In these times of no live theatre performance (apart from digital alternatives), Fringe theatre has been badly affected. With no stage for their performances and summer festivals cancelled, they have had to either become creative online or go and find a job in another sector. I was, therefore, very pleased to hear about a wonderful ‘online fringe theatre hub’ which at the click of a button, opens up the world of fringe theatre without leaving your home.
Set up in 2019, Caroline Friedman had an idea to help people who would love to attend live theatre performances, but are unable to do so for a multiple of reasons – cost, accessibility, etc. In creating this online off west end and fringe theatre hub, Friedman has widened the audience reach for these artists, who normally inhabit the small niche pub theatres. You know, the ones we all love to go to, to see wonderful experimental theatre that you won’t see in the large theatres.
Friedman’s viewpoint comes from her role as an Offies assessor for those well known Off West End Awards. Frequenting these small venues, she realised that they can be quite inaccessible for those who have issues with stairs or other incapacities. Being able to be a part of the theatre going experience, but in their own home was a more comfortable alternative.
For the artists, it allows them to showcase their shows to an audience who cannot get into a theatre regularly but miss the excitement of the live performance; the individuality of each show.
There is no charge to artists to place their show onto the hub. There are some standards to be met, but as an online fringe theatre hub these are not onerous. In return, their show has a small write up, reviews can be submitted, and they have the opportunity to be on a virtual stage, even when they have left the theatre. In return for this opportunity, Scenesaver do not charge the viewer, but ask the audience if they could make a small donation which is passed on directly to the creatives and cast of the production. There is a vast array of genre of theatre on this site, definitely something for everybody.
When Scenesaver was established, they could not have known what would happen only a year ahead. The COVID-19 virus has decimated the theatre industry, but ventures such as these can help to make a difference to freelancers trying to make their way on an already difficult career path without the added complications this virus has thrust upon them.
North West End UK are pleased to support this venture, and we aim to provide reviews for shows on an ongoing basis. We cannot allow the tender roots of the theatre industry to die!
Please go to the Scenesaver website and take a look around. New shows are being added regularly, and artists – please consider adding your shows onto the hub. Scenesaver are also the official site of the OffWestEnd Theatre OnComm Awards 2020.