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Streaming services have become giants of the entertainment industry; Netflix, Amazon Prime, BritBox and Disney+ dominate the streaming scene in the UK with each producing original entertainment and boasting a unique library of our favourite shows and films. For anyone living on a budget, being subscribed to all these services is likely impossible! Therefore, the news that the National Theatre is launching their own streaming network, National Theatre at Home, has made theatre nerds pine for their next student loan.
Overall, the news of National Theatre at Home has been welcomed as this is just one way we can continue to support the arts after this disaster of a year. Although this service may be a little pricey, costing £83.32 annually or £8.32 monthly, when you consider the cost of a theatre ticket, that price is a bargain. With Netflix and Disney+ costing approximately £5.99 a month, they are a more affordable option but when you consider the economic stability of these entertainment powerhouses, National Theatre at Home is much more in need of your support.
The National Theatre has produced some of the finest pieces of British theatre in recent history, celebrating both mainstream plays such as Coriolanus and Othello as well as lesser known titles such as Three Sisters and I Want My Hat Back. Admittedly, the library so far is looking somewhat sparse but, as it is still in its infancy, it is likely to increase over time. Eleven titles may not sound like it would be worth £82.32 a year but when you consider the different creative processes that go into producing theatre shows as opposed to film/television, the limited library makes sense. It is certainly harder to mass-produce theatre content! Although theatre fans will bask in the beauty of each of these shows, for the more casual theatre-goer, committing this much money may not be worth the investment.
However, if you respect the arts world but are not all that keen yourself, National Theatre are providing the option to buy a subscription as a Christmas present. If you know anyone who is currently suffering from theatre withdrawals, this present may help perk them up! Equally, the money is going to a good cause, helping to rebuild the arts scene post-Coronavirus.
Streaming appears to be the future in terms of how we consume entertainment. With cinema chains such as Odeon, Vue, and Cineworld struggling, we have seen many films release digitally only. Whilst a solely digital release used to be relegated to independent films and critically slated films, it seems that this pattern is becoming a thing of the past. As we are living through the apparent golden age of television, we are privileged in being able to access thousands of hours of content with a simple click on our remotes! Quarantining has also forced us to enjoy films and theatre shows from our couches. Although we reminisce about the buzz we received from sitting in a theatre, it will be interesting to see whether National Theatre at Home is tapping into the general trend towards home viewing.
Whether or not you will be treating yourself to a National Theatre at Home subscription any time soon, it appears the future of entertainment is online. Depending upon how theatres bounce back in the new world, we may have to get used to our living rooms being the front row seats!