If you’re miffed about missing out on your theatre fix, dry those stage-worthy tears, put on your dinner jacket or your best dress and… sit down on your couch. While you’re stuck at home, the theatre (and a couple of other places, like famous gardens and the residents at some zoos and aquariums) will come to you.
From the West End to Broadway, and mini monologues that you can appreciate in your lunch break, there are plenty of options to satiate an avid theatre goer’s appetite. All you need to do is decide what you’ll watch first and carve out some time in your heavily packed schedule (which is now laden with Skype dates, Zoom meetings, video calls, virtual house parties, and group chats – not to mention virtual museum tours and online yoga classes).
Without much further ado (about nothing), here are 6 ways to enjoy theatre from your couch and watch plays online.
For theatre lovers: I and You (Hampstead Theatre)
Game of Thrones devotees will be pleased to find out that they can see more of Maisie Williams and theatre lovers across the board will be thrilled to see they can watch this West End play online. The Hampstead Theatre opted to share their play I and You, starring Maisie Williams and Zach Wyatt, in two parts on Instagram’s IGTV – for free!
It tells the story of a sickly, house-bound teenage girl (something we’ll all be able to relate to) and her relationship with a fellow classmate. It’s sweet, it’s funny, and writer Lauren Gunderson masterfully keeps her audience guessing almost the whole way through.
The play will run until the end of this week (Sunday 29 March), so grab your wine and your phone, it’s time to watch a play online.
For drama lovers: Viral Monologues (The 24 Hour Plays)
Another free online theatre offering from Instagram – and a speedy way to watch plays online for those with too many Skype dates planned. The 24 Hour Plays has rounded up a host of actors and actresses to bring you short and snappy viral monologues.
Watch Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan, The Hunger Games) perform A Little About Me by Kathleen Hale. See Hugh Dancy (Hannibal) tackle We were dazzling once by Christopher Oscar Peña. And, enjoy a host of other familiar faces (is it too soon for another name drop? Daveed Diggs, William Jackson Harper, Katherine Mcnamara, Tavi Gevinson) acting their hearts out in their homes for your benefit.
Encore, encore! “Well, if you insist,…” say the creators of Viral Monologues. This brilliant, fast theatre initiative is still going, so keep your eyes on Instagram for more monologues and more famous faces.
For musical devotees: BroadwayHD
Musical fans, this one’s for you. Yes, BroadwayHD lets you watch Broadway online!
The platform features classic favorites like Oklahoma! (with a young and rather dapper Hugh Jackman) and Kinky Boots. It’s got trailblazers like Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (with a superb performance by Audra McDonald). Plus, BroadwayHD has a goodly helping of Shakespeare (plays were meant to be seen, not read – and after you watch Orlando Bloom in a Broadway adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, you’ll see exactly why).
You can subscribe to BroadwayHD to enjoy all of these theatre online offerings and a whole bunch more. Start with a seven-day free trial, and once you’re hooked you can opt for a monthly subscription for USD 8.99 or a yearly one for USD 99.99.
For Shakespeare fanatics: Shakespeare’s Plays (The Globe Theatre)
Sticking with the Shakespearean theme, you can also watch his plays online thanks to London’s iconic Globe Theatre (the site of Shakespeare’s original playhouse).
Whether you struggled your way through Midsummer Night’s Dream in high school or lapped up every syllable of The Tempest in your university English literature class, the Globe’s offering is a veritable treat. So seize this chance to enjoy Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and more of the Bard’s timeless works.
To get your Shakespeare fix and watch plays online, you can rent or buy the plays that tickle your fancy. The Globe Player, a streaming platform, is free. So, once you’ve settled on what to watch, you can simply sit back and enjoy.
For theatre-going families: Snow Mouse
Looking for some theatre action that the whole family, including your three-year-old, can get into? The Egg Theatre in Bath has shared its production of Snow Mouse online to mark World Day of Theatre for Children, which took place on 20 March. The story is suitable for children under the age of four, so round up your toddlers and park in front of the screen for an evening of adorable, wintry entertainment.
If you would prefer to spend your money on a little Shakespeare instead of a very cute puppet show, luckily you only need to spend time on this kiddy option. The show is available to livestream for free on Vimeo.
And if you’re on the hunt for more ways to entertain your kids while you’re stuck at home together, you can always let them go off on an online field trip.
For those who prefer opera: My Opera Player (Royal Theatre of Madrid)
If arias, cadenzas and divas are more your thing, the Royal Theatre of Madrid has got a real treat for you. Opera fans, meet My Opera Player. You both like drama, tragedy and hella impressive vibratos and trills. Skip the long walks on the beach and the movies, and head straight to the couch to enjoy classics like Madame Butterfly, Carmen and many more.
Over the next few weeks, you can access My Opera Player for free by using the code OPERAENCASA.