Would you watch a live Downton performance? / Credit: ITV
Would you watch a live Downton performance? / Credit: ITV

A new report from lastminute.com looking into the future of theatre finds that many Brits are eager to see some of their favourite television shows come to the live stage, following the announcement earlier this month that Fawlty Towers would be making the move.

Speaking to 2,000 British theatre fans and 25 top theatre insiders, the survey found that 61% of experts believe the next decade will see some dramatic changes within the world of theatre, with big names from the world of movies, TV and celebrity predicted to take centre stage.

Technological innovations are also said to be taking a leading role, with immersive, interactive experiences predicted through cutting edge technology, allowing the audience to direct the action on stage in real time using social media.

Editor of The Stage, Alistair Smith comments: "Whilst traditional theatre will remain dominant, immersive theatre will continue to expand over the next ten years. Punchdrunk's shows, which have pioneered placing audiences with an immersive theatrical world, have been great examples of how this work can reach out to new audiences and work commercially. As our lives become more and more virtual, people will want their theatre experiences to become increasingly real and immersive. I'd expect to see more companies experimenting with work in non-theatre spaces, perhaps paired with themed bars, restaurants and parties, and utilising mobile digital technology to involve the audience in a production."

He continues: "Holograms, or 3D technology, have already been used pretty extensively in pantomime and the report suggests there's an appetite for this to be rolled out to theatre more generally. Certainly, there has been an increased use of projection in theatre design in recent years and you'd expect this to continue."

Sherlock Holmes is the show most Brits want to see on stage / Credit: BBC
Sherlock Holmes is the show most Brits want to see on stage / Credit: BBC

The top five television series those who regularly go to the theatre would like to see were named as:

  1. Sherlock Holmes - 29%
  2. Downton Abbey - 23%
  3. Game of Thrones - 20%
  4. Breaking Bad - 16%
  5. Dr Who - 15%

So in love with the idea, 30% of them would consider buying a theatre 'box set', swapping the sofa for the stalls and going to watch several episodes live.

The Great British Bake Off even made its way into the top 10, showing just how reality television could play a major role in the theatre world going forward.

When it comes to casting, these were the top five choices from Brits:

  1. Dr Who's assistant, Dr Who - Emma Watson (26%)
  2. The Doctor, Dr Who - Benedict Cumberbatch (22%)
  3. Lady Grantham, Downton Abbey - Judi Dench (20%)
  4. Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes - David Tennant (17%)
  5. Jon Snow, Game of Thrones - Orlando Bloom (9%)
Could Game of Thrones be a theatre success? / Credit: HBO
Could Game of Thrones be a theatre success? / Credit: HBO

Director of Brand Marketing at lastminute.com, Amanda Cumine said: "West End Theatres are British institutions and constantly live up to their reputation by not only keeping up beloved theatre traditions but also by striving to be hugely innovative, so like an encore we keep coming back for more. Incredible acting performances, stunning staging and the excitement of the live experience will always wow us. And to capture our imagination even more, theatre experts predict that the rapid development of technologies like social media and immersive experiences will be what leads the theatre into the future.

"Many of today's most famous shows were originally born out of popular culture or films - think Mamma Mia, Thriller Live and the latest addition, Elf - so it's hardly surprising that Brits are now keen to see the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Who making their West End theatre debuts. Who knows - perhaps we'll see The Great British Shake Off musical soon enough with a Mary Berry lookalike singing all about cakes while the audience are powering the performance through tweets!"

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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