‘My One and Only’

My One and Only artwork

It’s a funny how little things can snowball into bigger things.  As I have said before I’m a theatre geek. I am a huge fan of BBC Radio, especially radio plays, and thanks to the wonders of the internet I listen regularly to the free BBC podcast ‘Play of the Week’. 

In May 2012 I was walking home from work listening to My One and Only, it was an intense drama about obsessive love and stalking which really drew me in. The characters never meet face to face, the whole play was a series of phone calls.

The play made me think about how much of our lives, loves and relationships take place over the phone. I’m amazed by how quickly technology has become pocket sized and is now such an important part of our lives. Most of us rarely leave the house without our phones or get through a meal without making or receiving a call or text message or using our phones to settle an argument by checking a fact online.

I found Dawn King, the playwright, online, and sent her a message on Twitter, another new and very useful piece of technology.  After a few emails back and forth Dawn gave me permission to adapt the play for Adelaide Fringe 2013.  I asked a friend in England to help me adapt the play, we caught up on Skype to talk about the progress of the adaption.  I directed about Layla a young woman and her relationships.

My One and Only premiered at Adelaide Fringe this year and was recently nominated for Adelaide Theatre Guide Award for ‘Best Female Performance (Amateur)’. Sadly at tonight’s award ceremony the lovely Tamara Bennetts didn’t win. But I am incredibly proud that I was able to take a podcast and turn make it snowball into a great piece of theatre. 

Tweets for seats

tweet

I’m a theatre fan, a big theatre fan. I don’t see as much theatre as I like but I go at least twice a month.  This love of theatre can be expensive so I’m always on the look out for cheap tickets. What has this got to do with technology I hear you ask, well my love of technology and more specifically twitter has given me free theatre tickets.

I have been given free theatre tickets in return for tweeting about the show. My first ‘tweets for seats’ experience was a couple of years ago at Adelaide Fringe. The publicist of a local production company offered local theatre loving twitter geeks free tickets to shows if they tweeted about the shows. Thankfully I enjoyed all the shows I saw so didn’t have any problems recommending other people get along. More recently, last month in fact, I was offered free tickets in return for tweeting about a show. I jumped at the chance.  It was a show I wanted to see but couldn’t justify the ticket price given I am about to go overseas. The only condition on the free tickets was that I needed to tweet about the show 5 times in a 24 hour period. Which I did.  I was again been offered free tickets to a show tonight and went. The show I saw was Brief Encounter at State Theatre of South Australia, at it was a wonderful show.

Tweeting for seats can pose an ethical dilemma, what if I don’t like the show? This can be a real problem. I have been given free tickets in return for me tweeting to help to sell tickets. I’m not expected to review the show but I am expected to promote the show.  It’s an interesting ethical dilemma, should I tell my twitter followers or not that I was given the tickets?  I believe that if I have been given free tickets for a show that I am tweeting about that I should let my twitter followers know.  If I’m going to promote something for a fee or free tickets then it is only right I let my followers know that the tweets are sponsored.  If I’m going to endorse a product, service or theatre performance I want to make sure I am 100 % clear about what is sponsored and what is my ‘real’ unsolicited opinion.  I am very lucky that so far I haven’t been stuck with the ethical dilemma of not liking the show I’m supposed to promote. I like to think that is something to do with the shows I agree to tweet in return for seats.

There is much discussion in the marketing world about sponsoring tweets and blog posts, it can be an useful marketing tool but it is generally considered bad form to not declare the the post as sponsored.  Given that celebrity tweeters can make a lot of money tweeting endorsements for products and services it is a problem that is only going to get bigger.

I don’t think I will ever be so famous people will give me cash to promote their product, but free theatre tickets are great.  So when people ask me ‘what’s the point of twitter?’ at least I have an answer now, free theatre tickets.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com – Tweet, Tweet! Tamer Koseli 

NT Live

My last post was about technology connecting us individually. Today I was lucky enough to feel connected to thousands of others around the world. I was in the audience of a screening of “The Audience” by Peter Morgan, starring Helen Mirren as The Queen performed at Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End thanks to NTLive (National Theatre Live) and it was wonderful. 

NTLive began in 2009, with live theatre performances being broadcast live into cinemas around the UK and Europe. These recordings are then screened later around the world. Emma Freud introduced today’s screening of “The Audience” and said the recording was being screened in 25 countries. It is wonderful to feel part of a worldwide theatre audience watching an amazing and beautifully filmed theatre performance. 

Technology has made all of this possible.  Technology is opening the world to us and us to the world. From the early days of ‘fly on the wall documentaries’ and natural history programs, technology has taken us the audience to parts of the world we would never normally see. The technology of television, movies and now the internet gives us all levels of access we have never had before. 

NT Live

This photo is from Flickr.com and Gary Bembridge, the title says it all “There’s a lot of screens and tech going into #NTLive. Buzz is building!”. The photo show just a small part of the technology needed to bring one of the oldest art forms to audiences around the world. 

What saddens me is the size of the audiences of the screenings I have attended. There are rarely more than 20 people. I am always shocked, as anyone who loves theatre and wants the opportunity to see performances they would have to travel 1000’s of kilometres to see should be the first in line. 

I love live theatre but NTLive is a wonderful theatrical and movie experience, there is even an interval. I highly recommend you keep an eye on the NTLive website for updates of the next screening near you.

 

NB: This is an unsolicited post I really just love NTLive.