A Night In With Live Streamed Theatre From Darlington Hippodrome* #AD

26 Jan 2021

Source: The Northern Echo

We all know how it is right now. It's currently lockdown 3.0, we can't go anywhere and we're pretty much confined to our homes, unless we need to nip out for more bread and milk. Thankfully, Darlington Hippodrome are putting on quite the show schedule and keeping us entertained after we've all got a bit sick of the board games and Netflix binges.

With the venue closed due to the current restrictions, Darlington Hippodrome have taken the shift to online content by the horns. Along with Fane Productions, they've put together a fantastic line up of live stream shows and performances from best-selling authors, comedians and personalities. I absolutely love going to the theatre, but I quite like the idea of watching a theatre show in my PJs and with a parmo takeaway on my lap even more!

To kick off proceedings, on Tuesday 19th January 2021, the Hippodrome's first booking in the long line of performances comes from Ella Risbridger, best-selling author of the award-winning 'Midnight Chicken (And Other Recipes Worth Living For)'. Ella has been dubbed by Good Housekeeping magazine as 'the new Nigella' and 'the most talented new cookbook writer of a generation' by The Times. Celebrating the publication of her book, this event promised to be an honest, funny and uplifting evening 'with a rising star in food writing that will make you fall in love with life again.'

Still need convincing? Darlington Hippodrome asked us to watch Ella's event and share our thoughts with you, so if you want to find out more about how this line up of live streams will work, keep reading!

Source: Darlington Hippodrome

How was the logging in process?

When you purchase a ticket to one of the shows with Darlington Hippodrome, you'll be completely registered, just like you've got a virtual ticket. Then on the day of the show, you'll be sent a handy email with a 'Start Watching Now' button. It's simply a case of clicking the button, logging in and choosing the show you've booked from the list.

I found the whole process really simple. I hadn't watched too many live streams in lockdown, so I wasn't sure how the log in would be, so I was surprised by how easy it was. It was a matter of clicks and the stream was there on my screen!

Laptop vs. TV

Originally, I had in my head that I'd be watching the Ella Risbridger stream on my laptop, but then I figured I could have a go at streaming it through the TV. This turned out to be a bit of a flop and the stream buffered every three seconds, which triggered the whole page to refresh. I didn't mind too much because, like I say, my heart was already set on watching via the laptop, but it's definitely something to bear in mind when you watch your booked stream.

How was the sound and video quality?

I couldn't have asked for better sound and video in the live stream! The quality was superb, especially when you consider that this wasn't a face-to-face interview that was streamed via super high quality cameras. It was webcams and microphones, but the quality was excellent. 

I also quite liked that it was done through webcams. It gave a sort of familiar, comfortable feel to the conversation. As I work from home, I know Teams and Zoom all too well, so this sort of format was really nice and homey to me. It definitely made me more likely to watch live streams like this in the future.

What did I think of the show?

I don't think I've actually ever watched a book event before, but I absolutely loved it. I looked up Midnight Chicken before the stream date and was so impressed with the amazing reception it had had, and it just seemed like something that would be totally up my street (mental note, buy that book and read it within 2 days). Learning a little bit about the book beforehand definitely got me more excited for the stream, so finding out more about the story and the amazing lady behind it was a joy.

There were lots of things that stood out to me about the whole show, but one was that the book was based on Ella Risbridger's blog, Eating With My Fingers. That's definitely aspirational to hear as a blogger and really makes me wonder what I could turn my little blog into one day. A podcast? A magazine? Just imagine! I also really loved that she writes about food and her recipes as part of her story to form a moving picture in the readers' heads, rather than just being instructional. Not only does it add a whole new dimension to the story, but also a touch of fun and some recipes that you can try yourself.

Speaking of recipes, Ella made a great point about recipe books and the way that they use beautifully polished photos of the food you can make. She explained that most photos set unrealistic standards and to avoid people from measuring their cooking up against her recipes, she opted to include gorgeous illustrations in her book. This definitely ties in to the mental health aspect of the book and I think it's a really great decision to make, not only to stop people picking apart their food, but also just to make the recipe aspect a little different.

Finally, I really enjoyed how candid Ella was about her mental health. The book begins with her suicide attempt and describes how the one thing that kept her alive was the drive to eat some really incredible chicken. While I haven't read the book yet, Ella talked openly about this subject, as well as the other mental health aspects of the book, throughout the show and she did so in such an eloquent way. It really was refreshing to hear these topics talked about in such an honest and candid way, and it just made me love Ella that little bit more.

Whether you want to have a bit of a date night, you fancy watching something other than Netflix or you just want to support a local theatre, make sure you take a look at Darlington Hippodrome's schedule of live stream events. Their 'A Night In' series runs into February, so see which one takes your fancy and get yourself booked in!

Have you watched any live streams in lockdown yet?

Access to this live stream was gifted to me by Darlington Hippodrome and Fane Productions. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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