NYU Tisch Drama Students Partner with BroadwayHD to Integrate Technologies Into Live Performance
A new course develops real-world projects at the intersection of technology and performance.
NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Drama Department offered a new course called The Brendan Bradley Integrative Technology Lab, which paired students with professional technologists and artists to explore questions about the future of live performance and technology.
Students worked with BroadwayHD founders, Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, presenting projects with different ways technology could be utilized to enhance the digital capture of live productions and the ways that technology can be built into theatrical experiences from conception.
The course was developed in collaboration between Brendan Bradley and the Tisch Drama Office of Career Development & Alumni Engagement. The lab joins the new courses being developed by the office to bridge students to the professional world through hands-on, practical, and professionally engaging labs. "This course disrupts the silos of many 20th century fine arts programs, which separate students by their respective disciplines, and instead empowers students to apply their unique artistic skills and training to career paths that might not yet exist," said Bradley
BroadwayHD, the first major streaming service dedicated to live theater, exemplifies how traditional theater experiences are being reimagined for consumption in the digital entertainment era and offers ripe ground for experimentation. "When we were working on developing the curriculum for this course in 2019, no one could have imagined that we would be teaching from lockdown," said Comley. "BroadwayHD was created to give people access to Broadway shows if they couldn't get to the theater but this course pivoted to explore how to make shows if the actors and creators couldn't get to the theater."
"I have worked in the Broadway industry for over 40 years. I have seen the resistance to technology and the gradual acceptance of wireless microphones, musicians being relocated from the orchestra pits to other rooms inside the theater, and lighting and sound design being created and operated using computers," said Lane, "our NYU students were thrilled to have BroadwayHD as a resource for inspiration and education, they had no problem with the concept of making theater with technology or distributing theater with technology. "
BroadwayHD, is the largest aggregator of recorded live theater, preserving the past and the technological innovator for its digital distribution. BroadwayHD currently has over 300 full length stage plays and musicals and the pipeline of new content is continuing with shows filmed pre COVID-19. BroadwayHD's global facing content will keep the American art form of musical theater and Broadway shows at the forefront as the pinnacle of live entertainment around the world until the "Broadway Intermission" is over.
At the end of the course, teams of students presented a professional pitch on how they would launch a large-scale artistic or technological endeavor. "The diversity of interests from the students in the class combined with the work from home reality and necessity to create from isolation resulted in innovative projects. There are seeds here that worth further exploration," said Comley. Lane added, "we were honored to have BroadwayHD included in this inaugural program. We hope that this important lab work continues. "
The Brendan Bradley Integrative Technology Lab, reflects the larger goals of Tisch Drama, which aims to foster dynamic, innovative spaces for collaboration and discovery and bring together students with different backgrounds, practices, and philosophies. "We prepare our students to reinvent the field and apply their skills across multiple practices and disciplines. The partnerships developed through this course will allow students to become even more embedded in the innovative and artistic landscape of New York City and leverage the shared creative culture of NYU to shape the future of art making." said Rubén Polendo, chair of NYU Tisch's Department of Drama.