Cinema has gone 3D. The big blockbusters such as Transformers and Harry Potter use 3D visuals to surprise, shock and excite their audience. Smaller budget films such as TT3D and art history films such as The Cave of Forgotten Dreams try to expand the experience for their audience using the technology. More football matches are being screened through Sky 3D – even Wimbledon was 3D this year. This, it seems, is the next ‘big thing’ and, more importantly, audiences are lapping it up.

When the re-introduction of 3D cinema started to come about a few years ago, I heard a number of people state that if an audience wanted 3D then they should go to the theatre – real people, real time, real experience. But whilst films are successfully moving into 3D, why is it that so many theatre shows are going 2D?

There are not many recordings of theatre performances that work. We all remember being sat in front of a TV in GCSE English, forced to watch badly-filmed productions of Shakespeare. Granted, it must be very difficult to capture the atmosphere, the movement and the focus with a camera that’s stuck on a wide angle to cover the whole stage. However with all of the software and high-tech filming equipment available to us in 2011, could filming become the next big thing in theatre?

The filming and live-streaming of theatre is getting to be big business. The National Theatre’s project, NT Live, which involves performances such as Frankenstein being filmed and streamed to cinemas, has received a fantastic response. This project opens the door to a brand new audience – more people than the Olivier theatre could hold and a demographic that might not be able to afford a show. Indeed the recent screening of Madame Butterfly in Trafalgar Square streamed from the Royal Opera House attracted record crowds. This has to be a good thing.

And it’s not just theatres that are jumping on the live-streaming band wagon. You cannot glance at Twitter without noticing another conference being streamed live online where everyone can benefit and input from their sofa (often more comfy and with better tea and biscuit facilities). With live streaming becoming increasingly popular in all fields, it could be argued that it no longer seems necessary to be present at an event to experience it, to be a part of it or gain from it.

So, with all this in mind, we have decided to take one giant leap for Filskit and have signed up to live stream one of the performances of Snow White in August, when we perform at The Shaw Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe. Now, don’t misunderstand, The Shaw is definitely the largest space we have ever had to fill, but the idea of performing for a potential worldwide audience is very exciting indeed – if not a little terrifying.

Camden Theatres is working very hard for as many shows as possible to live stream onto its website where, for a small fee, anyone around the world can log on and watch the show live, as it happens, and then later through an ‘on demand’ service. This is an excellent opportunity and one that could be embraced by other festivals where seating is often restricted and theatre companies are looking for exposure.

We are all really enthusiastic about this idea and keen to make the most of the event. Our musician, for example, is from New Zealand and for the first time, her family and friends will be able to watch the performance and share the experience. On a promotional level, if a programmer, agent or potential funder can’t make the actual performance, we can plug the live stream and on demand service (there is no escape!).

This will be a test year, and it involves a lot of work from the venues and the technicians to make it happen. We know well enough by now that when working with technology you should always be prepared for hiccups, so it will be interesting to see how many people sign up.

This is something we want to work. Yet it is the loss of the experience, the actual sharing of space and air within the event that we think will be the most difficult obstacle. As theatre makers and performers, it will be interesting to see how we take our potential new online audience into account when rehearsing for the show and in performance. This is definitely our biggest challenge to date. Looking back at the suspect Shakespeare productions that we watched in GCSE English, we need to question if it was not only the filming that was to blame but the productions’ suitability for being filmed. It is now our responsibility to create a viewing experience fit for a present and an online audience made up of adults and children alike. Watch this space to see how we get on.

Making theatre accessible and relevant to a generation which is used to instant entertainment from laptops, smart phones and ipads is not always going to be easy. But if they, through live streamed performance, can get a taste of the possibility for a fuller experience, then we might have our next group of theatre goers, theatre makers and creative types who will probably use technology in ways we can’t even imagine – and here’s to that!