Shake & Stir Virtual
With their live theatrical productions disrupted by COVID-19, shake & stir theatre company is now reaching out to schools with Shake & Stir Virtual
SW: Tell us about Shake & Stir Virtual. What exactly is it?
S & S: Shake & Stir Virtual is a unique on-line portal where teachers and students can access our performances online. Each show has been recorded in a ‘live’ theatre environment across multiple camera angles. This means that although the shows were captured in the one take, viewers can benefit from alternative perspectives – as if they were moving around the audience during the show for a different view. Also available via Virtual, are performance resources, some interactive additional clips and some fun special features.
SW: What shows do you have on offer via this online portal?
S & S: We have all 7 of our in-school productions, including Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare available online with plans to include some of our multi-award winning main-stage productions down the track. There are also interviews with our actors, creatives and directors, along with interactive and live Q&A sessions. This all means that our audiences, especially our teachers and schools, can continue to engage with the company while socially isolating. It’s pretty cool and more is getting added each day.
SW: Why do you think it is important that students watch “live” theatre during this time?
S & S: Beyond that fact that Shake & Stir Virtual will ensure teachers can stay on track with their curriculum, it is so important for young people to have an opportunity to escape and be entertained while going through these difficult times. Many of our schools and student audiences have grown up with shake & stir and we hope that having access to our productions on their own devices at home will give a sense of normality and comfort. Plus, the way we created the virtual shows makes them feel very much live and distinct to what young people traditionally engage with online – there is a sense of urgency and in-the-moment that these shows capture.
SW: What do you think will happen to companies like shake & stir if alternative methods of delivery are not embraced by consumers during these unusual times?
S & S: It is vitally important that companies like shake & stir accept the current reality and act and adapt as best as possible. We should be giving our audiences every possible reason to continue to engage with us until we can once again return to theatres and schools across the country. With no clear idea as to when this will be over, it is difficult but essential to work out how an industry like the live arts can continue with bans on social gatherings.
The obvious thing is to somehow temporarily move online. But then it is also vital to capture what makes live theatre unique – by definition, it must happen right there in front of you. Otherwise, it is just a poor substitute to the great passive options viewers have on Netflix. Great live theatre demands a certain degree of participation from the audience and that is the challenge with delivering it virtually. We learn more about this new medium every day.
If audiences don’t accept that how they consume live theatre has temporarily changed, and continue to support theatre companies, there will be significantly fewer companies left on the other side. And audiences can support companies through these tough times in many ways. If you’ve brought tickets to a show which has been cancelled, consider donating your refund to the company to support them and their team. Enrol in an online class with an actor you may have seen in a show. Most importantly, when the curtain does rise again, GO AND SEE LIVE THEATRE.
In the meantime, please visit www.shakeandstirvirtual.com.au