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Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/Video Shooting for Live Performances in Plays.


QUESTION: Dear Kenneth

1. Is it Possible to Video shoot the complete Live Performances of Artists in Plays without the audience coming to know that the video shoot is going on in background ?.

As a example, Play of 2 1/2 hours duration.

2. If video shooting is possible for the Live show setup, do you feel as a Play Director, this could be useful in any way ?.

i.e. If video shooting is possible, you will be able to play the complete video recorded later on.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Hello Prashant,  Video recording plays is a touchy subject. First of all, one needs to have permission of the play's publisher in order to record it in any way.  Second, unless you have very sophisticated equipment, most videos would be poor quality.  However, it is possible to record a play without interfering with the audience's enjoyment of the play.  AS a director, though it may be useful in pointing out effective and ineffective moments in the acting and in the production, wading though a long videotape to find these moments would be grueling. I don't think the end results would be worth the effort.  Best wishes, Doc

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Kenneth

Thank you.

1. Is it possible to setup CCTV Systems, Video Cameras and other video recording equipment in Auditorium, Amphitheaters for capturing Live Footage of Plays ?.

2. Is it legally allowed to shoot a Live Play by the Play Director, Producer, Publisher and show the same play in Theater or Television in the future ?.

As a Example : "The Merchant of Venice" - William Shakespeare Play was organised and Played many times in a Auditorium / Amphitheater where there were live performances by stage artists. The Play Director / producer /
Publisher of the Play Shoot a Live Video of the same.

Now After specific time period, Can the Play Director/Producer show it on Television and Theaters ?.

Here in theater and television media, now the audiences will be watching the same play but not live performances, but the one which were recorded.

Is it legal to produce and distribute medias viz films, videos of the Original Play to the Audiences ?.

i.e. Live Play -> Auditorium, Amphitheater -> Converted Video, Films Media -> Television, Theater.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Dear Prashant, Yes, that is possible to set up your video equipment in the auditorium. I should have mentioned in my previous answer that plays that are no longer under copyright, such as Shakespeare, have no restrictions regarding recording or filming the scripts or performances.  There is no waiting period after making the recording before you can show the recording in a theatre.  IT is legal to produce and distribute media that is not of  copyrighted material==Shakespeare, Wilde, and most older translations of the Classics are fair game, but a new translation that is copyrighted is not.  Best wishes, Doc

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Kenneth D. Plonkey


Questions about acting and directing. Questions about getting started in a careeer. Questions about training and schooling for actors.


I am a retired film actor. I am a retired university theatre program director and professor. I am the author of "The Tao of Acting, Mentoring for the Aspiring Actor" to be published this summer.


BA, MA, PhD in Theatre Post graduate study with certificate in Media Acting

Awards and Honors
John Golden Traveling Fellowship

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