Any theatre enthusiast will have heard of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London, an authentic recreation of a 17th century Elizabethan playhouse. Cinemagoers in Australia, New Zealand and the United States will soon be able to watch theatrical productions from this famous theatre’s upcoming season, as The Globe is set to become the latest theatre to screen its productions for worldwide cinemas.
Many theatres have already been filming their stage productions for DVD, but the Globe has paired up with a digital cinema provider to release selected plays for the cinema.
Advances in new theatre technology such as theatre and stage lighting, acoustical equipment and rigging mean that theatrical productions can now be translated into the medium of film much more effectively. Plays can be heard and seen more clearly than ever in the cinema with greater clarity and sharpness. Audiences watching the production at movie theatres will be able to experience the drama as if they were actually in Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.
Watching the productions in a cinema means that international viewers won’t have to contend with the unpredictable British weather, as they will be sitting comfortably indoors. Live broadcasting from the Globe won’t be possible because of the open-air nature of the venue, but worldwide audiences can enjoy the next best thing.
The Globe should benefit immensely from having its productions screened in cinemas. A study by the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) revealed that cinema screenings make the theatre more accessible to a broader audience. Those on lower incomes are more likely to see the productions at the cinema than a theatre. More people than ever will be able to reap the cultural benefits of the world of theatre.
The Globe’s on Screen Season opens with Janie Dee starring in All’s Well That Ends Well. Much Ado About Nothing, produced by Jeremy Herrin, is next on the list. The grand finale of the season is Doctor Faustus, in which Arthur Darvill, star of British cult TV series Dr Who, played Mephistopheles.