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How to watch theatre, dance, comedy and classical music online

Missing your theatre fix? We’ve rounded up the best shows to watch online

<p>Emilia will be streaming online for all of March</p>

Emilia will be streaming online for all of March

/ Helen Murray
By @jessiecath
23 February 2021
W

e’re back in lockdown and theatres are once again closed indefinitely. It’s hardly the start to the year that we’d hoped for, but the good news is that many venues are continuing to make shows available online.

Although nothing can compare to sitting in a hushed auditorium as the lights go down, there’s more than enough on offer to keep any theatre lover occupied while we hope for brighter days. From Shakespeare to brand new musical theatre, here’s the best of what’s available to watch online.

Theatre

Inside/Outside

Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre will livestream a series of six new short plays: playwrights Deborah Bruce, Joel Tan and Joe White will focus on the theme of ‘inside’, while Sonali Bhattacharyya, Zoe Cooper and Kalungi Ssebandeke will be exploring ‘outside’. Expect big themes: loneliness, isolation, hope and despair. March 25-27 and April 15-17; orangetreetheatre.co.uk

Emilia

Saffron Coomber, Clare Perkins and Adelle Leonce in Emilia

/ Helen Murray

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s barnstorming play about the life of Emilia Bassano, said to have inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets and as well as being a poet herself, will be available to watch online again for all of March on a ‘pay what you can’ basis. March 1-31; emilialive.com

Girl on an Altar

Bridgerton star Anjoa Andoh will be part of the cast for this rehearsed reading of a new play by Marina Carr, which is a retelling of the Greek myth of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. The reading will be livestreamed for free, and it’s a rare chance to see a new work in its very first stages. March 5; kilntheatre.com

Treason the Musical

A new musical about Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot? Why not. Performances will be filmed at Cadogan Hall and livestreamed in March, with Lucie Jones, Oliver Tompsett, Cedric Neal and Debris Stevenson among the cast. March 12-14; treasonthemusical.com

The Color Purple - At Home

/ Manuel Harlan

The Curve Leicester had a hit with this musical of Alice Walker’s classic novel, and you can now watch a special livestreamed version of the show. Be warned: with its bluesy score and big emotions, our critic Nick Curtis says it will make you really miss live theatre. Until 17 Mar, curveonline.co.uk

Good Grief

Is it a play? Is it a film? It’s both. Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel star in Lorien Hayne’s study of grief, and it’s well worth watching. Until April 15, originaltheatreonline.com

Barnes’ People

Jon Culshaw, Matthew Kelly, Jemma Redgrave & Adrian Scarborough, the cast of Barnes’ People / Michael Wharley

This set of masterful monologuesare just as good as Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, says our critic Nick Curtis, but much less well known. Get to know them with these brilliantly captured performances, starring Adrian Scarborough, Matthew Kelly, Jemma Redgrave and Jon Culshaw. Until July 31: originaltheatreonline.com

National Theatre at Home

It’s Netflix for National Theatre fans: after hugely popular weekly livestreams in the first lockdown, the NT listened to pleas from around the world and made some productions available to watch on-demand. The current selection includes Three Sisters, Amadeus, Medea and the Young Vic’s award-winning Yerma, as well as its lockdown-struck panto, Dick Whittington. Viewers can pay a monthly subscription fee for access to the whole catalogue, or rent productions individually. ntathome.com

Shakespeare’s Globe

Whether you’re in homeschooling hell or just missing the sound of iambic pentameter, Shakespeare’s Globe has a packed online catalogue of productions available to rent. From Michelle Terry as Hamlet to Gemma Arterton in The Duchess of Malfi, there’s enough here to ensure you’ll never get bard (sorry). globeplayer.tv

Musicals: The Greatest Show

An impressive set of musical theatre stars got together to perform our favourite songs for one night only, and the concert is on BBC iPlayer for the rest of the year - hurrah! Recorded at the London Palladium and hosted by Sheridan Smith, it featured all of the best belters in the business, from Michael Ball to Nicole Scherzinger. Available on BBC iPlayer

