I’m doubtful.  There’s something you just can’t seem to capture with the camera.  That having been said, I’ve seen videos that did a much better job than others.


Digital Theatre is taking the filming of live performances to a new, captivating level.

The traditional method for filming theatre, locking down a video camera and hitting record, is enough to make even a virtuoso performance seem average. But that’s mostly how theatre is filmed. “It’s like being on the back row, in the worst seats,” says theatre director Robert Delamere. “There’s this complete attitude of, ‘You just don’t interfere, it’s merely archival material and it doesn’t have any value.’ Nobody seemed to have applied film language to it.” Fed up, he launched Digital Theatre in 2009 with Tom Shaw to capture plays, including Parlour Song and The Comedy of Errors, in a more engaging way.

Using up to ten cameras positioned around the auditorium, his team operate like a cinematic crew, exploiting angles and field sizes to create a movie that is later put online to download for £6.99. In the process, they hope to make British theatre accessible to all. So far, visitors from about 50 countries have downloaded shows from their repertoire.

Now boasting nine artistic partners – from the RSC to the Young Vic – the company has begun to film action offstage, too, documenting actors in preparation and behind-the-scenes horseplay.

But can Digital Theatre emulate the live experience? “We’re not pretending to replace a 5,000-year-old art form,” says Delamere. “That’d be the height of hubris.”