Digital stage: Suspension of South African Theatre on Demand platform, April 30, 2021

Sad news for theatre on the digital stage: Blythe linger has announced the “suspension” of the South African Theatre on Demand platform. He says: “The platform will be suspended by the end of this month 30th April 2021 and all content will come down.” The SATOD platform was initiated in 2020, shortly after lockdown went into action in South Africa. The idea was to bring recordings of live theatre to the digital stage, on a pay-by-view basis. In an interview with TheCapeRobyn, published April 16, 2020, Linger spoke about his hopes for the platform; bringing the digital stage to theatre lovers and an opportunity for creatives to monetise their work, with passive income; not contingent on the work being staged live. Unfortunately, the platform is not sustainable, at this time.  Linger: “Sales have faded out over the last few months as we slowly find ways of taking to spaces to perform and as people slowly venture back into the world. These drop-in numbers make the platform non-self sustainable.”

On a post on Instagram, April 28, 2021, Linger writes: “I am writing to you today with some rather sad news. I am currently left with no choice but to suspend the service of the South African Theatre on Demand platform. While the platform was a spark of passion, love for the arts and the sustainability of artists during the pandemic, I sit in a position where I am currently managing the upkeep of the platform on my own… My efforts to land grants to further develop the framework, see to technical needs as well as retain work and record new works, has unfortunately been unsuccessful.  I would like to thank every artist, festival, producer and sponsor for coming along for the ride, for being a part of something fun, fresh, by artists for artists and something proudly South African. Thank you for trusting me and the incorporating team with your art, money and time. I am very proud of what we have built and pleased with the overall success of the project. We were able to generate more than double the amount of revenue than we spent getting the platform off of the ground. We did this as a team of three passionate individuals who are by no means web developers.”

It may not be the end of the road for SATOD. Linger adds: “Perhaps in the future, I will find an opportunity to start the platform up once more to serve as a South African run archival space for South African Theatrical works.”

Dinner for One Too– starring Elize Cawood and Wilson Dunster. This production has been up on the South African Theatre on Demand platform, on a pay-per-view, rental basis. The platform will be suspended from April 30, 2021.