Published on: 1st June 2020
With events and large gatherings cancelled, you may be missing out on the chance to visit the theatre. Luckily, many companies and individuals are bringing the excitement of the stage into your home.
Making use of streaming services, there are plenty of ways you can watch performances from the comfort of your own sofa during the coronavirus restrictions. Here are just six of the options that are worth exploring if you’re missing plays, musicals or other theatre experiences.
1. National Theatre
Being founded in 1963 and boasting three theatres, the National Theatre has a huge catalogue of shows theatre lovers will want to dive into, whether you prefer the classics or something with a contemporary twist.
Every Thursday a new National Theatre production is streamed online completely free. There have already been some incredible, award-winning shows streamed and enjoyed by thousands from Treasure Island to Antony & Cleopatra. This week’s offering is This House, available to stream until June 4th 2020, with Coriolanus, featuring Tom Hiddleston, streaming for a week afterwards.
In addition, the National Theatre Collection, which contains 30 world-class productions, is available for pupils to stream at home and the free trial period has been extended to all others.
2. Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil has been wowing audiences since 1992 with its mix of traditional circus acts, modern acrobatics and storytelling. The touring shows have been watched to sell-out audiences around the world and now you have a chance to watch them online too.
The company has uploaded several 60-minute specials of some of its most popular shows, including Zed, which was only performed in Tokyo, and Crystal, which combines acrobatics with ice skating. On Cirque du Soleil’s YouTube channel, you can also find behind the scene clips. The gravity-defying acts and excitement make these perfect for enjoying with children.
3. Shakespeare’s Globe
You can watch some of the most well-known plays from the Bard right in your home thanks to Shakespeare’s Globe. The world-renowned theatre, with thousands visiting over the summer months.
Two productions – the Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream – are currently available to stream for free via BBC iPlayer. The company’s YouTube Channel is also offering a chance to watch The Merry Wives of Windsor, running from 1st June to 14th June 2020. Don’t worry if your favourite Shakespeare play isn’t on the list to be streamed, you can head to Globe Player to purchase or rent productions too.
4. Southwark Playhouse
The Southwark Playhouse is a leading off West End theatre in London that offers a programme of plays and musicals since opening its doors in 1993, with a focus on inspiring the next generation. Its programme aims to showcase some of the UK’s best up and coming talent and reinterpret classic and contemporary plays of note.
To continue reaching its audience during lockdown, the company has launched Southwark Stayhouse to stream full-length shows and exclusive video content. Currently available is Bound, a play that follows the fortunes of six trawlermen from Devon as they embark on one final journey, and Wasted, a new take on the lives of the Brontë sisters with a rock score.
5. English National Ballet
Founded in 1950, the English Ballet has been showcasing amazing dance talent for seven years, as well as playing a role in training the next generations of ballerinas. The company aims to bring world-class ballet to the widest possible audience and it’s Wednesday Watch Party is part of that. Every Wednesday at 7 pm, a beautiful ballet will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube, on the on 17th June it will Song of the Earth, followed by Manon a week later.
English National Ballet is also running a series of online classes and workshops you may want to get involved in, including a daily Youth Dance Course for 14-19-year olds that could help keep teenagers entertained. Find the full programme of events here.
6. Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet are offering a free programme of online broadcasts as part of the Royal Opera House’s #OurHousetoYourHouse series. Via their YouTube channel, fans can find musical masterclasses, glimpse behind the scenes footage and watch full-length productions.
The full-length production will be available to see at any time after the premiere date. Already available is Anastasia and Cendrillon. Over the next few weeks, The Cellist, Il trittico and The Magic Flute are among the productions that will be added, find out more here.