Narrowcasting proves digital dynamite in Fife and beyond !
By Jane Hogg
18 March 2011
AttFife achieved a digital first for Scotland, with a special show streamed over the internet reaching more than 26,000 people in schools, hospitals and health centres across the country.
Arts and Theatres Trust Fife (AttFife) presented Wee Stories’ Jock and the Beanstalk online alongside a run of live performances at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline, in a bid to increase access to the work produced and commissioned in Fife, particularly to reach those who would not normally be able to enjoy a Christmas show.
With kind support from Robert Wiseman Dairies, a broadcast-quality recording of Jock and the Beanstalk was screened to six Scottish hospitals and hospices, to a network of screens in hospitals and health centres, and then to schools across Scotland. In addition, a live internet link between the theatre and the hospitals allowed children to ask questions and directly interact with the production team and actors.
The astonishing results show there are enormous opportunities to increase access to the work created by arts organisations, in particular to people in remote locations, and to those unable to make it to a major venue for a show. Work at AttFife is ongoing on the development of a year-round offer to schools across Scotland, as well as a continuation of the offer provided to children in Scottish hospitals.
Across the six hospital locations a total of 99 children and adults viewed the screening of Jock and the Beanstalk, and a further 29 viewed the live link following the show. Comments from staff and patients have been fantastic, with patients calling it “a great idea”, and a hospital commenting:
“We’re very pleased to have been part of this project, and very much appreciate the work that went into our visit. I feel that anything that changes the norm of the hospital day is beneficial to the families and staff.”
Schools across Scotland, many already struggling with the extreme snowy conditions, took advantage of the opportunity to see a Christmas show from the comfort of their classroom. The total combined views (streamed and downloaded) through AttFife’s dedicated web channel was approximately 15,872 pupils. This represents over 4% of the all primary school pupils in Scotland.
Coverage was across 21 out of 32 local authorities in Scotland, a reach that would be impossible without the use of the internet, and one that gives national recognition to Fife’s creativity in the arts.
Comments from schools were very positive:
- “We are in a very remote area of the country this was the only way we could give the pupils a pantomime experience. Brilliant.”
- “It gave children ability to see a pantomime where otherwise they may not. Can’t beat the real experience but a good and economical alternative.”
- “We live in an isolated, rural community, and most of my pupils have never been to see a pantomime before. Also, they got the chance to view a Scottish production, which celebrated the Scots language and dialect.”
- “My infants really enjoyed the show, financial constraints mean we as a school can no longer take children to see a pantomime at Christmas.”
- “Children need a chance to experience theatre. Seeing a show with their friends adds to the fun. This will encourage children to be imaginative and be more willing to take part in drama. The children will hopefully gain a liking for theatre which is useful in later life.”
Solus, AttFife’s technology partner, also offered Jock and the Beanstalk to existing clients through a network of screens in hospitals and health centres. This time, there were a total of 63 sites showing Jock and the Beanstalk, with a potential reach of tens if not hundreds of thousands.