The world of theatre is now available on a screen near you...
As far as entertainment goes, we’ve got no shortage of things to do online. From feel-good flicks and fab shopping deals to ideas on virtual gatherings and date nights, there’s no reason to be bored indoors. And for the arts enthusiasts among us, the stage has now made its way to your home. So bookmark these links to watch all the best plays and musicals online (most of ‘em are free, too).
The Shows Must Go On
Fancy yourself an Andrew Lloyd Webber fan? Yeah, us too. Which is why we’re psyched to see the composer’s musicals streaming online each week (at no cost!). Every Friday (7pm, BST), a musical will debut on YouTube for 48 hours, giving you plenty of fuel for your weekend. Previous performances in the series include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies.
Forget Netflix. There’s nothing quite as classic as Shakespeare. And now you can feast your eyes on some of the Bard’s most popular plays online. At the Globe Theatre. For free. Just check out its YouTube channel for past productions including Romeo and Juliet, The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Winter’s Tale, The Merry Wives of Windsor and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Each one will stream for two weeks before it’s replaced with the next in line.
Since the beginning of April, National Theatre at Home has featured one play each week for free viewing. So far, we’ve seen One Man, Two Guvnors, Jane Eyre, Treasure Island and Twelfth Night. Coming up: Frankenstein (30 April), starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (8 May), starring Ralph Fiennes.
Get your fill of the best Broadway musicals with a seven-day free trial on BroadwayHD, which is home to multiple titles that you can stream on-demand. With shows like Kinky Boots, Les Miserables, Billy Elliot, The King and I, Fame, Miss Saigon, Cats and Phantom of the Opera on the platform, you’ll have a week’s worth of performances to tide you through. P.S. Users have to choose a subscription plan to get access, but you can always cancel after the trial period is up (or stick around for more).
In collaboration with The Guardian, Hampstead Theatre has been streaming its old but gold content online. Fret not if you’ve missed productions like Wild and Tiger Country. The final title in its At Home series, #AIWW: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, delves into the controversial imprisonment of Chinese artist. And it’ll be up until 3 May.
Since you can’t go to the theatre, Wild Rice is bringing some of its biggest hits to your home. So sit back, relax and enjoy the view from your couch as each week brings a new title to YouTube. From Emily of Emerald Hill (24-30 April) to Supervision (1-7 May) to Monkey Goes West (8-14 May), audiences have plenty to watch. Plus, you can join the artists every Thursday at 9pm for a live session to discuss your thoughts and experiences.
The Necessary Stage
Stay home with The Necessary Stage, which is sharing its past productions one by one online for free access. Each time, fans get to vote for their favourite title to be released. You’ve got a couple of days left to view Those Who Can’t, Teach before it leaves Vimeo on 30 April. And for the month of Ramadan (until 25 May), dive into the world of Rosnah, which features the ever-so-talented Siti Khalijah Zainal.
The folks at Pangdemonium recently put up a video recording of their 2016 play, Falling, for a limited time online. But it garnered such an enthused response that it’s streaming again from 29 April to 1 May. Written by Deanna Jent, who found inspiration from her life as a mother to a boy with severe autism, the Singapore-set tale is one of courage and strength. Following the success of Falling is Late Company, a story of family and teen suicide, which will be available to watch from 1 to 7 May.
Everything from theatre and visual arts to music and dance performances are given the spotlight on Esplanade’s virtual platform, where you’ll find productions previously hosted at the centre. It’s enough to quench your thirst for arts and culture – at least until things go back to normal.
Theatre isn’t cancelled, not when we’ve got plenty of tech-savvy companies in our midst. Even if you can’t watch Checkpoint’s The Heart Comes to Mind live, they’re offering the next best thing: An online theatrical experience. Its story revolves around the relationship between an ageing writer and his scientist daughter. The full performance, filmed in April with the support of Esplanade, will go directly from stage to screen. So you can easily immerse yourself in the entire production, complete with props, costumes and lighting design. Keep tabs on the Facebook page for updates on when the show will hit video.
Nine Years Theatre
Cuddle up on your couch with this Mandarin theatre troupe and its plays, which are surfacing on YouTube every week. Previous productions include An Enemy of the People and Pissed Julie. Lear is Dead, the reimagination of King Lear by Shakespeare, is now available for your entertainment until 29 April. It’ll be followed by Faust/US, a contemporary rendition of the German classic, which will stay online from 30 April to 6 May.