to have a documenter in the group (as a skilled archivist and

outside eye) and using it in this online way could open up funding to pay for that

person (in terms of their usefulness as a collaborator)

- No man (or process) is an island.

- Would be a really nice way to share and engage people with the ‘backstage roles’ of

theatre. (i.e. people could see the process and involvement of designers and stage

managers etc)

Sharing process online is a concerning idea!

- One person was would be happy to ‘live share’ the rehearsal process but is hesitant

about sharing her process (of a year of more) to making a show because people might

steal the ideas.

- Do audiences/the general public want to be bombarded with posts/videos/blogs etc.

Wouldn't they really just want a short video summarising the process?

- Sharing mistakes and ‘failings’ will scare actors away from experimenting in the

rehearsal room (thus the work for the end user would become dry and unexciting)

- Wouldn't you be shooting yourself in the foot as a creative if things didn't work out etc

(i.e people wouldn't then want to work with you!)

- In terms of online content isn't it true that less is more?

- Sharing mistakes would require a lot of bravery.

- Documentation is already time consuming. To curate and publish it would take up

even more time!

- What if it became your company's online brand and you couldn't then keep up with it

on another project?

- Would being so open/clear/diagnostic with a process ruin the beauty of when

audience members exist a show having taken very different things from it. As they'd

already know the intentions and process that led to the end result.

If you ARE sharing process online, you need to think about:

- Is it for a marketing, an engagement, archiving or a learning purpose?

- You need to make sure you trust the content curator/creator of the content.

- Do you want the content curator/creator to be embedded into rehearsals or be by

invitation to certain session only?

- Think about creating a veto-ing system so that actors/creatives can have a say as to

what is posted.

- However you present the content and also what content is chosen, should be

bespoke to your project.

- Plan the sorts of content you might share in real time and those that you might want

to share more retrospectively.

- Think about your audience/following (perhaps asking them in advance of your

project) what kind of content they could like to see?

- Plan in advance how much and how often you will post content.

- Treat it as an extra why to tell your story.

Unanswered questions

- Would you count as an audience member if you engaged with the online content but

didn't come to see the show?

- In reality is this actually something the audience would want?

- Is there a difference between documenting a process through embedded criticism

and by social media?

- If you're a public funded organisation is it your duty to share how you make

work/what your up to behind closed doors?

- Could we charge people to use a ‘service’ like this?

- Could something like this be used as a resource to replace/compliment expensive

theatre degrees?

- Would it all just be a waste of time, a distraction from actually just getting on and

making the work?

- Why is it (that most of the people in the discussion) could imagine live streams

working in a opera/ballet rehearsal but not generally?


marketing, online, documentation, Newton Faulkner, Documentation, video,

engagement, NTS, audeince devlopment, Blogs, Video, blogs, Socail Media, Sharing

Process, Engagement, In the Time of Strife, Safe Space, Magic, magic, Marketing