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Digital Theater puts shows online

Legit productions to be available for download

LONDON — New U.K. company Digital Theater has announced that productions from high-profile Brit legit troupes including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida, Royal Court Theater, English Touring Theater and the Young Vic will now be available as Internet downloads. 

The productions — filmed live in front of audiences over two or three performances, on between 5 and 11 remote-controlled, hi-definition cameras embedded in the staging — will be offered as downloads priced at £8.99 (a bit more than $14.50). Offerings are available from the company’s website or on the websites of the individual theaters, using a specially developed Theater Player compatible with all major browsers and operating systems.

“Our aim is to make Digital Theater the focal point for theater-based entertainment online,” said co-founders Robert Delamere and Tom Shaw.

The first productions include English Touring Theater’s “Far From the Madding Crowd,” described by Delamere as “a 52-scene epic,” and at the other end of the spectrum, the Young Vic’s “Kafka’s Monkey,” a one-woman adaptation of Kafka.

Further productions from the Almeida, Royal Court and Royal Shakespeare Company are scheduled to appear in 2010.

Unlike the NTLive program of screening theater productions in cinemas worldwide, this initiative is focused on direct access via Internet use. Delamere and Shaw intend to grow the site into an archive of key U.K. productions.  

Dominic Cooke, a.d. of the Royal Court, said, “We’re always looking for ways to bring our work to the largest possible number of people. And the potential of digital technology to connect with a worldwide audience is genuinely exciting.”