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The best theatre shows to stream online right now

The stages are shut and we’re all stuck indoors, but there are plenty of options to bring the stage to your living room

Photographer: Johan Persson David Tennant, Catherine Tate

While we’re all housebound, theatres and theatre companies the world over are opening up their digital archives: right now you can probably see more theatre shows – plus dance and opera – from your living room than you could watch in a year just by going out and about in London. From paid-for streaming platforms to YouTube streams to one-offs on other platforms, there’s a huge amount of stuff to see. Here’s what’s available now and soon. First individual shows, then a guide to the streaming platforms.

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Digital players

'The Duchess of Malfi'
Hugo Arterton

Globe Player

What is it? Shakespeare’s Globe’s digital platform.

What’s on it? More than 130 professionally filmed plays from the Globe’s vaults, mostly Shakespeare (duh) but also a couple of other tragedies including ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ starring Gemma Arterton (pictured).

What does it cost? From £3.99 to rent a play and from £5.99 to own one, plus some compilation bundles.

The Crucible, Digital Theatre, Richard Armitage
Photograph: Johan Persson

Digital Theatre

What is it? A Netflix-style streaming service for Digital Theatre’s purpose-made recordings of various plays, operas and dance.

What’s on it? It’s a tiny bit random, veering from West End to fringe, but lots of juicy stuff, with heavy hitters including Richard Armitage in ‘The Crucible’ (pictured) and Sheridan Smith in ‘Funny Girl’.

What does it cost? It’s £9.99 a month for full access, or you can rent an individual show for £7.99.

Richard II, RSC, 2013, David Tennant
Photograph: Kwame Lestrade

Marquee TV

What is it? A streaming player which has a chunk of RSC Shakespeare shows plus a lot of miscellaneous opera and dance from across the globe.

What’s on it? David Tennant in ‘Richard II’ is the pick of the RSC stuff; or if you want to get into opera there’s a complete Ring Cycle on there.

What does it cost? £8.99 a month or £69.99 a year, but it’s offering a 30-day free trial during the pandemic, which is cool.

Plays to stream

Amsterdam, Actor’s Touring Company, Orange Tree Theatre
Photograph: Helen Murray


Maya Arad Yasur’s acclaimed play about the legacy of the Holocaust on Europe’s present will be available to stream from 7.30pm GMT on all Orange Tree Theatre platforms. It will be available for ‘a limited time’ though it’s not stipulated when it will end.

Cyprus Avenue

The Royal Court’s shocking Steven Rea-starring dark comedy will stream on the theatre’s website from noon on Friday March 27 for a month.

Jeremy Abrahams


Dead Centre’s hallucinatory experimental theatre masterpiece has been made available for public consumption – just click on this link and give the password ‘context’.

The Wind in the Willows musical
© Marc Brenner

The Wind in the Willows

Julian Fellowes’s musical version of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ played at the Palladium a few summers ago and is now available to stream in full for free.

One Man, Two Guvnors, James Corden, National Theatre Live
Photographer: Johan Persson

One Man, Two Guvnors

The first play to stream as part of the National Theatre at Home initiative will be this blockbuster comedy starring James Corden. It’ll stream on Thursday April 2 at 7pm, for one week.

Jane Eyre, National Theatre
Photograph: Manuel Harlan

Jane Eyre

The second play to stream as part of the National Theatre at Home initiative will be Sally Cookson’s epic Charlotte Brontë adaptation. It’ll stream from Thursday April 9 at 7pm, for one week.

Photograph: Johan Persson

Treasure Island

The third play to stream for free as part of the National Theatre at Home initiative will be Bryony Lavery’s family adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. It’ll stream from Thursday April 16 at 7pm, for one week.

Twelfth Night, National Theatre
Photograph: Marc Brenner

Twelfth Night

The fourth play to stream for free as part of the National Theatre at Home initiative will be Williams Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, starring Tamsin Greig as Malvolia. It’ll stream from Thursday April 23 at 7pm, for one week.


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