Bringing Theatre Online: How Green Room Power kept Theatre alive during COVID restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the entertainment industry, forcing venues like The Congress Theatre to innovate and find new ways to engage with audiences. This case study explores how The Congress Theatre successfully transitioned its diverse range of live performances online during lockdown by collaborating with Green Room Power, a local event tech solutions provider, and embracing technology. Moving beyond the pandemic, The Congress Theatre made a strategic decision to continue its investment in PTZ cameras, permanently installing them to facilitate hybrid performances, both online and in person simultaneously.

In March 2020, as global lockdowns were implemented to curb the spread of the virus, traditional live performances at Congress Theatre came to a halt. Faced with the prospect of prolonged closure, the theatre sought alternative ways to connect with its audience and keep the arts alive without any Government support.

Collaboration with Green Room Power:
Recognising the need for innovation, The Congress Theatre turned to their already technical partner, Green Room Power. The goal was to bring a variety of live performances, including DJ sets, comedy acts, theatre performances, solo artists, bands and dance groups, into the homes of the audience by leveraging new live streaming technology.

Technical Implementation:
To achieve this, remote Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras were installed within the theatre, along with manned track cameras. This allowed for dynamic and professional shots of a diverse array of live performances while adhering to social distancing guidelines. The technical team at Green Room Power ensured seamless integration of these cameras with a robust broadcasting system capable of accommodating the varied nature of the shows.

Diverse Online Performances:
Congress Theatre expanded its online offerings beyond live bands, incorporating stand-up comedy acts, theatre performances, solo artists, dance groups and even a charity 24-hour DJ set. The theatre adapted its stage and technical setup to suit the unique requirements of each performance category, maintaining the essence of live entertainment while optimising for a digital audience.

Hybrid Performance Model:
Recognising the success of the online initiative, The Congress Theatre made the strategic decision to continue its investment in PTZ cameras, permanently installing them within the venue. This innovative move allows the theatre to embrace a hybrid performance model, where shows can be experienced both online and in person simultaneously.

Reaching Thousands at Home and In Person:
With the permanent installation of PTZ cameras, The Congress Theatre now has the capability to offer hybrid performances, reaching audiences both in the comfort of their homes and in the physical theatre space. This flexibility allows the theatre to cater to a broader audience base and adapt to evolving preferences for in-person and online experiences.

Challenges and Solutions:
Navigating the transition to a hybrid performance model presented new challenges, including seamless coordination between online and in-person audiences, maintaining technical quality for both formats, and ensuring a cohesive experience for all viewers. The Congress Theatre and Green Room Power continued their collaborative efforts to address these challenges and enhance the hybrid performance experience.

The strategic investment in PTZ cameras and the adoption of a hybrid performance model proved to be a forward-thinking approach. The Congress Theatre not only sustained its engagement with online audiences but also created a unique and inclusive experience for both virtual and in-person attendees moving forward.

Congress Theatre’s collaboration with Green Room Power exemplifies the importance of embracing technology and creative partnerships in navigating unforeseen challenges in the world of live entertainment. By investing in PTZ cameras and adopting a hybrid performance model, Congress Theatre is not only future-proofing its operations but also redefining the boundaries of live entertainment in a post-pandemic era.