Theatre / Feature

Our guide to streaming the best theatre at home

Here's how to get your theatre fix while social distancing.

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.


Updated: 9 July 2020

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Show Must Go On series concludes with a re-run of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Donny Osmond. It will be streaming from Friday 10 July 2020 at 19:00, available for 48 hours, and marks the end of the current run of full-length shows. The YouTube channel will continue to present clips throughout the summer, before returning in the near future with an all-new season of productions.

[Watch here]

Royal Shakespeare Company

The BBC will broadcast two of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions throughout July. On Sunday 5 July the 2014 production of Much Ado About Nothing, starring Edward Bennett and Michelle Terry, will be aired on BBC Four at 21:00. Othello will follow on Sunday 12 July at 21:30, starring Hugh Quarshie and Lucian Msmati. Together they form part of the BBC’s Culture In Quarantine series.

[Watch here]

The National Theatre At Home

The National Theatre is bringing some of the best theatre to the masses through their At Home service. The videos will be released at 19:00 on the given day, and available to view for 7 days.

The forthcoming schedule looks like this:

9 July 2020The Deep Blue Sea, featuring Helen McCrory in what is dubbed one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama
16 July 2020Amadeus, starring Lucian Msamati in the role of Salieri, directed by Michael Longhurst

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.

[Watch here]

Birdsong

Starring Max Bowden, Stephen Boxer,Tom Kay, Madeline Knight and Tim Treloar, and narrated by Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong marks the 104th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme. The special production unfolds through video technology, live performance, sound design and music, directed by Alastair Whatley and Charlotte Peters.

The show will be available from 19:00 on 1 July 2020 and remain online for 72 hours.

[Watch here]

West End Live

Having cancelled the physical event, a virtual West End Live took place on 20 – 21 June 2020 and was streamed on Facebook. Both days featured some of the most memorable performances from across the last five years.

West End Live has also been posting activities around the performances, with quizzes, live piano requests, and more. Find more information on the official West End Live website.

[Watch here]

Brixton House: House To House

Ovalhouse are presenting 360° plays filmed by LIVR. Four plays will be available to watch – Koko Brown’s critically acclaimed productions, WHITE and GREY, Mike Kenny’s Random Selfies, and Derailed. All four can be enjoyed in full 360° as if fans were sat in the auditorium, also offering an immersive VR experience. Full details, including timings, can be found on the Brixton House website.

[Watch here]

The Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House has confirmed another month of full-length productions, launching at 19:00 on the given day. The Cellist will be available from 29 May, followed by Il trittico from 5 June. La Fille mal gardée will premiere on 12 June, with The Magic Flute scheduled for 19 June 2020.

[Watch here]

The Old Vic

The Old Vic continues to make full-length productions available for free. From 19:00 on Wednesday 8 July, fans can access Mood Music – which originally premiered to celebrate the theatre’s 200th birthday in 2018. The production is written by Joe Penhall and directed by Roger Michell.

A socially distanced production of Lungs will also be live-streamed from the empty Old Vic, presented live to audiences on a nightly basis throughout rehearsals. The Old Vic will then host a full line-up of play readings from its empty auditorium.

[Watch here]

Bristol Old Vic

Premiering at 19:00 on the given day, Bristol Old Vic have confirmed a series of three shows to be made available for free. Starting on 29 May, fans can access the 2017 production of Messiah, directed by the venue’s artist director Tom Morris. A Monster Calls  will be available from 7 June, with hit musical The Grinning Man scheduled for 26 June 2020. Further productions are expected to be announced.

[Watch here]

The Barn Presents: The Music of Elliot Davis

Taking place on Saturday 6 June 2020, the Barn Theatre will celebrate the work of Elliot Davis. The event will welcome performances from Aimie Atkinson (Six), Luke Bayer (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), Tsemaye Bob-Egbe (Tina), Busted and Son of Dork singer James Bourne (co-writer of Loserville), Lucie Jones (Waitress), Aaron Lee Lambert (Hamilton), Sam Lupton (Avenue Q), 2020 musical theatre graduate Jordan McMahon, Jamie Muscato (Heathers), Aaron Sidwell (Wicked) and Jos Slovick (Spring Awakening).

Elliot Davis’ work includes LoservilleOut There and Best Friends And Butterflies.

[Watch here]

Southwark Playhouse

Southwark Playhouse have launched Southwark Stayhouse, an online collection of full-length theatre shows from their archives, available to watch until the theatre physically opens its doors once again. The series includes the likes of WastedBoundTwelfth Night, and The Beast Will Rise.

[Watch here]

English National Ballet

The English National Ballet is hosting a new performance via their YouTube channel every Wednesday as part of their #WednesdayWatchParty. From Wednesday 27 May 2020, the company are streaming Derek Deane’s iconic Swan Lake featuring lead principals Isaac Hernández as Prince Siegfried and Jurgita Dronina as Odette/Odile.

