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What to Consider When Planning Your Virtual Reading

The first few weeks of the pandemic, we expected it. We expected the shutdown to close our theaters for a few months until it was safe. Once Broadway closed for longer, we found ways around it. We postponed our events until the summer, or until the pandemic was “over”…

Now, we are several months, almost one year, into this pandemic. The way we live now very well may become our “new normal”. Theater-goers are anxious to get back, actors are extremely ready to get back on stage, and writers have been typing their thoughts away for months. Yet there is no “safe” way to produce theater in the ways we did in the past. 

So what can we do in the meantime? 

As the virtual world continues to grow, so do the opportunities we have. Technology has rapidly increased in the last year, as people are creating advancements that can better suit these kinds of events. As the pandemic has continued, we’ve upgraded from pre-recorded Live-streamed readings on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo to readings and performances on new platforms like Zoom and other streaming services like StreamYard. These readings can provide opportunities for all careers in theater. They provide possibilities for these artists to practice their craft during a time where many are unable to. Virtual readings maintain a presence in the community until in-person performances can resume. 

Things to consider in planning your Virtual Reading:

  1. What is the purpose of your reading?
    • Will it be private or public?
      • Is this just a way to hear your work read out loud? 
      • Are producers or directors watching it? 
      • Do you want to move forward with the performance after the reading?
    • Will it be live? Or will it be prerecorded? 
      • Livestream your Zoom call: is not time consuming, but can technical difficulties may arise. 
      • Pre-recorded: which would require each actor to set up a separate camera during the Zoom to self-film. You would then take those videos, splice them together and live stream the post-edit version.
    • Who is needed?
      • Directors, Actors, Producers, Playwrights, and Technical Directors: Stage Manager, Lighting, Scenic, and Sound Designers

Every virtual reading will be different just like every staged reading is different. It is important to find out what works best for you. And we’re here to help you every step of the way.

P.S. For more insights like these, join our tribe of TheaterMakers at The TheaterMakers Studio and open up a treasure trove of resources that will help you put together your virtual reading, and help get you to the next stage of production.

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