Live theatre film season draws crowd
BRIGHT’S Cloud 9 Cinema had a sell-out show at its first screening of the Australian National Theatre Live production ‘Emerald City’ on Monday.
In an Australian first, the partnership between Cloud 9 and ANTLive has allowed the cinema to bring live-filmed theatre productions to North East audiences for the month of September.
ANTLive creative director Grant Dodwell – best known for his role as Dr Simon Bowen in ‘A Country Practice’, a highly-popular 1981-93 Australian television series – said advances in technology allowed live theatre productions to be recorded.
“I’ve always had a passion for theatre and being able to bring the experience of watching live theatre to screen audiences wherever they are, is an exciting opportunity,” he said.
“We have eight cameras recording and to date we have seven theatre productions on film, but of course we are continuing to up that number.”
Mr Dodwell said the aim of filming live stage productions was to ensure everyone had access to live theatre no matter where they lived.
“We had a screening of ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ in a tiny town called Tintinara in South Australia which has a population of about 320 and we had around 100 school kids turn up to watch it,” he said.
“They were blown away with what they saw as about 90 per cent of them had never seen live theatre.
“That’s what the recording does; it makes you feel like you are literally in the theatre watching the performance live – mistakes and all.”
Cloud 9 Cinema owners Shannon and Matt Price said they were thrilled with the reaction from the local community and hoped to be able to continue to bring live-recorded theatre to the region.
“We struggled to get the National Theatre productions up and running here and the National Theatre production people were quite difficult to deal with but we’ve always wanted to be able to bring live theatre productions to the region,” Ms Price said.
“We are really happy to be working with the ANTLive to bring this to our area, and we hope to be able to continue working together.
“We are also looking forward to getting our pop-up cinema out into the wineries around the area and screening some of the live theatre productions.”
Monday night’s ‘ Emerald City’ – by playwright David Williamson – was met with huge applause and the next three shows, ‘ Wharf Revue’, ‘ Liberty Equality Fraternity’ and ‘ Rumpelstiltskin’, will be shown during the next three Sundays.
Mr Dodwell said one of the main aims of recording live theatre was to engage people in live performances.
“It’s not just about showing metro productions in regional and rural areas, further down the track we want to be able to show regional and rural productions to metro areas as well,” he said.
“Many people have never seen live theatre, and even though the productions are on film, it really does feel like you are watching it live.”