BACK IN THE DAY
In “normal” times, seeing a show meant joining us at the Playhouse, perhaps enjoying dinner, cocktails, or a nice lunch with friends before you arrived, and sitting in a darkened space with other theatre-lovers to enjoy a live and communal experience.
Now? You are creating your own communal experience, and probably enjoying your own cooking – or take-out!
We love technology – most of the time. We know it can be challenging to figure out the new language and procedures needed to watch a show, so we hope this helps. Of course, whenever you need assistance, call us! Audience Services is available, 215.654.0200, Mon – Sat, 2PM – 6PM. We are so grateful that you are willing to be bold and join us on this virtual adventure.
WHAT IS OUR “VIRTUAL” THEATRE?
The Playhouse set up its own Virtual Theatre, and all that means is you are watching our shows on a screen via the internet, otherwise known as “streaming” a show. The nice news is we have protected your privacy and you are not watching via YouTube, Vimeo, Zoom, Facebook or any other third-party platform that is collecting your data. Cool, right?
HOW DOES IT ALL WORK?
- When you order Virtual Tickets, our automatic ticketing system immediately emails them to you with a link into our Virtual Theatre. You will be able to watch the show on any device that you use to check and read your email. Your email can be Gmail, Comcast, Yahoo, AOL, Verizon, etc. Any email will work. Your device can be your phone, laptop, desktop computer, tablet (Apple iPad, Amazon Fire, Google Android, Microsoft Surface), etc. Any device that can get you to your email can also be used as your viewing screen. NOTE: Your tickets will be sent to the email that you use when you buy them.
- Your ticketing email serves as both your actual ticket and your receipt. We include simple instructions, plus some helpful notes like how to use the full-screen mode and closed captioning, when your link expires, how to order extra tickets for friends, and how to get help. You can start and stop, pause, and finish watching later if you wish.
- You’ll have 72 hours to watch the show, or if you are a subscriber (thank you!), you have a full week! Anytime you have questions, give us a call – Audience Services, 215.654.0200, available Mon – Sat, 2PM – 6PM.
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! You’re already tech-savvy! If you need more information, this section may be helpful.
What is a “browser”? Our Virtual Theatre is browser-based. That means you need to be able to get on the internet to watch a show. What that also means is you need to use a popular browser like Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, FireFox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, etc. to get on the internet. Your TV and your cable service do not automatically include browsers, like your computer and smart phone do. Who knew?!?
The easy-as-pie method for watching a show. Just open the ticket email from Act II – Box Office, follow the easy instructions and enjoy the show on that same device!
Want to watch on a big screen? Some new “smart” TVs (are they really smart, though?) have browsers built-in, but many don’t. You may have added external devices that allow your TV to go online, like an Amazon Fire Stick, RokuStick, Apple TV, etc. Additional add-on devices allow you to wirelessly access another device that is not physically connected to your TV, e.g. a Google Chromecast device will wirelessly connect to another device that is using the Chrome browser, like your laptop, and “mirror”, or pickup, both the picture and the sound from that first device so you can watch on the second device. You may also be able to “mirror” from Fire or Roku devices. There are thousands of streaming configurations, and our Virtual Theatre was built to accomodate as many viewing options as possible. Depending on what technology and devices you have, most will work, but some may not.
Want to try something new? One trick that patrons have been having great success with is connecting their TV to another device, like their laptop or desktop, by using an HDMI cable. In tech-speak that’s a High-Definition Multi-Media Interface cable and it’s an inexpensive item found everywhere (Amazon, Best Buy, Target, WalMart) that allows both picture and sound to go from one device to another. In regular-speak, all it means is they are using a $6-$13 cable to connect their larger screen TV to a smaller screen device, like the laptop or desktop that they use to get email, to watch shows on the bigger screen! Voila!
What is an HDMI cable, and do I want one? You may already have one, it looks like the one shown below. They’re inexpensive so it may be a worthy investment. Both ends are exactly the same. One connects to your TV and the other end to the other device. Both devices need to have an HDMI port (or “hole” as one patron more aptly named it). Some devices, like tablets, may not have an HDMI port, in which case you can use an adaptor, also shown below. They cost around $8 – $14, depending on what you want to connect.
The ports are easy to spot with their unique shape, and depending on your TV may be easy to get to, or a bit trickier if you need to get to the back of your TV. They are bigger than the other ports, are usually marked HDMI or if you have more than one, HDMI1, HDMI2, and are on the back of your TV, the side, the back bottom or wherever the other cables are plugged in. One end of the cable plugs into the TV, the other end plugs into your second device (or the adaptor) and they only plug in the right way so you can’t do it incorrectly. You use your remote control to instruct your TV to tune in to the HDMI port you just plugged into (1, 2?), open that ticket email from Act II – Box Office, follow the simple instructions to get to our Virtual Theatre and the show will start on your big screen.
TMI? TOO MUCH INFO?
We get it! If you’re having technical trouble on anything at all, don’t have that techie family member, neighbor, friend, partner, roommate, grandchild or millenial to help out, call Audience Services, 215.654.0200, Mon – Sat, 2PM – 6PM and we will do our very best to help you see the show!
Until we can welcome you back at the Playhouse in-person, greet you in the lobby, help you to your seat, dim the lights and be live once again, we will continue to bring you the very best theatre that you expect from Act II Playhouse, albeit virtually. Know that we are so grateful for you – our loyal subscribers, audience members, donors and sponsors.
Page image courtesy William Iven, Unsplash