How to watch the best of British theatre from your living room
It’s been a long time since we’ve felt the excitement of spending a night at the theatre. From the orchestra tuning their instruments, stars singing in the spotlight and the final curtain call, there’s nothing quite like watching a mesmerising performance on stage. But, even with theatres shut for the foreseeable future, there’s still plenty of opportunity to satisfy your craving for plays, musicals and even more entertainment.
We’ll be keeping this page updated with the latest ways to stay in touch with the best of British theatre, podcasts and series. There’s guaranteed to be at least something that you’ve never seen before, so make it an occasion to grab front-row seats to the opening and closing night of a production in your living room.
We hope this is a quick fix, and a temporary solution before we can all experience the rush of seeing a live performance. But for now, here’s the ways we’ll be watching all the newest shows.
Royal Shakespeare Company
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) have released Sonnets in Solitude, a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets self-recorded by RSC actors while in lockdown. Many of the actors were working with the RSC at the time of the theatre’s temporary closure on 17th March and have been unable to perform or rehearse since. The RSC will release 90 of the 154 sonnets over the coming weeks which will be available to view via the RSC's YouTube channel. Miles Jupp, Alexandra Gilbreath, Antony Sher, Emma Fielding and Rosie Sheehy are just some of the actors involved.
The BBC are definitely celebrating the best of musical theatre. Throughout January and February, they're encouraging viewers and listeners to vote for their favourite musical theatre song of all time. Sheridan Smith will also host an event, filmed at the London Palladium. Catch up on all the performances from BBC's Greatest Musicals celebration here. Romeo and Juliet will also be available to watch, as well as a series of Lights Up events, including a new play by Hamilton star Giles Terera.
Sadler's Wells and BBC Arts have collaborated to adapt Dancing Nation, showcasing world-class dances. Performances will be available to view from 28 January, scheduled to screen as 15 live and pre-recorded performances. The line up for all three episodes are as follows:
New Adventures Matthew Bourne’s Spitfire - an advertisement divertissement
Candoco Dance Comapany Face In
Breakin' Convention / Jonzi D Window Shopping
HUMANHOOD Orbis (Excerpt)
English National Ballet Hollow
Humanhood SPHERA (Excerpt)
Far From the Norm / Botis Seva BLKDOG (Excerpt)
Birmingham Royal Ballet Lazuli Sky (Excerpt)
Oona Doherty Hope Hunt and the Journey into Lazarus (Excerpt)
Boy Blue Blak Whyte Gray (Excerpt)
Akram Khan with Natalia Osipova Mud of Sorrow: Touch
Matsena Performance Theatre Shades of Blue (Excerpt)
Northern Ballet States of Mind
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Contagion (Excerpt)
Rambert Rouge (Excerpt)
The broadcaster has now made their arts channel free to watch without a subscription. From 4 January, shows available to watch include Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert, The Sound of Music and Michael Ball concerts, as well as documentaries on Hamilton and the Royal Opera House.
The Old Vic
Audiences can relive Dr Seuss' The Lorax this April with a brand new production, starring Hamilton's Jamael Westman. More information can be found here. Previous shows include Lungs starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, Andew Scott in Three Kings, Charlie Sheen in Faith Healer and A Monster Calls.
English National Ballet
English National Ballet’s ‘ENB at HOME’ programme continues to provide free access to full-length ballets and online content. English National Ballet invites audiences around the world to enjoy never before seen full-length recordings. A recorded performance of Nutcracker Delights will be available to watch for free on Christmas Eve from 2pm. Nutcracker Delights will be streaming on the ENB's YouTube channel.
Amazon Prime Video have teamed up with Soho Theatre to produce three series of high-quality comedies! The first season will be available on 3 Dec. 2020, featuring 11 shows previously filmed at the off-West End venue. The line-up for two forthcoming seasons are to be confirmed.
National Theatre at Home
In March, the National Theatre announced the launch of a new initiative. Titled 'National Theatre at Home', audiences around the world could stream NT Live productions for free via YouTube, and students and teachers had access to the National Theatre Collection at home, delivered in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing. Every Thursday, a different production was screened as part of National Theatre Live that was available to watch online for one week via the NT's Youtube channel. Although the initiative has ended, here's a list of all the shows that were screened. National Theatre at Home is available as its own streaming service, with more information here.
One Man, Two Guvnors (2011), starring James Corden
Jane Eyre (2017)
Treasure Island (2014)
Twelfth Night (2017), starring Tamsin Greig
Frankenstein (2011), starring Benedict Cumberbatch
Antony and Cleopatra (2018), starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo
Barber Shop Chronicles (2017)
A Streetcar Named Desire (2014), starring Gillian Anderson
This House (2013)
Coriolanus (2013), starring Tom Hiddleston
The Madness of George III (2018), starring Mark Gatiss
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Deep Blue Sea