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Photograph: Andrej Uspenski/Royal Opera House

YouTube is streaming shows from London’s best theatres this Christmas

Ideal if you can’t face watching ‘Love, Actually’ again

Written by
Isabelle Aron

’Tis the season to veg out in front of the TV. And we’ll all be doing a lot more of that with London in Tier 3, meaning much of the capital is closed. Thankfully, you won’t have to be resigned to mindlessly scrolling through Netflix for festive specials or watching repeats of ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ on telly, as YouTube has announced its 12 Days of Culture programme, teaming up with ten British cultural institutions to bring theatre, dance and music into our homes.

From December 25 to January 5, you’ll be able to watch performances on the YouTube channels of theatres across London and the UK. London venues taking part include the Donmar Warehouse, Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells, plus Little Angel Theatre and Unicorn Theatre for kids’ entertainment. Expect to see some celebs, too: you can catch Imelda Staunton and Minnie Driver doing their thing in the Donmar Warehouse’s festive concert ‘Looking a Lot Like Christmas’ or watch Benedict Cumberbatch take part in Letters Live at the Freemasons’ Hall in 2015.

The streams will be free to watch but audiences will be encouraged to make a donation to the institution whose show they’re enjoying. Details of how to give will be included in each video’s description.

And if you’re sad that you can’t go and see a panto, lockdown stalwart the National Theatre is here to save Christmas by streaming ‘Dick Whittington’ on its YouTube channel for free from December 23 to 27, so you can boo, hiss and shout ‘he’s behind you!’ from the comfort of your sofa. Turns out even a pandemic can’t truly stop panto season.

Check out the full list of performances:

Donmar Warehouse, ‘Looking a Lot Like Christmas’, December 16 to January 5. Watch it here.

Bristol Old Vic, ‘Messiah’, December 25 to January 5. Watch it here.

Unicorn Theatre, theatrical readings of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Twits’, and three stories from Philip Pullman’s ‘Grimm Tales’, 25 December to January 5. Watch it here.

Royal Opera House, ‘Don Quixote’ and ‘The Magic Flute’, December 25 to January 5. Watch it here.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, ‘A Hero’s Life’ and ‘English Matters’ December 23 to Jan 5. Watch it here.

Scottish Ballet, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘The Fairy Kiss’ and Christopher Hampson’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, December 25 to January 5. Watch it here.

Little Angel Theatre, ‘The Bed’ and ‘Me...’, December 25 to January 5. Watch it here.

Sadler’s Wells, ‘Global Gala’, available now. Watch it here.

The Shows Must Go On!, ‘The War of the Worlds’, December 25 to January 5. Watch it here.

Letters Live, Letters Live at the Freemasons’ Hall, available now and Letters Live at the Union Chapel, available from December 20. Watch it here.

Find more festive things to do:

12 heartwarming online Christmas events to make you feel festive despite it all.

How to get Christmas dinner delivered in London this year.

Christmassy things you can still do in Tier 3 London.

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