What is Stagecloud?
Stagecloud was founded in 2015 by Sean Douglass, a playwright, dramaturg, and the current Managing Editor of The Clyde Fitch Report. We're the first streaming service for regional theater and an occasional producing company for original work. We know theater streaming is still a relatively new concept, so here are some frequently asked questions and our responses.
How do I watch plays on Stagecloud?
You can watch plays from Stagecloud on any device you use to watch TV or movies--your desktop, phone, tablet, or your TV. After buying or renting a play, you can stream it right from our site, but you'll also receive an email with a link you can watch it from, too.
For additional options, like viewing our plays on TV, you'll want to use some tools from our content distributor VHX. When you buy or rent one of our plays, they go in your VHX library, and you can then access this library through any device that has the VHX app, as well as through Roku, Chromecast, etc. (Think of it like buying a show on Amazon, and then watching the show through an Amazon app or streaming channel.) It's not complicated, we'll walk you through the process of using whatever device you want on our help page.
Why put theater online? Is this a replacement for live theater?
Not at all! While we believe theater is, of course, best experienced live, and a live experience cannot be completely replicated online, we do also think it is time for more theater to be available digitally, too. Streaming plays extends their longevity and lets people see work they wouldn't otherwise have access to, while also giving companies a chance to share their work with audiences outside the U.S. as well. So, we've created a space where companies can sell their work online, to create a diverse library of plays that can be watched as easily as content on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. We also occasionally produce our own work.
Theater streaming may sound a little strange at first, and some people may not be interested, but we feel a professionally recorded play can still be almost as compelling as the live event, and our audiences so far agree. Live theater may be the best theater, but getting to watch theater anywhere--on TV at home, on your tablet at the airport, on your phone during your commute--brings it into our culture in a whole new way, and we think that's pretty exciting.
I still have a lot of reservations about putting theater online. For example, won't this hurt ticket sales?
Actually, it's just the opposite. Consider what Broadway producer Ken Davenport recently told us about the digital distribution of his work:
We’ve seen this time and time again on Broadway, you know, when movies started to be made about Broadway musicals again, people were freaking out that ‘Oh my gosh, if you release a Phantom movie now, Phantom will die at the box office. Oh my God, what about Rent? Oh my God, what about Hairspray, oh my God!’ And every time, even if the movies have sucked, the Broadway box office has gone up. It happened every time. So we know it doesn’t cannibalize.
It’s also important to remember just how often in the past we’ve used media to transmit events previously only available live, at no cost to their live attendance. For example, despite the myriad ways to watch football digitally without setting foot in a stadium, attendance at games continues to trend upwards, even as ticket prices are more expensive than ever. Live Nation Entertainment has also recently reported that concert attendance is rising, even though one can watch any singer they want perform for free on YouTube. So putting work online definitely doesn't affect demand for a live experience.
For a longer examination of this issue, as well as responses to other reservations you may have about theater streaming, we refer you to this article by our artistic director, "5 Reasons Theater Streaming Won't Kill Theater".
Is it expensive?
Nope. Plays on Stagecloud cost about the same as renting or buying a movie--just a few dollars. And the majority of the revenue goes back to the artists that originally created the show.
I like movies and TV, but I'm not really into theater. Is Stagecloud for me?
Yes! Stagecloud is meant to appeal to both active theatergoers who closely follow the industry and casual audiences who are ready to try something new. While Stagecloud will probably be most interesting to people who already enjoy live theater, we want everyone to understand that plays are, of course, as complex, engaging, and fun as the shows they enjoy in other media--they just happens to tell their stories in a slightly different way, live and on a stage in front of an audience. So regardless of their previous experience with theater, we think you'll be able to find something you enjoy in our library.
For questions and inquiries, you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stagecloud does not currently accept script submissions. Information on regional casting will be announced as necessary in our News section.