The Playgoer: RNT gets Digital

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

RNT gets Digital

So that Nick Hytner really is trying to follow through on his talk of rejuvenating the profile of his Royal National Theatre. Not only do they have a Facebook page (yes, the Royal National Theatre on Facebook--what would Lord Larry say!), but can you imagine YouTube! Yes, they are producing video "trailers," interviews, and other treats to feature their classy nationally subsidized productions on YouTube.

Dumbing down? Hardly. Check out the snappy trailer for that rad new play, Gorky's Philistines.

Naturally I wonder if:

a) any NYC non-profit theatres will try this. (I'm sure B'way producers already have.)


b) if so, whether they would be so lame no one would watch.

Actually, I do hope some try it. It's often said how tv advertising has long been prohibitively expensive for most theatre productions--profit or non. But how much to slap something nice together online?

You can read up on RNT's foray in the Guardian.


Art said...

Let's hope if they do try it that the trailers are better than most of the cheesey radio ads that are produced both in New York and regionally.

Anonymous said...

Spring Awakening did a series of promotional videos that, I think, were available as video podcasts and via YouTube before or in the very early stages of the Broadway run. They were pretty effective I think.

Jeff said...

Hey Garrett - Jeff from The Brick here. Just thought it would be appropriate to point out in this context that we created a video trailer for the Pretentious Festival - it's all smoke and mirrors (in some cases literally, but also in that no actual Pretentious Festival programming is replicated), but it was useful in terms of getting the ball rolling in terms of selling a concept to the audience before there were many specific examples of it to show. The curious can view the film at

Slay said...

Aren't LOTS of theatre and dance groups using YouTube these days? Shouldn't the news be that The National's YouTube content is generally horrible? I guess it's news because it's the National, and maybe it's a surprisingly hip thing for them to do. (Facebook, wow.)

There was a conference for touring groups with the National Performance Network recently, and all the producers said they'd be disappointed to find a touring artist without stuff on YouTube. Heck, Available light (my group) uses YouTube, and Daily Motion, and has videos on our own site.

I realize these links are opening the door for criticism of our efforts, but that's okay. I can take it. The cost of these videos is very low, but it makes a lot of difference to some people.

AVLT on Daily Motion

AVLT on YouTube

MadLab has lots of trailers

Cassie Beck said...

Yes, I do think these theater "trailers" can be quite effective. I'm a Co-Artistic Director for a small independent theater company in San Francisco, Crowded Fire, and we've begun to create not only trailers for shows, but for our company in genereal, as well as behind the scenes videos of the rehearsal process. Because we are mostly producers of new works and world premieres, we like to feature pod casts and videos of playwrights and all involved in the debut of a piece.

Here's the catch, we use Equity actors. The contracts and agreements small non- profits have with AEA don't allow for much freedom of image. At least not online. We are really hitting a wall in the Bay Area as far as content and what's permissible footage to use as marketing tools. Even if we have written consent from our union performers, and even if we don't record a performance, the rules are tricky and out dated. Crowded Fire is trying to get our videos approved in a timely fashion in order to create buzz before a show opens. And we want to be above the boards and make these videos with everyone's consent.

Times are changing, and Equity needs to change with it! How can we ever be expected to keep up with an online audience if we don't have access to the technological tools of today to feature our product?

Check out our video for our production of Anna Bella Eema here,