Chichester Festival Theatre’s hybrid presentation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific has been deemed a critical success by the Sussex based theatre company.
The acclaimed production has received worldwide praise from its viewers and is Chichester Festival Theatre’s (CFT) latest hybrid show where audiences can attend either physically or digitally.
CFT is working in partnership with TicketCo Media Services, whose cloud-based broadcasting and ticketing platform makes watching South Pacific possible in 249 countries.
Caroline Aston, Audience Insight Manager at Chichester Festival Theatre, said streaming performances helps break down barriers that have long prevented people from attending live theatre.
“Hybrid theatre means anyone in the world with an internet connection can access our performances,” said Caroline. “We are making theatre accessible to everyone.
“By broadcasting performances online, we are reaching new audiences and breaking down barriers that previously prevented people from viewing our shows. This could be due to health, travel, disability or social reasons.
“We’ve hosted viewers from the USA, the Philippines, Canada, across Europe and beyond.”
Broadcasting performances of South Pacific was made possible thanks to support from the show’s rights holders Concord Theatricals Ltd on behalf of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organisation.
Both organisations agreed a recorded performance could be broadcast on eight dates and be made available to watch for 24 hours so viewers living in different time zones could tune in at a reasonable hour.
Digital broadcasts have proven popular among UK viewers too. Kate Playdon, who plays Dinah Murphy, was able to perform in front of her 91-year-old grandmother who tuned in from the comfort of her own living room.
Caroline added: “There have been some lovely stories of people watching South Pacific at home who would not have been able to view the show without streaming. People really appreciate being able to watch theatre at home.
“But equally, everyone is excited to be back attending live theatre again. We’ve catered for everyone’s preferences. Many theatregoers enjoyed the show so much that they purchased the stream when they got home.
“It is essential we protect the creatives’ work and ensure video content does not appear in areas where it can be copied or watched for free. Therefore, our partnership with TicketCo is so important as performances can be broadcast securely.”
David Kenny, Head of Global Partnerships at TicketCo Media Services, said: “We’re delighted Chichester Festival Theatre has embraced the power of hybrid theatre to reach new audiences and increase theatregoers’ engagement online.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced venues to close their doors and make performances available online. Now, more theatres are choosing to continue providing this digital add-on service while hosting audiences in person by streaming performances globally.
“Hearing stories of family members of the cast watching their relatives perform via live streaming underlines the power of secure digital broadcasting.”
South Pacific tells the story of an American nurse stationed on an island during World War II who falls in love with a French plantation owner.
Ticketsto watch South Pacific via streaming on September 3 can be purchased here. Streaming passes, which cannot be shared, are priced £20, though viewers can choose to contribute £30 or £40 to support Chichester Festival Theatre’s work.
The show is also available with audio description and a British Sign Language interpreter so viewers with viewing and listening difficulties can tune in.
Further information about Chichester Festival Theatre is available via its website.