- Title: From Adelaide to Hollywood - digital theatre has greater reach
- Date: 23rd August 2021
- Summary: ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA (AUGUST 18, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AT BLACK BOX LIVE, JOANNE HARTSTONE, SAYING: ''Because of covid, obviously, live performance has been really difficult to achieve for a multitude of reasons. So we have pivoted into the digital world and we are embracing hybrid digital theatre, which means theatre for a live audience both in the room and also online, watching from home or wherever they may be in the world.''
- Embargoed: 6th September 2021 11:58
- Keywords: Black Box Live COVID Edinburgh fringe Harstone-Kitney Productions Hollywood fringe theatre
- Location: ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA
- City: ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA
- Country: Australia
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Australia,Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Theatre
- Reuters ID: LVA002ERI3T5L
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Adelaide-based theatre performer Joanne Hartstone was better prepared than many for August's festival bonanza as lockdown delays have meant that Edinburgh's fringe coincides for the first time with Hollywood's rival event.
Hartstone was quick to understand the opportunity the pandemic presented to reach a wider audience.
''Because of covid...live performance has been really difficult...so we have pivoted into the digital world and we are embracing hybrid digital theatre, which means theatre for a live audience both in the room and also online, watching from home or wherever they may be in the world,'' Harstone told Reuters.
Post March 2020, Hartstone-Kitney Productions, the company she runs with her partner Tom Kitney, expanded to not just produce theatre but shows that work as digital productions too.
''Traditionally, theatre shows have designers in departments such as lighting, sound, set costume. Well, now camera is an entire new department,'' Kitney explained to Reuters.
''Sometimes the camera can see things that the human eye in the room can't, which enables us to make some really clever tricks happen,'' he said.
Having several cameras to perform to, as well as a live audience poses new challenges for actors: ''I'm not just hitting a spotlight. I'm also hitting a camera angle. I'm also having to make eye contact with a camera at a certain point,'' Hartstone explained.
No longer just sharing their work with those in the room, the pair set up virtual theatre platform Black Box Live, where their shows are available live and on demand.
''Our show, ''The Girl Who Jumped Off The Hollywood Sign'', we live streamed performances from...Adelaide...in real time to both Hollywood and then another show direct into Edinburgh,'' Harstone said, adding: ''We were really connecting, defying time zones, and distance.''
As Edinburgh, Aug. 6-30 and Hollywood, Aug. 12-29, return with a hybrid of live and virtual performances, Hartstone says this new way of working can ''bridge distance'' enabling theatre companies to take part without the expense of travel.
They both hope this new way of working will make theatre more accessible and able to compete in the growing streaming space.
''So it now means that the art form is changing and we're right at the beginning of seeing what that art form is changing into.. it's very exciting to be part of it,'' said Hartstone.
With Kitney adding: ''The minute we start working on the stage, we bring the cameras in. There is no kind of stage rehearsals before looking through a lens ...because the lens is as important as our eyes these days.''
(Production: Sarah Mills)
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