It is all a bit odd isn’t it? Staying in to save lives is the right thing to do but as someone one who spent as much spare money as they had left at the end of the month on theatre and gigs, not having regular access to live art was going to prove a challenge. Genuinely, I will choose theatre over food! Then slowly as we went deeper into our lockdown period regular theatre, music festivals and fringe festivals were cancelled. My friends and I began to do horrific levels of math to work out who owed what to who for tickets and working out how much I could donate to venues by refusing the refund. Then the culture gods woke up and delivered, slowly companies began to delve into the world of digital and streaming, and theatre appeared on the telly box thing in the corner of the room! I’ve compiled a list of places you can get your fix of theatre, art and heritage. So, dig in and enjoy!
There are so many companies offering live streaming options. The quality varies from theatre that was purposely filmed on multiple cameras and edited by a super slick computer person to single camera from the back of the auditorium. Here is a quick list:
- Shakespeare’s Globe The Globe Player now includes 37 films from the #CompleteWalk project, The Globe to Globe Festival productions, as well as six full length productions from The Globe.
- Hampstead Theatre at Home Each week (starting Mondays) brings a new play from the theatre’s back catalogue.
- Greenwich Theatre (Flashback Fridays) A rolling programme from the theatre’s back catalogue shown via their Facebook page at 19:30 on Fridays (NB must be watched live).
- Wise Children Emma Rice’s Company has teamed up with BBC to stream their first production Wise Children on BBC iPlayer for free.
- The Royal Court's very hard hitting but also blackly funny play by David Ireland in which a Belfast loyalist (Stephen Rea) has a psychotic episode mistaking his granddaughter for Gerry Adams. Age range 18+
- Tim Crouch A regular to East Anglia theatres, Tim has put his collection online too. These include I, Malvolio, I, Banquo, I,Peaseblossom.
- Showstopper! The Improvised Musical A one off streamed performance on Facebook which does what it says on the tin.
- Eugenius This 2018 musical about the superhero inside all of us was nominated for lots of awards. Shown via Facebook (but this one is watch anytime) it is an “homage to the sounds and cinema of the Eighties”
- The Wind In The Willows Rufus Hound as Toad in a family friendly musical from Stiles and Drew (book by Julian Fellowes). There is an accompanying downloadable activity pack too.
- National Theatre Live Stream are making some of their biggest hits available to watch.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber free streams from Friday 3 April, the shows will be streamed on the youtube channel at 7 pm. Fans will then have 48 hours to watch and sing along to the show.
- Deafinitely Theatre have their full performance of Love Labour’s Lost which is completely in BSL online on their website.
- The Leicester Curve have placed archive recordings of their shows online. These were filmed from on a single camera at the back of the auditorium. Although never intended for public broadcast, they are making a selection of the recordings available with captions for everyone to enjoy.
- Pentabus have put some of their small-scale rural tour online for people to watch including: The Tale of Little Bevan, As the Crow Flies and Crossings plus many more.
- Imitating The Dog regular tourers to the East of England have put several of their performances online for the public to indulge in.
- The RSC from now until September as part of the BBC's plans to keep bringing arts to audiences during the Coronavirus pandemic, you will be able to watch six of their shows from the comfort of your own home over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out.
I've found this collation of streaming dates incredibly useful, check it out, its focus is on the larger companies and includes Opera, Ballet and Theatre:
Our very own associate company Lamphouse Theatre have come up with Lamphouse on Demand - for just £3 a month you access some exclusive Lamphouse content plus they're writing a performing a brand new show every week. Find out more
If you can afford to and want to subscribe to a theatre version of Netflix try either Broadway HD or Marquee TV both have subscription and free trial periods. These sites include productions from The Globe, RSC, The Donmar as well as 40 Broadway Musicals.
That should keep you occupied for a little while, shouldn’t it?!