Theatre Blogging: it’s not what it could be

I heard recently about a director having the nasty experience of inviting a journalist into rehearsals and then having an unhelpful (I haven’t read it, it’s paywalled) preview article published just before the show opens.

Yuk.

Reading about it sent me back to look at what I wrote nearly eleven years ago (!) about using blogging in theatre.  I was surprised to see what emphasis I put on buzz and PR (that was how the original question had been framed).  And it’s that angle that all the marketing people picked up. I went to see John Berry at ENO because (see the comments on the post) they were doing something like this a couple of years later.  And a year after this first post, I did a little site about the opening of Avenue Q.  It had to be done, and I’m glad I did it, but I don’t read any of the West End theatre blogs or the mainstream journalism that has taken on our blogging form but sticks to traditional writing styles of reporting and criticism.

But I was thinking about more than marketing.

What I was thinking was of a kind of collaborative production journal, where everyone contributes…  think “The Making of…” fly-on-the-wall documentary style, only on the web, and released in chunks as they happen, day by day rather than being stitched together after the show has closed.

I think this points to something much more interesting to do – about using these tools as part of the production, as part of the artistic process, to log progress and reflect on thinking and how things are emerging, for the benefit of the team themselves much more than prospective audience members and to create something bigger and longer-lasting and more networked than traditional documentation or archiving.  It’s “sources going direct”, cutting out the dependence on news organisations (and their sodding paywalls) and making our own media.

 

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4 thoughts on “Theatre Blogging: it’s not what it could be”

  1. Have you looked at the National Theatre of Scotland blogs at all. No reason why you should… But they have several different productions touring (UK and worldwide) at any one time, and each production blogs in their own voice – views about the play, the tour, insights into characters and so on. They do a lot of outreach, and it might be this that enables them to work in that way.

    Their production of the James plays had several videos of cast, writer and director discussing different aspects of the plays.

    I think many productions are so focused on what they are trying to do that the idea of a production blog other than PR probably wouldn’t occur to them!

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