SOLT, UK Theatre and Arts Council England Publish Live-To-Digital Report

SOLT, UK Theatre and Arts Council England Publish Live-To-Digital Report

London Coliseum auditorium. Credit Richard Haughton
Credit Richard Haughton

Society of London Theatre (SOLT), UK Theatre and Arts Council England (ACE) have published “From Live-To-Digital”, the first authoritative piece of primary research into the impacts and opportunities of live to digital work on theatre audiences and organisations.

The report, which was carried out by AEA Consulting, found that:

  • Audiences do not believe Live-to-Digital is a substitute for live theatre; they believe it is a significant and distinct experience   
  • There has been minimal impact on live attendance
  • Overall touring has remained stable, but some organisations are experiencing challenges
  • 54% said they preferred live theatre
  • Streamers are younger and more diverse than live theatre and Event Cinema audiences
  • Overall, organisations believe Live-to-Digital to have had a positive impact
  • 40% of organisations who have not yet entered the market say that a “lack of understanding about how to enter the market” is holding them back

In response to the report, the SOLT, UK Theatre and Arts Council England have set out a series of actions which they will separately lead on to capitalise on the growing success of the use of digital technologies. Arts Council England will undertake further research to investigate the creation of new showcasing opportunities while UK Theatre will support Live-to-Digital capacity-building, negotiate standard agreements for digital rights, and explore the facilitation of an Event Cinema clash diary. The organisations’ response, the full report and an executive summary can be read in full at

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of SOLT and UK Theatre, said:

“The UK’s theatre industry has been at the forefront of many technical innovations and has continued to adapt and thrive. We welcome the findings of this report which will help us roadmap how ACE, UK Theatre and SOLT can work with organisations to help ensure the sector remains vibrant and relevant in a fast-changing landscape while embracing the evolving digital technologies and continuing to celebrate live performance which is so unique to theatre’s appeal”. 

Simon Mellor, Executive Director of Arts and Culture at Arts Council England, said:

“We’re delighted to have partnered with UK Theatre and SOLT to commission this important piece of research. It clearly shows that the threat from ‘live to digital’ to live theatre is minimal. We therefore look forward to working with these organisations and other parties committed to building a vibrant future theatre ecology to work to grow audiences for all aspects of contemporary theatre making, including the ‘live to digital’ experience.

“We will also continue to invest in opportunities that support theatre makers to develop the skills they need to take advantage of the new opportunities that digital technologies provide.  At the same time we will commission further research that looks at the impact of ‘live to digital’ on other art forms.”

To read the report in full, visit

Date Published: 11 October 2016
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