Where To Get Your Cultural Fix Online
As we all adjust to the new, strange reality, online entertainment and education has become even more vital. There are a wave of new initiatives and offers coming in all the time, but here is a short guide of where to start in your online theatre and entertainment fix.
BBC's Culture In Quarantine
The incredible line-up from BBC Arts includes new work from David Greig, Balletboyz and National Theatre Scotland, plus six RSC productions, Mike Bartlett's Albion, Emma Rice's Wise Children, Northern Ballet's Dracula, Battersea Arts Centre's Frankenstein - How To Make A Monster, Opera Mums With Bryony Kimmings, and the Royal Opera House's recent staging of Fidelio. Plus, Margaret Atwood has created her own puppet show! Read more here
The Globe has prepared plenty of new digital content - including the series Shakespeare & Love in Isolation, podcast Such Stuff, an online version of Shakespeare Walks with Mark Rylance, and free content available via the Globe Player, such as six filmed productions, 37 short films, and titles from the 2012 Globe to Globe festival.
The Hampstead is streaming a series of its productions - one a week. First up is Mike Bartlett's Edward Snowden play Wild, followed by Beth Steel's Miners' Strike drama Wonderland, and then Howard Brenton's Drawing the Line, about the chaotic partitioning of India.
The Show Must Go Online
The actor Robert Myles has set up a reading group for professional and amateur actors to perform Shakespeare's complete plays in the order they're believed to have been written.
The first livestreamed reading, on YouTube, will be The Two Gentleman Of Verona on Thursday (19 March).
Since U Been Gone
Teddy Lamb is a non-binary writer and performer and was due to bring their production Since U Been Gone to a Trans Takeover at the VAULT Festival. They have now put the sensitive and touching portrayal of loss and self-discovery online.
If you missed Ghost Quartet last year, Dave Malloy has posted the full musical on YouTube, filmed at the McKittrick Hotel in 2015.
The Wind In The Willows
With the children now all off school, parents will be desperately trying to find ways to fill the time. The 2017 production of The Wind in the Willows starring Rufus Hound will be available to view online free of charge, although a small donation is requested. Perfect distraction for a couple of hours at least!
Signal is a hub for musical theatre, especially for new artists - their website features all the songs showcased over the past two years. A must for musical theatre fan craving a creative fix.
This popular homegrown superhero musical, which had two runs at The Other Palace, will be available to stream on Facebook from tomorrow (20 March) in aid of charity Acting for Others. The London production features Rob Houchen, Laura Baldwin, Neil McDermott, Dan Buckley, Scott Paige and Emily Tierney, plus voice work from Brian Blessed and Mark Hamill.
The hilarious improv troupe, who dream up a new musical from scratch in every show, live-streamed their performance on Facebook so fans can still have a laugh at home. You can watch the recording here:
Girls Like That
Unicorn Theatre's Girls Like That, suitable for ages 13+, is another excellent watch for youngsters now stuck at home. Evan Placey's bold 2014 play tackles issues like slut-shaming, friendship, gender double standards and teenage anxiety, and the show is online in full.
Theatre Uncut may have the new model of theatre during this shutdown. Their show Bubble was rehearsed entirely via Skype; the actors never met in person. Written by Kieran Hurley, this new play is released on 23 March.
The Ipswich-based physical theatre company has generously shared full versions of its non-touring shows on its website, plus interviews, behind-the-scenes material and educational resources on its YouTube channel.
Tune into the Gate Theatre's Twitter from 8pm for GATE LATES LIVE - a chance to share in storytelling and poetry. This is a particularly nice one for re-creating the communal experience that we're all missing so sorely right now.
Timpson the Musical
This musical brought to you by, yes, the chain of repair shops premiered at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival. Gigglemug Theatre has now released the show online, and it's perfect for those longing for a song and a laugh.
David Ireland's searing play about a Belfast loyalist convinced his granddaughter is Gerry Adams stars Stephen Rea. On 27 March, World Theatre Day, the Royal Court will release an online version of the show - mixing footage from the Court with location shooting in Belfast. It will be available to watch free for one month.
