Why haven’t more companies explored live streaming?

Streaming theatre, opera and dance productions live into cinemas has succeeded overseas, so what's holding local companies back?

The Australian Ballet’s Benedicte Bemet and François-Eloi Lavignac. Photography Kate Longley.

Launched in 2009, National Theatre Live was a bold experiment that beamed the company’s production of Phèdre, starring Helen Mirren, to 70 cinemas across the UK and a further five cinemas in Europe. While concerns were raised that a filmed production could never capture the magic of live theatre, the experiment was an immediate success, according to economist David Throsby, who helped evaluate the results.  

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts