It may seem like a barren time in the theatre world but many venues are responding to the crisis by making content available to stream. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the best plays that you can enjoy online for free. First, there are productions from around the North – and then there’s some that are national/London-based. Hopefully, these will keep your love of the art form alive and whet your appetite for when theatres reopen.

Trouble in Tahiti | Opera North | Youtube | Available Until 1 Jun

Leonard Bernstein’s one-act satire of the American Dream is set to orchestra and a jazz trio. Sam and Dinah seem to have the perfect life but their growing detachment exposes a mutual feeling that they are living a lie. It’s available until Monday 1 June.

Everything Is Possible | York Theatre Royal | Youtube

With a cast of 150 and a choir of 80, this epic play was made with the help of community volunteers. It’s 1913 and women everywhere are rising up to demand change. An ordinary Yorkshire housewife risks her life to join the fight.

100-Word Plays | Oldham Coliseum | Soundcloud

Oldham Coliseum theatre invited writers of all ages and backgrounds to submit short works inspired by their local town. These were recorded remotely, in audio form, by professional actors. Now released as a podcast, the first episode includes a piece written by Julie Hesmondhalgh.

What I Heard About the World | Third Angel | Vimeo

This Sheffield-based company presents an avant-garde play with music. Three performers irreverently explore strange tales and fake news from around the globe. Warning: it contains some adult themes. Third Angel also have several other works to enjoy on their website.

Key Change | Open Clasp Theatre | Youtube

A rare opportunity to hear from an overlooked group, this work was devised by female prisoners. Both dramatic and funny, it’s based on real-life experiences. Presented by a company from Newcastle, it was part of a campaign to end violence against women.

Getting Better Slowly | Lincoln Drill Hall | Youtube

Some time ago, theatre producer Adam Pownall came down with Guillain Barré Syndrome, a rare disease which causes paralysis within days. Using new writing, sound and movement, the play explores the two years Adam spent learning how to walk and talk again.

Amsterdam | Orange Tree Theatre | Youtube

This production was due to come to HOME this Spring but an online watch should make up for that. A pregnant Israeli violinist lives in a trendy canal-side apartment. A mysterious unpaid gas bill from 1944 arrives, awakening unsettling feelings of alienation.

Culture in Quarantine | iPlayer

The Beeb’s Great Performances series features a varied group of plays, some recorded live and some written especially for the screen. Standouts include Flood, which was filmed on a stage floating in Hull’s Victoria Dock. There’s also nine plays from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

La Traviata | The Royal Opera | Youtube

Director Richard Eyre and Conductor Antonio Pappano helm this recording of Verdi’s masterwork. With its sumptuous period costumes and production design, you’ll be hooked even before the famous Brindisi (Drinking Song). Included is a link to a fundraiser to help the Opera House.

Macbeth | The Globe | Youtube

Filmed in front of an enthusiastic (if soggy) audience, this production is aimed more at younger viewers. But it should be fun, if a little trad, for more seasoned theatre goers. It’s a brisk 96 minutes, so you have little excuse not to watch.

National Theatre at Home | Youtube

Every Thursday, the Theatre releases a full-length play which is available to watch for seven days. On now is Barber Shop Chronicles, a new work by Inua Ellams which centres on men from African backgrounds. Then it’s A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Gillian Anderson.

It Is Easy to Be Dead | Finborough Theatre | Youtube

Inspired by true events, this new work by Neil McPherson was nominated for an Olivier Award. When Charles Sorley is killed in action during the WWI, his letters and poems are used to create a tender portrait of a life cut short.

8 Minutes | Sadler’s Wells Theatre | Youtube

Choreographer Alexander Whitley worked with astrophysicists to explore our relationship with the Sun. So titled because it takes sunlight eight minutes to reach Earth, the play (which itself is over 30 mins long) utilises dance, an electroacoustic score and unique visuals.

Viewing Parties | English National Ballet | 7pm | Every Wed | Youtube

Every Wednesday at 7pm, the English National Ballet streams a new show. Coming up next is Nora, which is inspired by Ibsen and set to music by Philip Glass. After that, it’s a little ballet called Swan Lake. The videos are available for two days after the broadcast.

A. James Simpkin
Published on:
Tue 19 May 2020