British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Digital Theatre Plus

Fiona Lindsay is the Creative Producer of Digital Theatre Plus, which specialises in online delivery of filmed stage productions on-demand to the education sector. We spoke with her about the company’s activities and how she is working to develop their online learning content.

Q. What is Digital Theatre Plus?

A. Digital Theatre is a company that was set up two years ago to capture the best of British theatre, making each production available to watch online or download to your desktop. On launching the company it became apparent very quickly that there was a huge demand within the education sector to be able to legally show these productions along with supporting materials that opened up the world of the production process.

In response to this need we established Digital Theatre Plus, an online learning resource offering annual subscriptions to schools, universities and libraries.  Each of our full-length productions is made available to watch online alongside supporting media materials.

Essentially it is a series of digital libraries that students and teachers can access to enhance their experience of theatre and the creative performance process. The libraries complement the live experience and are specifically produced to develop understanding and provide a relevant framework for teaching and learning to excite, to educate, to enthuse and most importantly to get theatre into those classrooms and to those students who wouldn’t ordinarily find it easy to walk in the doors of a theatre either for geographical or financial reasons.

David Suchet (Joe Keller) in 'All My Sons' (Photo by Nobby Clark)

Q. How was the resource developed?

We had a soft launch in March at the Education Show in Birmingham and we’re having the official launch in October. We trialled the product through a company called Schools Zone who selected teachers nationally and this led to two-week free trials being offered to schools. We’ve had very positive response and LEAs are also responding really positively and buying it on behalf of groups of schools. At the moment it’s purely a class-based activity but by Christmas there will be the opportunity to engage with a home/school package which we hope will support independent learning at higher education levels

… we have a whole library of documentaries and interviews that connect with each of the filmed projects

Q. What materials are available through Digital Theatre Plus?

We’ve got a production library that contains the whole portfolio of current Digital Theatre films. Sitting beside that we have a whole library of documentaries and interviews that connect with each of the filmed projects and beside that we have a strand of written material that focuses on playwrights, their plays, the time when they wrote those plays and why they wrote them.

Q. How do you choose what to film?

We have some significant partners including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court, The Young Vic and the Almeida amongst other producing theatre companies. We work partnership with them to decide what we will schedule to film What drives the selection is a desire to capture the best possible work and those productins that will provide an enriched and enhanced theatre learning experience for young audiences.

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