Since theatre reopened in Indianapolis, there have been a number of shows I wanted to see, but I couldn’t. My first instinct was to ask, “Will it be filmed?” I wanted to be able to see the show afterward, if at all possible. But so far, the answer has been no. It’s been disappointing, but understandable.

Once I realized how many times I’d been asking about streaming, I decided that Southbank needed to come up with a streaming plan. If I wanted to see more shows streaming, surely I wasn’t the only one. So I decided to make it my mission to make Southbank a hybrid theatre company — live and in person for those who can and will come to the theatre, and a streaming option for those who can’t.

I was talking to someone earlier today who isn’t ready to go back to the theatre. He said that it was partly because of covid, partly because of energy and age. I told him, “That’s okay — Southbank is committed to streaming all the shows that we can, so you can watch from home.” He was pleased with that response.

One of the only good things about the pandemic, in my opinion, was the proliferation of streaming theatre. I watched so many shows from all over the country — and all over the world! I watched plays and musicals sitting on my couch that I never would have seen otherwise. To be honest, I loved it. And yes, I paid for it. No, it’s not the same as going to the theatre, and it’s not the same as sharing the electricity of a ramped up audience. But it was an experience unto itself.

Having lived in a couple of different places in the country and traveled to several different parts of the world, I have friends in a lot of places. Can they come see every show Southbank puts on? No. But can they stream what we produce? We sure hope so! We’re committed to streaming our shows whenever it’s possible to obtain digital rights. That’s why we’ve hired a professional videographer to film and edit our first production, Seneca and the Soul of Nero. The show will be available on our website (password protected) after we close for a limited time.

Our dedication to making theatre accessible to those who can’t come to the theatre is important to us. Streaming gives us an opportunity to caption our shows for people who are hard of hearing. Maybe someone would like to rewind and see what happened one more time. Or perhaps someone is sick with a cold and they’d rather not share their germs with the audience (thanks!!). There are a lot of reasons to stay home and stream a show. Of course, we want you to come to the theatre, too, but we don’t want to leave people behind who can’t come for whatever reason. That’s why we’re going to make this work.

Making a high quality film product is not cheap, though. So if you believe in our mission to make theatre accessible to everyone who wants to see it, please help us fulfill our commitment to making accessible streaming happen. Donate today! And thank you — not just from me, but from theatregoers all over the world!

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