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YouTube takes to the stage

Working with the Live Entertainment sector’s key figures, we are privvy to the latest developments in the industry in regards to event management, technology, software and trends that the industry is constantly improving upon to enhance the audience experience. But, something that our delegates also have to embrace is the shift in demand of content. Audiences are ever-changing and so the content of Live Entertainment is evolving to meet that demand.

A perfect example of new content for theatres is the rise of the YouTube star. The likes of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen first found fame through the video sharing channel, using the exposure to carve a future music career. However, there is a new wave of celebrities who do not necessarily possess a talent or skill outside of their video sharing – for one reason or another, these individuals are becoming recognised for their YouTube channel alone – and these vloggers are racking up millions and millions of young followers. But what are they following?

It didn’t take long to realise that my 9 year old was no different from her friends in her addiction to watching seemingly unknown teenagers play video games online whilst talking about, well, not very much of importance. But it really seemed to connect with her – particularly a vlogger named Dan TDM. We didn’t think much of her desire to watch a new video of his everyday as he messed around with his friends whilst playing Minecraft, but soon, the videos got higher in production value, product placement started happening and the ‘unknown guy’ started to become a household name amongst the other parents too.


Last month, whilst managing our Ticketing Technology Forum Twitter page, I happened on a discussion about people desperately trying to get tickets to see Dan TDM live. Dan TDM live? I was curious. How would this video channel translate to a stage show? Surely not everyone’s child is obsessed wth Dan? How wrong I was…

We had a birthday coming up and so I checked online to see if tickets were available. They were – just – but only because Dan had extended his tour from 4 intitial dates to a whopping 12 across the UK, due to the demand being so high. Sure enough, tickets were booked and plans were made.


When the day came, we honestly didn’t know what to expect but the hoards of excited children dripping in Dan merchandise outside the theatre gave a pretty good indication of what was to come.

The pre-show entertainment made light work of whipping the already hyped-up crowd into a frenzy, ending in 3,000 children at the Eventim Appollo chanting ‘we want Dan’ for serveral minutes without rest, until Dan finally entered to raucous applause – was I back at Glastonbury?

The show provided the children with a perfect mix of references to regular guests on the channel – namely his two pug dogs – combined with audience participation to defeat ‘Evil Dan’ who had been created for the stage show and brought a familiar pantomime element to the experience… ‘he’s behind you’! I was sceptical, but credit goes to the show’s production team for putting together a really engaging show from beginning to end. In particluar, the clever way they made Dan ‘enter’ the video games on the screen – much to the (younger) audience’s amazement.


Whether we understand it or not, I guess this is now the generational equivalent to seeing your favourite music artist as a child. That intense feeling of knowing you are in the same room as your idol, that you may catch their eye if you scream the loudest and that the exact show you are witnessing, will never happen again. And to be honest, I’m happy with anything that pries her away from staring at her iPad for hours on end…

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