techKNOW: Michael Wharley’s Technology Column


What is it?

Basically, iPlays – a web-based theatre hybrid of BBC iPlayer and Apple iTunes. DT records productions on up to 8 cameras, then splices together an edit to download or stream, giving a best-seat-in the-house viewing that is – according to co-founder Tom Shaw – only “one step removed from the live experience.”

I’ve seen theatre on film before, it never works, does it?

Historically, not really, but times and technology change. DT works closely with creative teams and films on multiple cameras to capture nuanced recordings. Shaw says “we can get the emotional flow of the narrative and the big picture, really get the audience inside the action.”

So it’s like NTLive then?

Yes and no. DT and NTLive both share the experience of live theatre beyond the auditorium. But NTLive only live broadcasts to cinemas and filmed performances can become events in themselves. DT’s ‘invisible’ filming intrudes less on the performance and recordings are available on-demand at any time.

Who’s on it?

Mainly public-subsidised theatres at present : the Almeida, The RSC, Young Vic, Royal Court, ETT, The Bush, The Gate, Royal Exchange, Manchester and Regent’s Park with new shows coming all the time.

Do I have to pay?

Yep. Shows cost £5-£10. Preview clips & trailers are free-to-view, plus a free DT iPhone app provides ticketing/booking information for London theatre.

How does it work?

Smoothly: registration is required but brief. Once logged on, you select a production, pay, then choose a viewing option. Shows can be live streamed online, or downloaded via an iPlayer-style interface in either standard or high definition resolutions to suit anything from netbooks to HD flatscreens.

Wharley’s Verdict

Great idea, great website and fantastic play recordings. 60,000 users from 117 countries is an encouraging stat, but needs to persuade more theatres to sign up to become truly essential resource.


Should I….Tweet?

If Stephen Fry can do it, why shouldn’t I? Well…

Why should I?

Great free way to network and promote yourself.

Connects you to a community of actors and creative types when out of work.

Can create a buzz around your projects.

People and employers can find you and approach you direct.

Why shouldn’t I?

Blurs the personal and professional – tweeting about your hangover on the way to an audition or rehearsals could look bad.

It’s distracting and time-consuming – if you do it, you have to do it a lot.

Everyone’s slow or unemployed some months – how do you make that sound good?

Promotion white noise – everyone’s peddling their show/venue/film but who’s actually talking and heard?

Wharley’s Verdict

Professionally, Twitter works best as part of a coherent web and self-marketing plan– think why, how often and to whom you’re tweeting. If you care more for the ‘social’ in social networking – and why not – then just keep your account separate from work.

Top Showbiz Tweeters:

@stephenfry – incomparable

@simonpegg – incredible

@Markgatiss – incomprehensible


How to….get a personalised email address.

Addresses like ‘‘ can suddenly look pretty unprofessional when a casting director is mailing an audition script, so why not be uber-slick with a personalised email address?

All this takes is a few simple steps:

1) Buy a domain name, or URL.

Visit any web services provider website (‘Buy URL’ in Google will turn up loads, but is a good one).

Use the domain name search to see if the address you want is available e.g. or If your name is taken, try varying the punctuation e.g.

Buy the address – a .com or domain name should be around £10 a year.

2) Set up an email account with this URL. Here are two possible ways:

a) The really easy way – through the web services provider. Many will include an email address in the purchase of the URL. There’ll be a wizard tool that will let you choose your email address (e.g. and set up forwarding so that any mail to that address is sent on to your regular Hotmail or Gmail account.

3) The easy way – through Google. Visit and follow the on screen prompts and instructions to register your URL and set up an email address. Even though it’s through Google, you’ll still get to choose a “” address. There are very detailed step-by-step tutorials on the Apps pages if you need more help.


The Lonely Island

Forget Will Ferrell & Tina Fey, this trio of US comics are the real face of funny – Saturday Night Live regulars and creators of genius music and sketch comedy. Don’t miss: Iran So Far Away, Motherlovers, D*ck in a Box and Great Day.

Arcade Fire

It’s been out for a few months and works best if you download Google Chrome, but this astonishing interactive music video combines Google Streetview of your birthplace with video footage to creative a genuinely moving experience. A taste of where online drama might go…


What the internet was invented for – in its own words, ‘riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world’. From comedy to space travel to theatre to architecture, TED offers brain-expanding direct access to some of the world’s brigthest people.


Actors should be putting themselves out there on resources like YouTube or websites, and film-makers will always be looking for new faces outside usual channels

Jeremy Zimmerman, Casting Director

This article first appeared in Fourthwall Magazine.
Michael Wharley is a London-based headshot photographer & writer
Follow him @MichaelWharley. Email
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