Adding a Virtual Component to Your In-Person Event
Perhaps you’ve decided to move forward with a gathering, but you know more folks than usual may be unable to attend in person. Consider a hybrid event: you can gather people in one room, have other participants join virtually via Zoom or Skype, and livestream the whole thing for the audience.
A great example of a hybrid event was Unsettling Dramaturgy—Crip and Indigenous Process Design, from the Festival of Live Digital Art (foldA) in Kingston, Ontario. Some panelists and audience members gathered in a room in Kingston, while others joined via Zoom, and the entire thing was livestreamed out to a digital audience.
Going Fully Digital
If you’ve decided the best choice for your community is to cancel an in-person gathering, you don’t have to cancel the event altogether. Consider bringing people together for a conversation on Zoom and livestreaming that for an audience.
A year ago, we livestreamed a Zoom panel titled the Future of Crowdfunding for Theatre Artists of Color. The five panelists called in from their respective locations, and the event was livestreamed out to a virtual audience.
Between our years of livestreaming on our platform and producing our own events—the vast majority of which have included a virtual component—we are happy to be a resource to the field during this challenging time.
It’s worth noting that whether you are producing an in-person gathering or not, a livestreamed event can still be an interactive experience. We encourage folks to consider ways of engaging their virtual audiences, such as by taking questions from people watching online via email, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, etc. As long as you communicate clearly with your audience about how they can engage, and have someone paying attention to questions and comments and communicating them to panelists, your livestream can still be interactive.
A great example of this is Suzan-Lori Parks’ ongoing Watch Me Work project. Watch Me Work is a performance piece, a meditation on the artistic process, and an actual work session, featuring Parks writing in the Public Theater lobby. The audience is invited to come in person or virtually to watch her work and/or to write alongside her virtually or in person. During the last fifteen minutes of the performance, Parks answers questions from the in-person audience and online audience, who tweet at @WatchMeWorkSLP and use hashtag #howlround.
If you’re considering livestreaming an event, you can learn more from our livestreaming guide. Here are the basics of what you’ll need to livestream an in-person event:
- A high-performance computer
- A video camcorder
- A video capture device
- Free software called Open Broadcaster Software
- Wired internet (ideally)
Ready to go? Fill out our contribute content form and we will be in touch! While our curatorial frame centers conversations and performance in the theatre field, we’re happy to chat with anyone who wants to learn more about how livestreaming works and the possibilities this virtual infrastructure provides.