Where to watch Theatre from home
The Courtyard’s guide to streaming the best theatre at home to entertain you in isolation!
Here’s how to get your theatre fix online whilst we’re closed during social distancing.
At a time when you cannot physically go to the theatre, many are looking online for stage productions. With a number of established institutions offering online services, here’s our guide to streaming the best theatre directly into your home. Don’t forget there are lots of local theatres releasing online content, so follow and support your local theatre on social media during these difficult times to stay up to date.
Cirque Du Soleil are hosting 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.
Founded in 2017, the award which includes ongoing mentoring and a £5,000 cash prize was designed to nurture rising talent, with a particular interest in female voices. This year over 200 plays were submitted. Stars like Aimee Lou Wood, Dianna Agron, Kyle Soller, Phoebe Fox, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Aki Omoshaybi and George MacKay are supporting the event with self-filmed video excerpts from the finalist plays.
As part of the BBC’s Culture In Quarantine initiative, see a special presentation of Almeida’s hit production Albion from Sunday 16 August 2020 at 22:10. Originally running in 2017, it was directed by Rupert Goold and stars Victoria Hamilton, who played the Queen Mother in The Crown. The cast also includes Nigel Betts, Edyta Budnik, Wil Coban, Margot Leicester, Nicholas Rowe, Helen Schlesinger, Angel Coulby, Dónal Finn, Geoffrey Freshwater and Daisy Edgar-Jones, who recently received acclaim as Marianne in the TV adaptation of the novel Normal People.
Featuring the original cast from the on-board production, Disney Cruises have revealed a full stage version of Tangled: The Musical on YouTube. Following the tale of Repunzel, with Elisha Ainsley in the main role, the 2015 production features three new songs not featured in the 2010 Academy Award nominated film, written by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.
Created during lockdown by Waitress star David Hunter and singer-songwriter Caroline Key, The Space Between has been released in full to support the Theatre Artists Fund. Communicating over Whatsapp, Hunter and Kay wrote the musical in three weeks and arranged the video in collaboration with musical supervisor Nick Barstow.
The Old Vic continues to make full-length productions available for free. From 19:00 on Wednesday 5 August 2020, fans can access Jekyll and Hyde, directed and choreographed by award-winner Drew McOnie (Jesus Christ Superstar, Strictly Ballroom). The production will star Daniel Collins as Dr Jekyll, Tim Hodges as Mr Hyde and Rachel Muldoon as Dahlia, alongside Ashley Andrews, Joao Carolino, Carrie Taylor Johnson, Anabel Kutay, Ebony Molina, Fraya Rowley, Alexzandra Sarmiento, Barnaby Thompson and Jason Winter.
Having premiered a number of productions, Bristol Old Vic are hosting an At Home hub including a family arts hub, means to stay connected, and the Bristol Arts Channel hosting discussion, films, and virtual tours.
The National Theatre has presented some of the best theatre to the masses through their At Home service, including One Man Two Guvnors, Jane Eyre, Treasure Island and Twelfth Night. The theatre’s YouTube channel continues to host trailers and exclusive behind the scene footage.
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.
ROH has launched a programme of free online content for the culturally curious at home. It includes broadcasts and musical masterclasses, and it’s all available on their website here.
The RSC and Marquee TV have announced plans to release the 2017 production of Twelfth Night with Kara Tointon and Ade Edmondson. They will be presenting new work each Saturday, with Twelfth Night being released on 11 April. The RSC is then going to host a “watch along” that evening at 7pm. You can find out how to get a 30-day free trial for Marquee TV here.
You can also watch six RSC shows straight from BBC iPlayer as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine project.
- Watch Macbeth on iPlayer – with Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack
- Watch Hamlet on iPlayer – directed by Simon Godwin with Paapa Essiedu
- Watch Romeo and Juliet on iPlayer directed by our Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman
- Watch Much Ado About Nothing on iPlayer – directed by Christopher Luscombe
- Watch Othello on iPlayer – with Hugh Quarshie and Lucian Msamati
- Watch The Merchant of Venice on iPlayer – directed by Polly Findla
See all of the Shakespeare plays available on BBC Culture in Quarantine here, from the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and the Royal Opera House here.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals are streaming every Friday at 7pm. Fans will have 48 hours to watch the productions following the premiere.
Every two week’s, London’s most iconic playhouse is streaming a different play from their archives full of recordings of world-class productions on YouTube.
Check out their website for a season full of Shakespeare running until June, including productions of Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
You can also buy and rent productions on Globe Player.
Local rural theatre company, and partners, Pentabus are releasing recordings of past shows on their website for free. These will remain live for the next three months and will be released weekly on a Friday at 2pm.
The Met Opera are providing daily new operas to stream for 23 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.
They’re also creating some fantastic At-Home Galas on the MetOpera YouTube Channel
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.
All the Web’s a Stage is an online event consisting of 12 marvellous jam-packed hours of all your favourite performers from the West End and theatre to comedy, drag and magic – doing what they do best, but swapping big stages and bright lights for their couch. It broadcast live on 23 April, but is still available to watch!
Les Misérables – The Staged Concert is now available as a digital download. Starring Matt Lucas, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Alfie Boe, £5 from each download will be donated to charity, split between Acting for Others, the Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund and Captain Tom Moore’s Walk for the NHS Fund.
Alongside the concert, a specially created mini documentary “Bringing it Home” was released which includes footage of the stars at their homes talking about their experiences. Plus never seen before backstage footage that captures the humour, camaraderie and thrill of performing to live audiences.
A performance of Emma Rice’s ebullient theatrical production of Angela Carter’s deliciously dark final novel, Wise Children, filmed live at the York Theatre Royal in 2019 is now available on BBC iPlayer.
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 a small cost, you can follow the beloved characters from Kenneth Grahame’s children’s book in this colourful and energetic retelling.
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.
In partnership with The Guardian, Hampstead Theatre productions will be available to stream via their At Home service.
Gecko Physical Theatre have put some their back catalogue of shows, including The Overcoat and The Race, on their YouTube channel as well as their BBC commission The Time of Your Life. Their shows range from 30 minutes to well over an hour, devising some of the best physical theatre around.
Robert Myles hosts reading of Shakespeare plays online via The Show Must Go Online YouTube channel. Having started with Two Gentlemen Of Verona, a collective of actors (including Lucy Aarden who was a member of The Courtyard Youth Theatre), read through the plays in the order they were written. There’s also the possibility to join the readings yourself.
The iconic Northern Ballet company is putting shows online for free – including the lauded production of George Orwell’s 1984.
The venue has begun streaming archived shows including the musical version of David Walliams’ The Midnight Gang.
Only the Brave, the hit musical starring Caroline Sheen and David Thaxton, is available for free online. The show, filmed by AdVision TV in 2016, tells the story of a group of soldiers in the run-up to the D-Day landings. It had its first run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008, before a full production premiered in 2016 at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff.
The iconic theatre company has brought back the archive recording of its hit version of Shakespeare’s problem play, which was captured live at the Barbican in 2017. It’s available until 25 May.
Lin-Manuel Miranda turns a piece of reporting we broadcast in 2012 into a 14-minute Broadway musical, created by people who normally work on Broadway.Ramos himself is about to take on the leading role in the In the Heights movie, scheduled to be released this summer.
BalletBoyz’ new dance show Deluxe, which was due to open at London Sadler’s Wells, will instead be made available online soon for free.
The Broadway Musical YouTube channel is hosting regular live-stream performances by a range of musical theatre stars, including Kelli O’Hara and Rachel Tucker.