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TalkTalk treads the boards with new Digital Theatre channel

TalkTalk is bringing some of Britain's finest stage performances to a telly audience with its new Digital Theatre Channel.

TalkTalk is coating theatre's fourth wall in glass, and bringing some of Britain's finest stage performances to its telly customers with a new Digital Theatre Channel. The channel bursts into song -- jazz hands and all -- on TalkTalk Plus TV today, and will charge a minimum of £3 to customers wishing to take in a show.

The telecom giant has partnered with Digital Theatre, a company that records live performances to allow audiences to gaze through the proscenium arch from the comfort of their homes.

While being slouched on your sofa does mean you can dispose with the opera glasses and go to the loo without disturbing a whole row of punters, I'm still very much of the opinion that part of the joy of theatre is soaking up the atmosphere within the auditorium.

Still, theatre tickets -- particularly in London -- can be pricey. While there are already some great initiatives to encourage new audiences such as the National Theatre's Shed and the Royal Court's Theatre Local project, it's great to see accessibility being widened to beyond city-dwellers too.

"This is a unique opportunity for us to gain new audiences for our productions and the world-class talent working in the British theatre scene,” says Digital Theatre's co-founder and CEO Robert Delamere.

It's hard to know if there's a big audience for theatre on screen, but other projects such as National Theatre Live, which shows popular plays at cinemas the world over, and the big-screen relay of Kenneth Branagh's sold-out performance in that Scottish play at the Manchester International Festival this summer, suggest that maybe there is.

Theatres and companies participating with Digital Theatre include the likes of London's Young Vic, the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company and Manchester's Royal Exchange -- the very institution responsible for turning me into a devout theatregoer in my youth.

TalkTalk promises new content will be added regularly and will mix Shakespeare with musicals and more modern stuff, and will star such legendary luvvies luminaries as Catherine Tate, David Tennant, David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker and Toby Jones.

Are you more likely to watch a play if you can do so on your tellybox? Or perhaps you're a purist who thinks the theatre's the thing? Project your voice in the comments below, or raise the roof on our Facebook page.