Sir Patrick Stewart reads sonnets
Get a daily dose of Shakespeare from the great Sir Patrick Stewart, who is gifting us his #ASonnetADay series on Twitter. Is there a more soothing voice in the world? No, there is not. Read more here
The Barn Theatre will live stream its recent production of Henry V, starring Aaron Sidwell and Lauren Samuels. The production will be available on the theatre's Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts on Friday 27 March at 6pm. Read more here
The National Theatre, through its NT Learning initiative, is a treasure trove of digital content. Within their 'Backstage' section, you can find video collections, podcasts and online exhibitions. Much of this content is aimed at GCSE and A-Level students and teachers, but there really is something for everyone, including a fascinating podcast about how the Edinburgh Festival has influenced UK culture over the last 70 years.
If you Google 'National Theatre Rehearsal Diaries', a long list of PDF documents pop up of detailed diaries written during rehearsals of past productions. These include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Small Island and Hedda. As part of NT Learning, these documents contain fascinating insights, written by the staff director, detailing the creation, rehearsal and staging of each play.
RSC's Shakespeare Learning Zone
You can also find fantastic educational resources at the RSC's Shakespeare Learning Zone, which supplies info on key facts, characters and scenes for each play, pictures from past productions, and videos featuring actors and directors rehearsing and performing. It's a wonderful way into the work.
The Stay At Home Festival
This ingenious plan from Robin Ince and The Cosmic Shambles Network brings you live performances (starting 19 March) from the worlds of comedy, science, poetry and music. Ince and Josie Long host, and performers include Professor Brian Cox, Katy Brand, Mark Gatiss, Ian Rankin, Stephen Merchant, Lucy Porter, Russell Kane, Jo Brand, Stewart Lee and Sara Pascoe. Plus a cooking demo from George Egg. It's free to access, but donations are encouraged to support those who have lost their livelihoods.
The Berliner Philharmoniker have opened their 'Digital Concert Hall', where you can access six decades worth of archive concerts, documentaries and artist portraits for free when using promo code BERLINPHIL.
Opera Vision already features high-quality extracts from a massive variety of operatic performances across Europe, but they have now promised to release free-to-view performances of the very highest quality.
The Met is rising to the challenge by streaming new and free content every day on its website. Content, as you would expect, is incredible. Upcoming productions include Eugene Onegin on 22 March, filmed in 2007 and featuring the superlative Renée Fleming.
Calling Wagner fans: Opera North has made its production of The Ring Cycle available to watch online. This epic tetralogy should keep you going for a while.
Sadler's Wells will launch digital premieres of full-length dance performances, screendance - choreography designed for film - and new dance workshops on 27 March, World Theatre Day. Read more here
Strictly online classes
Strictly Come Dancing's Oti Mabuse has come to the rescue of anyone stuck at home and itching to get moving. You can join her for a free online dance lesson by visiting her Instagram.
The McOnie Company
Similarly, leading director/choreographer Drew McOnie isn't sitting idle. His company has moved their dance classes online for free. Tune into their Instagram tonight to learn a combination from Jesus Christ Superstar.
The acclaimed Belgian dance-theatre company have shared their first trilogy of shows - Le Jardin, Le Salon and Le Sous Sol - online, so you can dig into their rich work from the comfort of your living room.
Rosie Kay Dance Company
The moving and dramatic 5 Soldiers explores the impact of war on the human body and mind. With input from serving and former soldiers, it's a visceral piece looking at how soldiers are trained, injuries and the consequences of conflict - told with humour and brutal honesty. The live stream of the show is available online.
YouTube will be most people's go-to website for entertainment. Here are a few highlights to help you find some gems:
The National Theatre
The National Theatre channel is a brilliant collection of trailers, interviews and snippets from the theatre's productions. There is a huge amount of amazing content, such as how the music was created for Small Island and how to practise vocal articulation.
Just For Laughs
JustForLaughs Comedy is the official YouTube Channel of the festival of the same name in Montreal. It specialises in stand-up and improv, with an impressive list of performers - such as Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer and Chris Rock. Essential and hilarious viewing.
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is home to world-class opera and ballet. Their YouTube channel is a treasure trove of performance highlights, insights and interviews. It is too easy to lose yourself for hours.
Warner Classics is the home of incredibly high-quality recordings from classical performers, opera singers and musicians. They have a wonderful collection of live sessions, performances and interviews.
The YouTube channel from the Royal Shakespeare Company, featuring interviews, features and backstage action from all their productions. Videos showing the intricacies of wig-making and the audience reactions to performances are all fascinating.
Have you spotted any other brilliant online culture? Let us know on Twitter: @BroadwayWorldUK