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Photograph of a theatre, shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

How to celebrate World Theatre Day from your sofa

Andrzej Lukowski

To state the obvious, it’s a pretty unusual World Theatre Day this year, since more or less every theatre in the world is shut. To state the even more obvious, this situation sucks.

And yet the fact that we’re all in the same boat, all around the world, and that so many theatres have opened up their digital archives to the general public means, oddly, this is more of a world theatre day than usual. We may be stuck in our living rooms, but we can beam in some of the greatest theatre on the planet. Here are five suggestions for today.

1. See Stephen Rea in an acclaimed black comedy at the Royal Court

David Ireland’s scabrous comedy ‘Cyprus Avenue’ about an Irish grandfather who mistakes his grandchild for Gerry Adams (pictured) was already slated for a special web release to celebrate World Theatre Day. It’s available free for a month from today, from the Royal Court website.

2. Take in a Teutonic classic

Berlin’s Schaubühne is probably the coolest theatre in the entire world, and it’s streaming one classic play per night, for free, from 6.30pm GMT+1. Tonight, you can watch legendary director Peter Stein’s 1972 production of ‘Peer Gynt’. It’s in German, with no translation, but tomorrow it’s the turn of Thomas Ostermeier’s 2005 ‘Hedda Gabler’, which comes with English and French surtitles. For more information click here.

3. Swoon over the BalletBoyz

London’s great dance theatre Sadler’s Wells is shut too, but today it’s launching a free digital programme that starts with sophisticated dance studs BalletBoyz’ spectacular, all-female-choreographed show ‘Deluxe’ – which was supposed to play there IRL tonight. More information here.

4. Get the kids into ballet too

The Royal Opera House is also launching a programme of free work tonight, with a mix of opera and ballet productions that’ll be streamed one per week. First up is the much-loved family ballet ‘Peter and the Wolf’. For more information click here.

5. Just rent a show!

A lot of formerly niche theatre-streaming platforms are coming into their own in the current emergency: if you want to see a theatre show tonight, why not rent one on demand? Globe Player has a lot of – duh – Shakespeare’s Globe productions, Marquee TV boasts a fine roster of RSC shows and opera (and is running a 30-day free trial) and Digital Theatre has a nice mixed selection of mostly recent Brit theatre including Sheridan Smith in ‘Funny Girl’ and David Tennant and Catherine Tate in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. More information here.

For news about the National Theatre streaming shows for free every Thursday, click here.

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