Theatre, Opera, Music and Ballet
Here are a selection of theatres, orchestras and other institutions offering free streamed productions during this period. New information is still being added, so do revisit the page from time to time to take advantage of everything that is on offer.....
Whats On Stage - do visit this link first - it leads to a page which lists many of the productions detailed below but as it is updated regularly it also reveals many new ones that do not appear on this U3A page. It is definitely worth scrolling down the page as you can play videos of many varied productions directly from it.
Bristol Old Vic At Home - Watch a selection of full-length archive recordings of shows from the Bristol Old Vic Young Company, the largest youth theatre in the South West. Available for free on YouTube.
English National Opera - their production of Gilbert and Sullivan's the Mikado is available to view free of charge on Youtube.
All My Sons by Arthur Miller and starring David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker is available to view free of charge on Youtube. This is a film of the stage play.
The Royal Albert Hall is streaming free of charge a different musical session every evening from artists’ homes to yours whilst the Hall is shut. These shows are all available on their website so can still be enjoyed even if you missed them on the evening they were streamed.
Theatre Royal Bath is making available an archive recording of their 2017 co-production of Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw. The captioned recording will be live on this page until the end of lockdown. Archive recordings are made by theatres so they have a full record of the productions they work on. They’re filmed on a single camera at the back of the auditorium. Although the show was never intended for public broadcast, they are making this video available with captions for everyone to enjoy for a limited time.
Birmingham Repertory Company is making available an archive recording of their 2016 co-production of Oscar Wilde’s classic play The Importance of Being Earnest. Archive recordings are made by theatres so they have a full record of the productions they work on. They’re filmed on a single camera at the back of the auditorium. Although the show was never intended for public broadcast, they are making this video available with captions for everyone to enjoy for a limited time.
Chichester Festival Theatre - in the early days of lockdown, they initiated the ‘Five Day Play’ challenge: writers of all ages were invited to submit an original play written in just five days, the only rules being that it had to match a short brief (for example, ‘a play with two characters, one of whom has a secret to tell the other’) and could not exceed 10 pages. Over ten weeks, 300 entries were received from as far away as North America. Now, a group of professional actors, all of whom have appeared at Chichester in recent years, have recorded four of the winning entries as audio plays and they are available to listen for free on their Soundcloud channel.
Marquee TV has a free trial period of 14 days for new subscribers. It offers large collections of ballet, opera, contemporary dance, theatre and documentaries. It also offers the option of a week's unlimited viewing for £4.99 at any time. Worth checking out, but do check terms and conditions.
The Globe Theatre - There is still much of interest on their website. This includes a large collection called "Love in Isolation" - sonnets and speeches performed by a large variety of actors in their own homes. The Globe have also uploaded their 2019 production of Romeo and Juliet to Youtube and you can watch it free of charge (though donations are welcome). Available until February half-term 2021.
The Show Must Go Online These live-streamed readings of Shakespeare's plays aim to bring actors and audiences together to collectively enjoy and experience Shakespeare at a time when connecting in a traditional theatre space isn’t possible. Casts in the UK and around the world are being brought together, using meeting platform Zoom, by Robert Myles, a classical actor and director, writer and freelance creative lead. The plays are being performed weekly in the order that Shakespeare is generally believed to have written them, with each play reading remaining on YouTube afterwards. The schedule goes through until the end of November. One key tip: if you are not going to watch it all at once, remember to make a mental note of the time showing on the timeline before you disconnect to help you to get back to where you were
The Metropolitan Opera House is streaming a different opera each night. Each production is available for 23 hours.
Wigmore Hall - their video archive of concerts and events remains free to access; simply log in using the account you usually use on their website, or create an account which only takes two minutes.
Have a look at Filmed On Stage. This site is updated daily with links to musicals and plays you can stream during the Coronavirus outbreak. They are listed as free of charge but as the site is international it is possible some may not be available in UK or a small voluntary charge may be requested. For some you may be asked to create an account which involves no cost and then you can proceed to view the item free of charge.
Watershed - You can now watch films at MUBI as they are offering their audience 90 days free access to their site which has a fantastic selection of world cinema. Every day they hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have a whole month to watch it, so there will always be 30 films to choose from.