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.
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.
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.
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
The world’s coolest theatre is streaming a play every night, at 6.30pm German time, for free. Many of the shows have English subtitles.
London’s most famous dance theatre is laying on a free programme of work, including full productions and dance workshops.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.