The Best Virtual Theatre Shows to Watch Now
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Though theatres remain closed for the foreseeable, play lovers need not despair – there is a plethora of world-class shows streaming online for your entertainment and virtual viewing pleasure.
Where to Watch the Best Virtual Theatre Online
Swan Lake Bath Ballet
While stages are off limits, ballet dancers have taken to performing elsewhere – including in the bath. Corey Baker Dance’s new short film entitled Swan Lake Bath Ballet sees 27 world-class ballet dancers from around the world performing a modern-day Swan Lake from their own home filled bathtubs. Baker – a choreographer in residence at the Royal New Zealand Ballet – put the whole thing together remotely, with dancers filming their performances on their phones. The film was created as part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine programme, a virtual outlet created during lockdown. Watch on BBC iPlayer.
Grange Park Opera, Surrey
Since being founded in 1998, Grange Park Opera has established itself as an integral part of the British summer season. And while we sadly won’t be able to enjoy its delights in person this year, founder Wasfi Kani has devised a season of entirely new content for us to watch from home. The Interim Season celebrates the seasons between summers – when the festival takes place – with 19 fresh performances from more than 60 artists being released online.
Now Showing: Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave launches soon.
Thanks to the Globe Player, the iconic theatre’s free YouTube channel, you needn’t leave the sofa to get your Shakespeare fix. The Globe will be screening some of the Bard’s best-loved works, to change every fortnight.
Now Showing: The 2020 production of Macbeth
Donate to to safeguard the Globe’s future here
The National Theatre
Live performances of popular shows will be streaming weekly on the theatre’s YouTube channel as part of the National Theatre at Home initiative. What’s more, educational institutions such as schools, universities and libraries can access the National Theatre Collection online, showing everything from classic Shakespearean dramas to avant-garde productions from the Donmar Warehouse and Bridge Theatre.
Now Showing: The Deep Blue Sea, starring Helen McCrory and Tom Burke in a portrayal of repressed passion and loneliness in the post-war era.
You can support the National Theatre through its closure by making a donation here.
If you missed out on those coveted Fleabag tickets, now’s your chance to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s astonishing one-woman show on screen. It is available to screen now through Soho Theatre on Demand with a range of payment option. Proceeds will go directly to charities supporting those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the National Emergency Trust and the Fleabag Support Fund, for UK-based freelancers in the theatre industry. We propose rounding off the experience by re-watching both seasons of Fleabag in quick succession.
If one Shakespeare play every two weeks isn’t cutting it, you can stream 17 more – including Othello, King Lear and Anthony & Cleopatra – Royal Shakespeare Company productions through Marquee TV. The streaming platform is currently offering viewers a free 30-day trial, hopefully enough to get theatre fans through the lockdown with their sanity intact. BBC Four is also has a number of RSC productions available to view now.
Now Showing: BBC Four’s Culture in Quarantine programme currently has a number of RSC productions available to stream on iPlayer, including Romeo & Juliet and the 2018 production of Macbeth, starring former Doctor Christopher Eccleston.
You can support the RSC through the company’s closure by making a donation here
The Royal Opera House
While not strictly theatre, it’s nonetheless thrilling news that the Royal Opera House will be bringing a selection of spectacular past operas and ballets to our screens. The ROH’s YouTube channel is hosting weekly screenings of world-class performances, with the full schedule available on the ROH website.