Ever since America’s theaters shut down in March, I’ve been reviewing streaming webcasts of theater productions. Not solely have I been persistently impressed by the creative and technical high quality of those performances, however I rapidly realized that they have been and are good for theater in all types of the way: placing an organization again in contact with its patrons; placing unemployed actors again to work; and offering theaters with an revenue stream that’s small however probably vital (San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre introduced in $60,000 with its first two webcasts). It might probably additionally give a regional theater a nationwide profile that may be unimaginable to get in every other means. Each regional creative director to whom I’ve spoken needs to proceed
webcasting after the pandemic is over, for all these causes and yet another: It should make their exhibits accessible to older patrons who discover it more and more troublesome to exit.
However I’ve additionally observed that solely a small proportion of American theaters are placing their exhibits on-line. After I ask their creative administrators why, they sometimes say the identical factor: “Actors’ Fairness.”
Actors’ Fairness Affiliation is the union that represents skilled stage actors and stage managers. It has lengthy been opposed on precept to pay-per-view webcasting, arguing that it discourages folks from coming to the theater to observe a stay efficiency, thus resulting in shorter runs and fewer workweeks for Fairness members.
So after the pandemic closed American theaters, Fairness initially insisted on placing a good cap on admission to webcasts, limiting it to the quantity of people that may theoretically have seen the present within the theater had it been open. In case your theater has 250 seats and also you wished to webcast the present 4 occasions, you have been permitted to promote just one,000 digital “tickets.”