It seems appropriate to be publishing a blog post about the launch of a new discussion board on 29 February. Leap years are rare, and so are new theatre forums (tenuous connection right there). Today I would like to raise awareness of theatreboard.co.uk.
THEATREBOARD.CO.UK: The new home of independent theatre discussion
The UK now has a new independent online forum to discuss theatre – TheatreBoard. Following the recent decision by its American parent company to discontinue support for the discussion forums originally established by WhatsOnStage.com, a group of dedicated fans have taken on the challenge to create a brand new home for lively and informed discussion about the UK theatre scene and beyond.
Once the closure of the old forum was announced at the start of January, many users rapidly got involved suggesting ways forward. Different approaches were considered before the community as a whole put its support behind a plan to create a new home at http://www.theatreboard.co.uk.
A former moderator of the WhatsOnStage.com forum commented: “It was fantastic seeing our online community come together to protect something they valued so much. It was a very democratic process and we are proud to have launched the new site within a matter of weeks”.
A small team of volunteer staff came together to cover the costs and work on the design and functionality of the new site which already boasts over 500 members and is averaging 17,000 hits a day. A spokesperson said “We are thrilled to have secured this new online home which we hope will continue to grow and flourish in the years to come. Everyone is welcome – whatever type of theatre they enjoy or how often they manage to see a show”.
TheatreBoard features sections discussing Musicals; Plays; Performers and following member demand, a new area dedicated to Opera and Dance. Conversations already cover dozens of productions including West End, fringe and touring; alongside topics as diverse as badly behaved audiences to theatre technology and a live chat planned for the upcoming Olivier awards.
All year round the UK delivers an exceptional wealth of live theatre in venues ranging in size from over two thousand seats down to the most intimate studio spaces. TheatreBoard aims to support informed, varied and vigorous debate among those who love theatre.
I was a long-time lurker, then a regular poster, on the old forum and I’m very happy to be a member of the new board. I’d urge anyone with an interest in theatre to join: we’re a friendly bunch! Visit the forum at theatreboard.co.uk and follow on Twitter @theatreboarduk.