UK-based filmmaker and producer Don Boyd has revealed details of his new venture Hibrow, billed as “the world’s first comprehensive online platform for the performing and visual arts.”

City Screen has already come on board to show the first “live” Hibrow simulcast from the Edinburgh Festival of the Traverse Theatre of Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a collection of new plays by Enda Walsh, Martina Carr, David Eldridge, Linda McLean and Simon Stephens.

The simulcast, on August 23, will show in all 19 Picturehouse cinemas across the UK. This is the first in a series of jazz, opera, classical music, theatre and visual arts events that Hibrow will make available online and that are also likely to be shown in cinemas.

As creative-director of Hibrow, Boyd is the moving force behind the initiative. He has enlisted around 25 key figures from the arts world to act as curators. Among them are musician Gary Kemp, cellist Robert Cohen, director of FACT (Film, Art and Creative Television) Mike Stubbs, Time Out London’s Dave Calhoun and artistic director of the Traverse Theatre, Dominic Hill. The idea, Boyd says, was to free these figures from what he called the “tyranny of TV.”

Acclaimed theatre, film and opera director Richard Eyre is on the board of Hibrow as are Amanda Walsh, the founder of advertising agency Walsh Trott Chick Smith, and Leon Morgan (the head of Media Law at Davenport Lyons.)

Hibrow Productions is based in Liverpool and has small offices in London. Its technological partner is Oooyala, a leading video technology outfit.

Hibrow will launch in earnest in the autumn. Future initiatives include a live poetry event that will be run by Josephine Hart and transmissions of concerts from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

“The intention is through the curators to provide work that audiences wouldn’t have access to in any other way,” Boyd explained. “This is not just us presenting work live on line. We shoot the material and we arrange it in a way that is quite different to anything on television…the presentation of it is intrinsic to the way web is
presented, not the way TV or film or linear media are presented.”