[Watch here]

Shakespeare’s Globe

Every two week’s, London’s most iconic playhouse is streaming a different play from their archives full of recordings of world-class productions. Check out their website for a season full of Shakespeare including MacbethThe Merry Wives of Windsor, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

[Watch here]

Cirque Du Soleil

Cirque Du Soleil have launched an online content hub which includes everything from opportunities to indulge in the company’s celebrated music, to behind the curtain episodes for a number of their shows, and DIY guides for kids and adults alike, including face paining, fitness and dance. There are also a number of Cirque Du Soleil specials, including 60 minute specials with footage from the live performances.

[Watch here]

Lincoln Centre’s Broadway Fridays

Based in New York City, the world-renowned Lincoln Centre will be streaming musicals free of charge throughout June, including CarouselThe Nance, and Act One.

From 5 June 2020 fans can watch Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel starring Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn and more. Nathan Lane stars in The Nance from 12 June 2020, and Jame Lapine’s Act One – telling the tale of Moss Hart – runs from 19 June 2020.

[Watch here]

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Featuring the music of Ian Dury And The Blockheads, Graeae Theatre Company’s Reasons To Be Cheerful will be available for two months from 3 June 2020 until 3 August 2020. The 2017 production includes songs such as Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Plaistow Patricia and Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll.

[Watch here]

Harry Potter at Home

With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child set to continue to dazzle fans in the heart of the West End, some famous faces (and voices) are reading through the first Harry Potter book, including Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry and Eddie Redmayne.

[Watch here]

Born To Riverdance

Narrated by Angela Scanlon, the documentary follows Amy-Mae Dolan and the cast of Riverdance as they prepare for the 25th Anniversary show at Dublin’s 3 Arena. The episode aired on BBC One on Wednesday 13 May 2020 and is now available to watch online.

[Watch here]

Unprecedented: Real Time Theatre From a State of Isolation

UK based theatre company Headlong are teaming up with a number of prominent playwrights to create new, digital plays. Confirming new works by fourteen playwrights, the productions will be premiered later this month (full details to be revealed soon). The impressive list of writers include James Graham – renowned for his West End plays QuizInkLabour Of Love and This House – alongside the likes of Jennifer Haley, Duncan Macmillan and Jasmine Lee-Jones.

The series will star the likes of Gemma Arterton, James Norton, Lennie James, Hulian Barratt, Rory Kinnear, Meera Syal and Alison Steadman. Eleven of the digital plays will be broadcast on BBC Four across three nights with all fourteen available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

[Find out more]

Fleabag

Soho Theatre’s On Demand service is offering fans the opportunity to rent the live version of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s multi-award winning and highly acclaimed Fleabag. All proceeds from the rental fee will be donated to support charities leading the fight against Covid-19.

Beginning life as the one-woman comedy-drama stage show, Fleabag has gone on to become a prominent BBC production spread across two seasons. It stars Waller-Bridge in the title role alongside an equally brilliant turn by Academy Award winner Olivia Coleman.

[Watch here]

The Midnight Gang

Adapted from comedian and acclaimed children’s writer David Walliams’ book of the same name, The Midnight Gang is available to stream free of charge for one month from 30 April 2020, courtesy of Chichester Festival Theatre.

[Watch here]

Beauty and the Beast

Chichester Festival Theatre are also streaming a new version of Beauty and the Beast, available for 30 days from 21 May 2020. Directed by Dale Rooks and based on the fairy tale by Anna Ledwich, the production promises a fair few surprises as it adapts the original story.

[Watch here]

Behind the scenes with Les Misérables

The West End production of Les Misérables have revealed a behind the scenes documentary starring Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Lucas.

[Watch here]

Only The Brave

Daniel Sparrow Productions have made a recording of the new musical Only The Brave available to stream in its entirety, completely free of charge. The rousing original musical tells the story of the soldiers that won the D-Day landings in the Second World War, forever cementing their legacy as heroes.

[Watch here]

Wise Children

Following twin showgirls as they navigate the often contradictory world of glamour and darkness, Emma Rice’s adaptation of Angela Carter’s novel is available to stream in full on BBC iPlayer.

[Watch here]

What The Butler Saw

Audiences are able to enjoy the Made At Curve and Theatre Royal Bath co-production of What The Butler Saw on the Curve Theatre’s website. Written by the late Joe Orton, the Nikolai Foster directed production was first performed to mark 50 years since the passing of the Leicester playwright.

[Watch here]

Eugenius The Musical

Eugenius The Musical have released a recording of the entire musical on their Facebook page to raise money for the charity, Acting For Others. Following Eugene, Janey and Feris as they find the superhero within, this musical is packed with unforgettable songs and gut-busting laughs.

[Watch here]

Wind In The Willows

Wind In The Willows are streaming their entire musical in aid of several theatre charities that will be crucial in providing relief for professionals in the industry right now. Available to rent for just £2.99, you can follow the beloved characters from Kenneth Grahame’s children’s book in this colourful and energetic retelling.

