In a time when physically going to the theatre goes against government advice, many are going online for their stage fix. With a number of established institutions offering online alternatives, stars of the stage turning to social media, and streaming services filled with a variety of options, here’s our guide to streaming the best theatre directly into your home.
Follow your favourite shows, stars and theatres
Many individual productions, regular stage dwellers, and theatre mainstays are taking to their own channels to keep the magic alive. As ever, it’s worth following their social media accounts to keep track of forthcoming events, activities and live-streams.
Sir Patrick Stewart is making sure nobody goes without their daily dose of Shakespeare by reading a sonnet a day on Twitter. It’s one thing having a read of these iconic poems yourself but it’s something else hearing them in Patrick’s honeyed tones.
A new collective of over 60 theatre professionals are coming together to support a number of charitable organisations helping people in the industry affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Theatre Together are putting together the online event All The Web’s A Stage, which will include performances from David Hunter, Joanne Clifton and Marisha Wallace.
London’s Royal Court Theatre have revealed that they’ll be hosting a filmed version of Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland for a month from 27 March 2020. The production will be available to watch for free on the Royal Court website, their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. The filmed version will comprise a combination of captured theatre performance and on-location footage, and will star Stephen Rea and Vicky Featherstone.
From Monday 23 March, The Theatre Café is launching their Leave A Light On concert series. Three times a day, fans will all be able to tune into a 45-minute set from established and emerging names from the West End. For a small fee fans can watch these special online concerts and support the arts in these difficult times.
Eugenius The Musical are set to release a recording of the entire musical on their Facebook page from 19:00 on 20 March to raise money for the charity, Acting For Others.
Wind In The Willows have also announced they will stream their entire musical in aid of several theatre charities that will be crucial in providing relief for professionals in the industry right now.
Over the weekend, Monica Dolan is streaming her Olivier nominated show The B*easts to celebrate World Theatre Day. Until lunchtime on Monday 30 March, you’ll be able to watch the full length show which was filmed at 2017’s Edinburgh Fringe. Head to her Instagram to get watching now.
There will be plenty more following suit, so remember to check official channels regularly for updates.
Head to online streaming services
The BBC provide plenty of theatre and arts on iPlayer, including an all-female Shakespeare season back in 2018. Keep an eye on the Arts category for live performances, TV plays and book readings to stream. Right now, The Royal Ballet’s Mayerling is available to stream, a modern ballet by Kenneth MacMillan about the tumultuous and tragic love affairs of Rudolf the Crown Prince of Austria in the late 19th Century.
As part of the BBC’s Culture In Quarantine programme, you can now stream six of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s plays: Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Romeo And Juliet, Macbeth and The Merchant Of Venice. The RSC are also releasing educational materials for all at-home Shakespeare scholars.
You might be feeling the urge to stream The Office for the millionth time while you’re working from home. We at Ticketmaster are telling you to fight that urge! But while you’re logged into Netflix you might as well check out some of the recorded stage shows at your fingertips.
Netflix also hosts John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s hit show Oh, Hello On Broadway – somewhere between stand-up comedy and a two-hander play. There’s also Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!, celebrating Streisand’s glittering career, and John Leguizamo’s hilarious one-man show Latin History For Morons.
Marquee TV is affiliated with internationally renowned venues such as The Bolshoi, The Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Donmar Warehouse and more to bring their subscribers full-length productions of shows. If you love cultural greats like lush Shakespeare productions, operas and ballet, this is the perfect streaming service for you.
As well as full length shows for subscribers, they also have a watch-for-free service full of short arts films, behind-the-scenes pieces and interviews.
Visit the world’s biggest theatres online
The Met Opera is helping bring a little culture to everybody’s home until they reopen their doors. Every day there will be a new opera to stream for 20 hours from their extensive archives of past productions, completely free of charge. Check it out each night to see the greats from Puccini, Verdi, Donzetti, Bizet and more.
Closer to home, The Royal Opera House is also releasing a programme of weekly performances to stream via their Facebook page and YouTube channel. Starting from 27 March with Peter And The Wolf, you’ll be able to tune into a new opera or ballet every Friday.
The National Theatre is bringing some of the best theatre to the masses by launching their At Home service. Every Thursday from 2 April, a different show will be available to stream via their YouTube channel and then available to watch for the next seven days. Kicking things off is none other than the smash hit comedy, One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden.
If you’re part of a UK educational institution, you may be able to access The National Theatre’s archives. This free educational resource is full of high-quality recordings of past stage productions from recent critical darlings to fondly remembered shows from decades ago. So whether you’re a student wondering what to do now your exams are postponed or a teacher putting together some distance-learning material, you can always put a few hours aside for yourself and emulate a day at the theatre.
See what YouTube has in store
Gecko Theatre Company have a select number of full-length productions on their YouTube to watch whenever you like. Their shows range from 30 minutes to well over an hour so you can always fit in a show from the people who devise some of the best physical theatre.
What do you do when you can’t go and see your favourite Shakespeare plays? Get your friends together and read them! Robert Myles is doing just that from 19 March and we can all tune in via The Show Must Go Online YouTube channel. Starting with Two Gentlemen Of Verona, a collective of actors will read through the plays in the order they were written. And you don’t have to merely sit and listen, there’s also the possibility to join the readings yourself.
Starkid Productions, a collective of theatre creators, have been writing and sharing their musicals for the last ten years, starting from when they were students together at the University Of Michigan. They rose to online fame with the release of A Very Potter Musical, a parody of the stories about the boy wizard starring a pre-GLEE Darren Criss in the title role.
Since then, they’ve produced a number of original musicals, including send-ups of the 80s video game The Oregon Trail and the cult sci-fi film Starship Troopers, and hosted them all on their YouTube channel free of charge.
Remember to follow your favourite theatres, art spaces, productions, and stage stars across social platforms to be one of the first to know about any exciting future online events.