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Ambler theater moves play from stage to streaming in 90 days

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Act II Playhouse came to a standstill when COVID-19 changed how theaters could present live performances.
 
The 134-seat regional theater in Ambler, canceled two shows, issued refunds and then decided to try offering digital content. The first streamed plan launched Aug. 25, the first day the in-person show was scheduled to open.
 
“Patrons were asking us to stream our shows without realizing the range of artistic, legal and financial challenges streaming presents,” said Carol Flannery, the Playhouse’s director of marketing and communications. She added, “We are a small organization.
 
“Electile Dysfunction, Hindsight is 2020,’ is a sketch comedy revue written by Tony Braithwaite, Act II’s artistic director, along with Will Dennis, Tracie Higgins and Dan Matarazzo. “We thought if we could find a virtual audience, a convention and election season political comedy like our revue would be a good bet,” said Braithwaite.
Through a national chat group of theater marketing professionals Flannery discovered an option developed by a San Diego start-up, called Surfcode (surfcode.io).
The new venture, PlayPlay.tv, (PlayPlay) became official in March, and since then it has helped performing arts organizations sell over 20,000 tickets and retain revenue for canceled shows.
Virtual Tickets for “Electile Dysfinction” start at $30 and are available online at act2.org, or by calling the Act II Playhouse Box Office at 215-654-0200. Group, watch party and nonprofit fundraiser discounts are available by phone. “Electile” will be offered with an optional ASL interpretation and closed captioning.

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