[Watch here]

Cypress Avenue from London’s Royal Court Theatre

London’s Royal Court Theatre are hosting a filmed version of Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland. The production is available to watch for free on the Royal Court website, their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. The filmed version comprises a combination of captured theatre performance and on-location footage, and stars Stephen Rea and Vicky Featherstone.

[Watch here]

The Goes Wrong Show

Fans of Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society should can head on over to iPlayer to check out The Goes Wrong Show. Written and produced by the team behind The Play The Goes Wrong, this series sees the fictional ramshackle theatre group put on a pilot for a different TV genre with each episode. Expect to see inaccurate WW2 dramas, low budget period pieces and one misguided Christmas special.

[Watch here]

Leave A Light On from The Theatre Café

The Theatre Café is hosting a Leave A Light On concert series. Twice a day, fans are 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. At the time of writing, they have raised over £12,000 in just two weeks from tickets bought by fans to see the likes of Lucie Jones, Cassidy Janson and Layton Williams perform. Keep checking back to see their upcoming line-ups.

[Watch here]

All The Web’s A Stage from Theatre Together

A new collective of over 60 theatre professionals came together to support a number of charitable organisations helping people in the industry affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Theatre Together organised the online event All The Web’s A Stage, which took place on 23 April 2020 and included performances from David Hunter, Joanne Clifton and Marisha Wallace.

[Watch here]

Broadway.com

The YouTube channel is hosting regular live-stream performances by a range of musical stars, including Kelli O’Hara and Rachel Tucker.

On Sunday 26 April 2020, the channel hosted a celebration of the work of Stephen Sondheim, including appearances by Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, Christine Baranski, Donna Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Aaron Tveit, Maria Friedman, Katrina Lenk, Michael Cerveris, Brandon Uranowitz, Elizabeth Stanley, Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani, Iain Armitage, Stephen Schwartz and, from the cast of Pacific Overtures at Classic Stage Company, Ann Harada, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh and Thom Sesma.

[Watch here]

Half Moon Live

Half Moon, one of the UK’s leading young people’s venue and touring company, is presenting a new full-length family friendly show every Wednesday. As well as the full shows, families can also access backstage interviews and further information on virtual opportunities over the coming weeks. The list of available shows includes the award-winning What Once Was Ours – an immersive show about identity and belonging – as well as the poignant Boys Don’t.

[Watch here]

Deafinitely Theatre

The accessible theatre company will be presenting three online productions in both spoken English and British Sign Language, starting with Love’s Labour’s Lost.

[Watch here]

Hampstead Theatre

In partnership with The Guardian, Hampstead Theatre productions will be available to stream via their At Home service. The series includes Beth Steel’s Wonderland, which first showed in 2014 and took audiences into every facet of the UK Miners’ Strike in the 1980s, and Drawing The Line by Howard Brenton – a passionate dive into the chaotic partitioning of India.

[Watch here]

Belarus Free Theatre

Few companies can boast of making as many as 24 theatre productions available to watch for free. Belarus Free Theatre’s YouTube channel is releasing a new show every weekend across three months, spanning its entire history. This year it celebrates 15 years of making accessible theatre as well as launching a new fairy tale inspired campaign, #LoveOverVirus.

[Watch here]

Imitating The Dog

The theatre company is releasing a whole host of their previously recorded shows, with a new play airing every two weeks. The series includes Oh, The Night, Night Of The Living Dead (17 April), Arrivals And Departures (1 May) 6 Degrees Below The Horizon (15 May) and Yorkshire Electric (29 May) with more to be announced.

[Watch here]

Told By An Idiot

Hosting a new show every week – having started with My Perfect Mind – Told By An Idiot capture the absurdity of the human condition, providing much-needed escapism times like these. Keep checking back with them to see what they upload for us to watch next.

[Watch here]

Sir Patrick Stewart’s daily Shakespeare sonnets

Sir Patrick Stewart is ensuring 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.

[Watch here]

The Met Opera

The Met Opera are providing daily new operas to stream for 20 hours, selected from their extensive archives of past productions, and completely free of charge. Check it out each night to see the greats from Puccini, Verdi, Donzetti, Bizet and more.

[Watch here]

Gecko Theatre Company

Gecko Theatre Company have a select number of full-length productions on their YouTube channel. Their shows range from 30 minutes to well over an hour, devising some of the best physical theatre around.

[Watch here]

The Show Must Go Online

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 via The Show Must Go Online YouTube channel. Having started with Two Gentlemen Of Verona, a collective of actors 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.

[Watch here]

Starkid Productions

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 parodies 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.

[Watch here]


Discover more:

Feature: Our guide to the best comedy live-streams
Feature: The best online exhibitions, museums and virtual tours
Feature: Our guide to finding the best live-stream gigs


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.

Share post