Isolation theatre roundup: The best places to stream theatre online in May
Just because we’re in lockdown doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some theatre. Here’s our list of the best upcoming theatre streams – and they’re not all Shakespeare.
Better in Person
A series of five short plays written by five women, inspired by the conversations by the public that occur online due to the lockdown, rather than in person. Directed by Abigail Sewell, the plays are presented on a Zoom call and confront the audience with stories with a range of emotional heights.
Find out more about Better in Person here.
A series of new “mini-operas” composed, produced and performed by an international team of hundreds of participants and organised by Ella Marchment. The whole project is centred around the themes of distance and community, and promises to deliver opera lovers worldwide a good fix during the lockdown.
Find out more about #OperaHarmony here.
The Understudy: The Ultimate Underdog Story
An exciting radio play by Henry Filloux-Bennett featuring big names such as Stephen Fry and Mina Anwar, this show is bound to be a hit. It tells the story of an understudy following his dreams as he aspires to a career at the West End, and is guaranteed to be a blast.
Find out more about The Understudy: The Ultimate Underdog Story here.
The National Theatre Home
The National Theatre is continuing to stream some of their best productions free on their YouTube channel each Thursday. Last week and running until 14th May we got to see their fantastic 2018 production of Antony and Cleopatra, and this week we’re graced with Innua Ellams’s Barber Shop Chronicles. Must-sees, all around.
Find out more on the National Theatre’s website here.
The Royal Opera House
Much like the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House is presenting some of its most grandiose recent performances free on its YouTube channel. Recent highlights included La Traviata and a modern ballet adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis; Anastasia will be streaming on 15th May.
Find out more on the Royal Opera House’s website here.
A new online streaming service created by… well, the Southwark Playhouse, Southwark Stayhouse will be sharing video content from the renowned theatre’s most celebrated productions, such as their 2018 rock musical Wasted, Jesse Briton’s Bound, and projects by their colleagues, such as Philip Ridley’s fantastic The Beast Will Rise.
Find out more about Southwark Stayhouse here.
Polka Online is a new online streaming resource produced by the ever-popular children’s theatre Polka, which is based in south-west London. The stream will present adaptations of many popular children’s books, providing children with workshops, activities and online story time – a much-needed outlet for children’s theatre during these strange times.
Find out more about Polka Online here.
Bush Theatre Masterclasses
While not strictly a series of plays, the Bush Theatre masterclasses are related to theatre and are a vital resource for anyone interested in musicals and writing. Presented by members of the Bush Theatre team, these three masterclasses cover a whole range of essential topics to give you the very best of resources when thinking about writing.
Find out more about Bush Theatre Masterclasses here.
Having already streamed some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest hits such as The Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar, The Show Must Go On! YouTube channel will be streaming one of his most acclaimed musicals on 15th May: Cats. Based on T.S. Eliot’s lesser-known poetry, it’s a guaranteed night to remember.
Cats is available to stream on 15th May 2020 on The Show Must Go On! YouTube Channel.
A Doll’s House
A rare chance to see one of Ibsen’s finest works, the Lyric Hammersmith is streaming Rachel O’Riordan’s critically acclaimed 2019 production of A Doll’s House on 20th May. With a focus on gender politics, race, and ownership, this adaptation by Tanika Gupta is a fantastic success and a wonderful opportunity to relive the experience.
Find out more about A Doll’s House here.
Gate Theatre archive
Joining other theatres in their desire to provide more content for free during the coronavirus crisis, the Gate Theatre is streaming two of their productions on their YouTube channel until 30th June – Magali Mougel’s Suzy Storck and Ellen McDougall and Clare Slater’s The Unknown Island.
Find out more about the Gate Theatre here.
Culture in Quarantine: Shakespeare
Of course there’s a lot of Shakespeare being streamed at the moment, and a lot of it is absolutely fantastic. One of the best resources to get your Shakespeare fix is without of doubt the BBC iPlayer’s Culture in Quarantine, a selection of nine of the most celebrated productions from recent times.
Find out more about Culture in Quarantine: Shakespeare here.
Photo: Wasted at Southwark Playhouse. Credit: Helen Maybanks