I believe well-told stories change the world. It’s why I’ve been making theatre all my life. Why I branched out into writing, directing and producing as well. For the last decade, I’ve been increasingly inspired (and dare I say, obsessed?) by the ways in which technology empowers and increases our opportunities to tell those stories. And on the other side, the ways in which technology creates the ability for more people to connect with the stories we’re telling.
By the end of March this year, I had a little brain worm of an idea that you could create an environment that makes it just as exciting to be an audience member at a live digital performance as it is to be in-person.
And then I met
Joseph Thomas White III . (Joe White if you’re nasty).
We were paired up through Lunchclub for a coffee. And it turned out, he’d been coming at the same thing from a different angle throughout his career. He was on early teams for a lot of video platform startups that were empowering storytellers like me.
I’d have to be able to TV episode montage the 6 months after that to even give you a sense of what has happened but the tl;dr is: two people who never met in person decided to start a company powered by the idea that the world gets a little bit better every time we come together with other folks around the things we’re passionate about.
We started bootstrapping the work that was already coming in through Broadway Unlocked. From LA to KC to Texas to NY, we were able to start building a team of the most brilliant theatre, dance, opera, commercial and film folks we’d worked with throughout our careers. We’ve all worked tirelessly — testing assumptions, scoring wins, making mistakes, working all day and night (and weekends), creating emoji competition brackets in Slack (because life can’t be that stressful all the time).
And today, all of us — 2 co-founders, 29 employees, and almost 40 film festivals, dance companies, business schools, opera companies, employee unions, healthcare foundations, stage manager conferences, universities and more are launching All Together Now: A tech and media company that believes in the power of passionate people gathered around the things they love and the endless possibilities those moments create.
We have more than 40 show days on the calendar for our virtual venue we’ve created for Broadway Unlocked, and that’s just this month. We’re bringing together thousands of people live, to watch broadcasts, meet each other at the bar, run into surprises on the mezzanine and create incredible moments together no matter where in the world they are.
In some ways, it’s been the hardest six months of our lives. But it’s also been the adventure of a lifetime. And we’re just getting started. Check the link to come join us for a show or find out how to get your own venue!!
Jessica Ryan is a recovering polite midwestern girl from Kansas City who’s now happily bi-coastal and is an award winning actor/writer/director and entrepreneur.
As the co-founder and CEO of All Together Now and Broadway Unlocked, her groundbreaking work with technology and digital content has been featured at Talks at Google, Voyage LA, Idealist, W42ST Magazine, and has earned her membership in The Zuckerberg Institute as well as an ambassadorship for Summit. She has performed at Goodspeed & Berkshire Theatre Festival, voiced spots for Starbucks and Old Navy, written for some of the biggest companies in the world including Amazon and GE and once sang a jingle for an adult superstore in North Dakota (Annabelle’s, true story).
In case you’re not exhausted yet, Jess is also the creator and co-host of the Take Me To Coffee Podcast with Hamilton’s Andrew Call as well.