The Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London has announced that it will make its staged productions available to watch on-demand from any web-enabled device.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors visit the Globe, the replica of Shakespeare's theatre on the south bank of the River Thames, to see the playwright’s works performed in the open air just as they would have been in the 16th century.
Now viewers will be able to watch more than 50 Shakespeare productions from the comfort of their home – or in fact anywhere they have a broadband signal – on a computer, mobile device or tablet.
This continues the trend begun in recent years in which theatres, operas and ballet companies have all reached audiences worldwide by broadcasting their productions live to cinemas.
Globe plays, including the celebrated production of 'Twelfth Night' with Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry, will be available to rent or buy from the new Globe Player platform. The theatre said it is the first in the world to make its plays available as video-on-demand.
The Globe's artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, said: “The Globe is always looking for bold new ways to take Shakespeare out into the world and share his astonishing plays with as many people as possible.
“Globe Player will allow us to reach brand new audiences and to make access to our productions simple and seamless for anyone with the Internet. We are delighted to be the first theatre with its own dedicated video-on-demand platform.”
The open-air Globe theatre runs productions from April to October. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a candle-lit, indoor recreation of a Jacobean theatre, opened earlier this year to allow productions to be staged on the Globe site throughout the year.
The Globe began filming its productions in 2009. Rentals cost up to £4 and the Globe is charging £8 for downloads.