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This rehearsed reading of Shakespeare’s mad, magical comedy is set to be a special occasion, with Dan Stevens, Rebecca Hall, Luisa Omielan and Sara Kestelman in its star cast. Put it in your diary – it’s for one night only. March 31; shakefestival.com

Southwark Playhouse

Throughout the recent months of the pandemic, Southwark Playhouse has punched above its weight by offering a range of live streamed productions. Its previous hit revival of musical The Last Five Years is still available to watch on-demand, and forthcoming live streams include Philip Ridley play The Poltergeist and new British musical The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton

/ Disney

Yes, we know you know all the words. Yes, we know you’ve already watched it 100 times. But this exquisitely captured recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical theatre masterpiece is on Disney+, so why not watch it again? disneyplus.com

Shook

Samuel Bailey’s impressive Papatango Prize-wining debut play about a group of young male offenders received enough acclaim to power it to a West End transfer. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented it from taking place, but the show has now been filmed and will be available to watch for most of February. Feb 5-28; papatango.co.uk/shook

All On Her Own

This short Terence Rattigan monologue is essentially about a woman getting drunk and talking to her dead husband, and – in the right hands – its an acting masterclass. Good news, then, that the excellent Janie Dee will be taking on the role for eight livestreamed performances. Feb 16-21; allonherown.com

Classical music

Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall

/ PA

Its doors may be closed, but Wigmore Hall is keeping the music playing. A number of concerts recorded at the venue will be broadcast on its website throughout January, and will be available on-demand for 30 days thereafter. wigmore-hall.org.uk

Comedy

Soho Theatre on Demand

There’s lots of stand-up to be found on streaming platforms, but none is quite so evocative of the stand-up experience as Soho Theatre’s catalogue of shows. Directly available through Soho’s website and now also on Amazon Prime, you’ll almost feel like you really are in a dingey basement, glugging wine and trying to avoid the front row so you don’t get picked on. Jessie Cave, Dane Baptiste and Lucy Susan are just a few of the comic delights on offer. sohotheatreondemand.com or Amazon Prime

Rose Matafeo: Horndog

Provisions to fulfil our desperate need for laughter have also been made by the BBC: it will broadcast a performance of Rose Matafeo’s sell-out show Horndog. It won her the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2018, which is a recommendation and a half. February 21; BBC iPlayer

Dance

Royal Ballet

Zenaida Yanowsky as Marguerite and Roberto Bolle as Armand

/ ©Tristram Kenton

Throughout the pandemic, the Royal Ballet has broadcast its previous productions as part of the Royal Opera House’s popular #OurHouseToYourHouse programme. Up next will be Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, performed in 2017. Zenaida Yanowsky’s performance as Marguerite was her last with the company after 23 years. From Jan 15, roh.org.uk

ENB at Home

The English National Ballet has a comprehensive on-demand platform which includes a huge catalogue of shows alongside a series of ballet training classes, keeping you both entertained and active. Productions can be rented for three days and include Akram Khan’s Giselle, Le Corsaire and La Sylphide. ondemand.ballet.org.uk

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage

Alongside performances, workshops and dance classes, there’s the chance to do a deep dive into esteemed choreographers such as Kate Prince and Hofesh Schecter on Sadler’s Wells’ website. Videos will take you through their techniques and the thinking behind their shows. sadlerswells.com

Opera

Royal Opera House

Joyce DiDonato as Cendrillon

/ Bill Cooper / Royal Opera House / ArenaPAL

Alongside regular ballet broadcasts, the Royal Opera House’s #OurHouseToYourHouse programme offers the chance to see a past opera production. Next up will be Joyce DiDonato in Massenet’s playful operatic take on Cinderella, Cendrillon. From Jan 22; roh.org.uk