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Emergence of social media platforms for theatrical performances: Challenges and prospects

Bem Alfred Abugh
Adediran Kayode Ademiju-Bepo


Before the emergence of social media platforms (SMPs) like Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, Zoom and many others, theatrical performances were carried out in dedicated theatre buildings or open air theatres in different  parts of the world, since the classical Greek era down to the contemporary times. These performances have continued to be an art. Within the last few  decades, however, the emergence of social media as a dynamic space in the electronic media super highway has provided a new ‘stage’ for contemporary  entertainment and social trends worldwide. Social media audiences (SMAs) are now provided with a new form of entertainment that does not require  their presence in theatre buildings or production outlets to watch performances. The exigency of this paradigm shift from theatre buildings or stage  performances to social media platform is rife and thus, has posed a huge challenge to stage performances as they are gradually going extinct in many  parts of the world. Social media platforms have dismantled issues of insecurity and have encouraged the switch from analogue to digital ways of doing  productions. With the outbreak of Covid-19 in December 2019 in Wuhan, a city in China and its spread across the world, SMPs have continued to provide an alternative stage for theatrical performance as thousands of performances are streamed live through them to the end users/SMAs. Adopting the  social responsibility theory and media dependency theory, the study examined selected production companies and individual practitioners, using  interviews and content analysis methods to evaluate the impact of the ‘communication revolution’, since theatre itself is a form of communication. The  conclusion reached is that the world is now technologically-driven and virtually everything has gone digital. Theatrical performances cannot be left out.  Therefore, theatre scholars and practitioners are encouraged to take advantage of social media platforms (SMPs) to reinvent their trade. 

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eISSN: 2971-6748
print ISSN: 0189-9562