The art of live theatre has been evolving for thousands of years, experiencing a variety of transformations with new theatre technology. What was once a few male actors ‘in the round’ in ancient Greece has transformed into multi-million dollar productions, a culture of inclusivity, and shows that cover virtually every topic under the sun.

The addition of new technology over time means theatre continues to grow. On The Stage explores six new trends for theatres that are hoping to stay on the cutting edge. 

Tech Trends for Theatres

A Switch to Digital Ticketing 

Physical ticketing will soon become a thing of the past in virtually every industry. A switch from pen and paper to digital ticketing welcomes myriad benefits:

  • With digital ticketing, you produce less general waste and thus emit a smaller carbon footprint. Go green! 
  • You’ll have quicker and easier check-ins come performance time with ticket scanners as opposed to ticket rippers.
  • You’ll see an uptick in your overall budget when you don’t have to buy materials for creating and printing tickets yourself.
  • There will be more time to focus on your theatre and your show when your ticketing website does the work for you.
  • Digital ticketing is far more accessible to more people – meaning you’ll see more people in seats! 
  • For your patrons, digital tickets are far less likely to be ‘lost.’ This means more convenience for everyone and less time worrying about logistics. 

Lighting Design

Over the course of theatre history, lighting has evolved drastically. After all, the Greeks and Romans simply had to worry about creating open-air theatres utilizing natural light. Now, we have a century’s worth of technology upgrades to utilize.

In today’s theatre market, lighting adds another layer of depth and complexity to a show. A couple of theatre technology upgrades you can bring into your program include:

  • LED lighting – If you have the time and budget, consider trading in your traditional lighting system for LEDs. Traditional systems, while reliable, are often complicated to set up and expensive to maintain. LED lights, on the other hand, make it easy to instantly change lighting colors onstage, and offer built-in dimmers and remote controls. 
  • Digital lighting – Ditch manual lighting controls and connect your LED lighting to a circuit board. Now, your lighting technician can no longer control lights individually; they can direct the stage cues via a control station. With digital lighting, designers can thus control the patterns, intensity, imagery, and light colors projecting onto the stage from one station.

Sound Design

A great theatrical showcase won’t mean much to audience members if they can’t hear anything. So, investing in new sound technology could be key to your show’s success. Two such upgrades in sound design come in the form of updated speaker systems and microphones.

  • Speaker systems – Having crisp, clean sound through the speakers is a luxury many theatres can’t afford. But if you have the budget, look into portable loudspeakers, upgraded speaker systems, surround-sound technology, sound-mixing programs and workshops, and amplifiers to add realism and immersion to your production.
  • Microphones – A performer’s mobility on stage is paramount to an organic performance, so make sure you’re investing in top-quality portable, wireless microphones for your leads, as well as stage microphones that can catch the ensemble’s dazzling harmonies.

Visual Upgrades

Theatre performances’ general visual presentations to their audiences have grown dramatically over the years. Now, audiences are experiencing hyper-realistic sets, gorgeous backdrops, stunning costumes, and top-quality props. A few ways to enhance your show visually include: 

  • 3D Printing – Ease the burden of prop and backdrop creation by investing in a 3D printer. Set design can be quicker and easier than ever, eliminating the need for hours on end doing manual labor. 
  • Automation – Cable systems, motors, electronic controls, and control software can all help in the journey toward seamless automation. This theatre technology allows directors to add more complex set elements and create smooth transitions without the ‘clomp clomp’ of crew members switching set pieces around. 
  • Rigging upgrades – Automated stage rigging is becoming more popular as the years go by. Utilizing electrical winches to move line sets, as opposed to manual hoists, can help with scene transitions and any scenes in which an actor needs to ‘fly.’ Now, your creativity can drive the show! 

Digital Fundraising and Donor Management

Theatre technology upgrades are not just helping theatres in the creative department – donor management software and digital fundraising are keeping industry leaders at the top of their games, too. A few benefits of taking your fundraising and donor management online include the ability to:

  • Launch seamless fundraising campaigns and collect donations online
  • Track one-time and ongoing donations, meaning you can more easily foster relationships with donors
  • Set financial goals and digitally track their progress 
  • Manage and grow your donors via automated correspondence 
  • Track patron activity 
  • Optimize fundraising strategies 
  • Easily identify high-value customers with auto-updating lifetime value reports 

A Focus on Accessibility Through Streaming

In an increasingly digital world, you’ll notice a growing focus on live streaming, video on demand, and Zoom productions. Taking your theatre performance digital offers myriad benefits, including:

  • A wider potential audience
  • More tickets sold and more revenue streams available; after all, there are no seating limits in the digital sphere! 
  • More opportunities for patrons to support your program from afar 
  • A longer “shelf-life” for your production with video-on-demand options, keeping people interested in your work year-round 
  • A focus on inclusivity and accessibility 
  • An increase in patron engagement via unique viewing options/engagement tools

How On The Stage Can Help

New theatre technology can be overwhelming, it’s true. But On The Stage is here to help. After all, OTS is in the business of technology, in service to the arts! We strive to help bridge the gap between theatre and technology in a way that is innovative, helpful, and user-friendly.

With OTS’ all-in-one technology platform, tailored specifically to the arts, you can tackle:

And so much more – all for free. If you’re interested in taking your theatre to the next level, book a personalized demo today.