The power of live streaming has been utilised by Tall Stories Theatre Company to directly support 15 top UK regional theatres engage with their audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more than 20 years, London-based Tall Stories has brought theatre to life for audiences of all ages. With the company’s unique brand of physical storytelling theatre, they tour as far afield as from Cornwall to Aberdeen and New York to Sydney.

But COVID-19 restrictions meant the team behind the theatre production company had to adapt the way they deliver their shows. Consequently, a partnership with live streaming company TicketCo TV was formed ahead of the charity’s 15 performances of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s critically acclaimed book The Snail and the Whale.

By partnering with TicketCo TV, Tall Stories were able to sell tickets, promote, and live stream all their performances of The Snail and the Whale directly into the homes of thousands of viewers via one platform, providing much-needed family entertainment over October half-term.

Though each show was performed in Tall Stories’ brand new Islington Central Library based studio, The Snail and the Whale was taken on a virtual tour of the UK. Each show was performed in partnership with a regional venue, with a proportion of the proceeds from each show going to the ‘host’ theatre.

Theatres included on the show’s tour included: The Lowry, Salford; Derby Theatre; Hertford Theatre; New Theatre, Cardiff; Belgrade Theatre, Coventry; Theatre Royal, Nottingham; Town Hall, Birmingham; Eden Court, Inverness; Brighton Dome; Hull New Theatre; Dundee Rep Theatre; Theatre Royal, Plymouth; The Pleasance, London; Curve Theatre, Leicester; The Town House Hamilton and Lanark Memorial Hall.

For Toby Mitchell, co-founder of Tall Stories, TicketCo TV’s live streaming service helped his team provide a much-needed cash and morale boost to regional UK theatres while enabling them to engage with their audiences once again.

He said: “It’s been a year like no other for the entertainment sector, and theatre has been hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While theatres across the country have not been able to open their doors, it’s been very difficult for them to reach out and maintain their audiences’ interest.

“But by partnering with TicketCo TV, we were able to individually market 15 separate live performances of The Snail and the Whale which we could tailor and add a personal touch to provide every viewer with a front row seat.

“The feedback we received was very moving, with many families sending in photos of their children watching the show and engaging with their friends during the performance via TicketCo TV’s live chat facility.

“It’s impossible to fully recreate live theatre on screen, but we certainly achieved the next best thing.”

Steve Cowton, Head of Theatre Operations at The Lowry, Salford, said: “Although theatres cannot currently open their doors, we are determined to keep in touch with our audiences by adapting shows – whether that means delivering open-air performances or live streaming shows directly into people’s homes.

“We were delighted to present Tall Stories’ production of The Snail and The Whale – the feedback from our audience about their streaming experience has been brilliant. Tall Stories created a very special live experience, tailored exclusively for our audience, and with the support of TicketCo TV’s HD quality pay-per-view live stream it worked brilliantly.”

Jonathan Saville, Director of Audiences and Programming at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, added: “At a time when we were unable to connect with our audiences at the venue itself we were delighted to be working with Tall Stories and TicketCo TV on the streamed version of The Snail and The Whale and able to dedicate a performance to our wonderful audience in Nottingham & Nottinghamshire.

“The strong sales we achieved on this were testament to the desire that our customers still have to watch live theatre and we look forward to being able to open our doors and welcome this audience back into the venue once again.”

TicketCo is a cloud-based event payment company, with offices in Norway, the UK, and Sweden. TicketCo’s technology is designed to make event payments quick and easy. Its payment platform is integrated with its pay-per-view live streaming service.