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Online performance with "live" audience?

  • 1.  Online performance with "live" audience?

    Posted 08-28-2020 18:47
    Hello all - Our school is doing the distance learning (Zoom) thing for at least the first quarter, so our fall production will be rehearsed on Zoom, and performed on Zoom or some other online platform. I'm not yet sure if we'll try to perform live (in real time), or stream a pre-recorded and edited performance (and yes, we'll obtain the proper license to do whichever). My question is this: Is there a way to present an online performance in such a way that the audience is actually "present"? My worry is that having the actors perform into a black hole with no response whatever will be disheartening (kind of like comics performing their shtick into a silent camera with no feedback - really difficult and depressing!). We'll be looking for an online platform where we can sell tickets to live/streamed performances (i.e. people buy a ticket to see the show on a certain date at a certain time), but do any of them permit the audience to be audible (at least) to the actors? I think it would lovely if the actors could hear their audience laugh at the dialogue, and applaud when it's time. On the other hand, we would *not* want to hear audience members chatting or commenting to their companions. What do you think? Is there a way to do this, or should we even try?

    Stuart Rosenthal
    Director of Fine & Performing Arts
    Miami FL

  • 2.  RE: Online performance with "live" audience?

    Posted 08-29-2020 09:23
    @Stuart Rosenthal

    This is exactly what I want to do. I want to Record & Stream for 2 reasons: in case a kid has trouble with their internet (it's not like missing a cue because it's not their fault, and no one can alert them backstage) And the music lag so we'll be Editing the songs like music videos.  

    I'm looking for a platform that I can open up the Audience mics At the end of each scene when the pianist is playing the crossover music and at the end of each song where applause would be.

    Anyone know how I can do this?


    Maria Stadtmueller 
    St. Augustine School 
    Kendall Park, NJ

    Sent from my iPhone


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  • 3.  RE: Online performance with "live" audience?

    Posted 08-29-2020 13:46
    Dear Stuart,
    Live streaming with an audience is something you may want to build up to versus start out with. Recording live is another issue, but again, unless you're using a multi-camera shoot what are you showing your audience other than one person's perspective from a seat in you theater, usually in a wide shot that is neither set for stage lighting temperatures or color schemes. If your school has a video/film program, having them shoot as a three-camera production and editing it would better serve you. This way you can have varying shoots make it more visually stimulating. You're then looking at streaming on one of the many streaming sites -- some of the HS ticketing companies have set up streaming capability through their platforms, so check with whomever you do ticketing through --- and I can assure you. they will have suggestions that work best through their services.
    As for an audience, that's all about the safety precautions you can set in place and the risk you're willing to take; make sure to check with your admin and review your District's current policy, which will change as the health crisis does.
    Remember to stream live (and doing it well) with kids is asking them to broadcast live television without that experience and on a source (streaming) that is not stable. There's plenty of other options that provide the end result of getting the work out there for the public to see. Just my two cents.

    Joseph D'Aquino
    Newport Harbor High School
    Drama Department Program Director

  • 4.  RE: Online performance with "live" audience?

    Posted 08-29-2020 15:11
    Hi Stuart,

    We are thinking about the exact same scenario. So what we hope to do is to get an outdoor blow up screen and project the Zoom pre-recorded show like an outdoor movie showing on the big screen. That way we can have a live audience watching the show with the cast watching in real time, while following all outdoor COVID CDC guidelines.

    Hope this helps.



    Laura Rizzo
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Miami Country Day School
    Miami FL

  • 5.  RE: Online performance with "live" audience?

    Posted 28 days ago
    That's what we're aiming to do. We hope to have a sort of "drive in" with an inflatable projection screen.

    Jessica Ciaramella
    Bensalem PA

  • 6.  RE: Online performance with "live" audience?

    Posted 08-29-2020 23:16


    I'm looking to modify for Zoom the 5 or 6 (2 hr.) Acting Classes that I normally hold in the fall.  I would like to use the same theatre games for continuity but modify them for Zoom. I also want to use this opportunity to have guest artists for not only acting & improv but also for makeup & costumes. 

    BJ has been highly recommended on this Forum for Improv. 

    Timothy Mooney does great Shakespeare shows.  I'm hoping to get him to show the kids how to still act while sitting in front of the Zoom screen.  I saw his Lot O' Shakespeare last week and he is fabulous!  ( )  for Sunday night's 10pm pay what you want show &  for $5 Monday nights 10pm
    Anyone have ideas on how to modify these games for Zoom:
    Freeze Tag
    1 – 20
    Taxi Cab
    Mime it Down the Alley
    This is a Watch
    Emotion Party
    Party Quirks
    Led By the Nose
    Guided Mimes
    Magic Chairs
    Adverb Exit
    Walking Tall
    Where Am I?
    What are you doing?
    Solo Pantomimes
    Dance Steps
    Acting Out Nursery Rhymes
    Anything Fabric
    Maria Stadtmueller

    Sent from my iPhone


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