Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus
Photograph: Johan Persson Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus

International and Japanese theatre shows you can watch for free online

Enjoy the world's best musicals, ballet, plays and more from the comfort of your own living room

By Emma Steen

You don't have to be in the West End or around Broadway to see some of the world's finest stage shows. As we all opt to stay home for the time being, theatres around the world are putting their productions online. Whether you're a fan of Phantom of the Opera, love a bit of ballet, or you're keen for some kabuki, the theatre is more accessible now than ever before.

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Catch these live shows

Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus
Photograph: Johan Persson


A timeless story of political backstabbing, ‘Coriolanus’ is a Shakespearean tragedy that could easily be set in modern times. In this production by London’s National Theatre, Tom Hiddleston portrays a Roman general, Coriolanus, who is called to protect the city from its neighboring enemy, the Volscians. Though Coriolanus is initially celebrated as a hero for leading the Roman army to victory, his arrogance and lack of approval from the public results in his banishment. In his thirst for revenge, the disgraced general makes the dangerous decision to join forces with his former enemy.

Photo: Courtesy of National Theatre, Tokyo

Dannoura Kabuto Gunki

NTJ’s latest offering on Youtube is a Bunraku production of ‘Dannoura Kabuto Gunki’, a traditional piece of puppet theatre that was first staged in Osaka in 1732. Set in the time of the Genpei War (1180-1185), two Genji leaders seek the capture of a Taira clan samurai known as Kagekiyo. Kagekiyo was a key fighter in the battle against the Minamoto clan, but his whereabouts following the Battle of Dannoura are unknown. The two Genji leaders instead bring Kagekiyo’s lover, Akoya, to court in the hopes that she would reveal where he was hiding. Akoya pleads with the two leaders to let her go, claiming that she doesn’t know anything, but before she can be released she must pass an unusual test devised to prove whether or not she is telling the truth.

Marcelino Sambe, Matthew Ball and Lauren Cuthbertson in The Cellist (Royal Ballet)
Photograph: Bill Cooper

The Cellist

Rich and poignant, joyous and tragic, 'The Cellist' draws on the talents of The Royal Ballet's Principals, Character Artists, Soloists and Corps to tell the moving story of the cellist's life. Composer Philip Feeney incorporates some of the most moving and powerful cello music of Elgar, Beethoven, Fauré, Mendelssohn, Piatti, Rachmaninoff and Schubert into an exquisite score that is itself an homage to the cello.

The Lost Thing
Photo: Stephen Wright

The Lost Thing

Diversity is at the heart of this debut production by composer and lyricist James Maxwell. In this heart-tugging adaptation of Shaun Tan's eponymous picture book, a cast of disabled and non-disabled singers, dancers and musicians come together to tell a story about how we are all connected. 'The Lost Thing' is a co-commission and co-production by the Royal Opera and Candoco Dance Company. 

Photo: ©National Theatre, Tokyo

Kanadehon Chūshingura

In commemoration of its 35th anniversary, Japan's National Bunraku Theatre is streaming one of its most popular productions, 'Kanadehon Chushingura'. The 11-act bunraku puppet play was composed in 1748 and explores the themes of loyalty and vengeance, as exemplified by the protagonist Yuranosuke. 

Cirque du Soleil - Zed
Photo: Cirque du Soleil

CirqueConnect by Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil can’t perform to a live audience right now, so it’s taking the show online. This week, the troupe is streaming the most impressive moments from the larger-than-life show ‘Zed’ on CirqueConnect, its new digital hub. ‘Zed’ was exclusively created by the circus juggernaut for a Tokyo audience and is now available on YouTube completely free.

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