Theatre Calgary’s first-ever online Shakespeare by the Bow presentation was an experiment and a gamble that paid off handsomely.
During Romeo & Juliet’s run of nine shows, 3,700 households or devices tuned in to watch the plight of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, not in ancient Verona, but in contemporary Calgary. This could mean as many as 5,000 people saw the show if friends and family watched together. Viewers donated $50,000 to Theatre Calgary during the show’s five-week run.
According to Theatre Calgary’s artistic director Stafford Arima, the original plan was to present Romeo & Juliet in the company’s amphitheatre on Prince’s Island. He said they felt they could accommodate audiences with proper social distancing in the park but then realized the same did not apply to the actors.