Theatre, Opera, Music and Ballet

Here are a selection of theatres, orchestras and other institutions offering free streamed productions during this period. More are being discovered all the time, 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 Arts Channel - the Bristol Old Vic is working with The Space and sister venues Colston Hall, Watershed and others to explore an online channel for Bristol – to amplify and share the rich variety of art, culture and stories found across the city. As part of Bristol Arts Channel, the Old Vic will present a season of productions, featuring some of Bristol’s most-loved theatre shows and work by exciting emerging artists. Productions will premiere every Friday, watchable on their website and our YouTube channel, and available to watch for a week after the premiere.
• from 12th June - Mr Maglump - ​A musical for all ages by Brook Tate.
• from 19th June - Wise Children - by Emma Rice.
• from 26th June - the Grinning Man - a digital revival of the delightfully dark musical.

Opera National de Paris - The ballet Play is available to view from 15th to 21st June while the opera La Boheme is available until 14th June. After these have expired it is worth visiting the website to see if other productions have been added (although some on the website are only available if viewing in France).

The Royal Albert Hall is streaming free of charge a different musical session every evening. So far these have included sessions by Peter Gregson, Alexis French and Alfie Boe and they remain on the 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. The captioned recording will be live on their page from 7pm Sun 5 April. 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 is aiming to stream a selection of its archive productions online. Especially suitable for family audiences, Beauty and the Beast is available free of charge until 19th June.

Marquee TV In response to world events, Marquee TV has increased its free trial period to 30 days. It offers large collections of ballet, opera, contemporary dance, theatre and documentaries. Worth checking out.

The Globe Theatre - On Monday 6th April at 7pm the first of a programme of productions from Shakespeare’s most famous stage was streamed. From 6.00pm each release day, they discuss the plays, sharing facts about Shakespeare, and revealing insights from behind the productions. The programme includes: The Two Noble Kinsmen (2018) 4th May - 17th May, The Winter’s Tale (2018)18th May - 31st May, The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019) 1st June - 14th June and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013) 15th June - 28th June. They are each available for free on YouTube (just click "Subscribe"), from the date of their release for 14 days.

National Theatre At Home is streaming on YouTube (free of charge) a different production at 7pm every Thursday. Each production is then available to view for seven days afterwards. Use the link to the National Theatre at Home website then click on "Watch on YouTube". You may have to log in to YouTube and click on Subscribe on the National Theatre at Home page. This is simple and there is no cost.

• 7pm, 11th June until 18th June - The Madness of George III - The acclaimed Nottingham Playhouse production of Alan Bennett's award-winning drama, with Mark Gatiss.
• 7pm, 18th June until 25th June - Small Island - The National Theatre’s epic, sold-out production of Andrea Levy’s novel traces the history between Jamaica and the UK through WWII to 1948.
• 7pm, 25th June until 2nd July - A Midsummer Night's Dream - The Bridge Theatre's immersive production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy features Gwendoline Christie and Hammed Animashaun.
• 7pm, 2nd July until 9th July - Les Blancs - Yaël Farber directs the final play by Lorraine Hansberry: a brave, illuminating and powerful work that confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution.
• 7pm, 9th July until 16th July - The Deep Blue Sea - Terence Rattigan’s devastating masterpiece contains one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama, played by Helen McCrory.
• 7pm, 16th July until 23rd July - Amadeus - Lucian Msamati plays Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s iconic play, directed by Michael Longhurst with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia.

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. 2 April - Henry VI, Part 1; 9 April - Henry VI, Part 2; 16 April - Henry VI, Part 3; 23 April - Titus Andronicus; 30 April - Richard III; 7 May - The Comedy of Errors; 14 May - Love's Labour's Lost; 21 May - Love's Labour's Won; 28 May - Richard II....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 Royal Opera House has created a schedule of free broadcasts and live content that audiences can access for free anywhere, anytime across the globe, bringing both ballet and opera to every home and every device. This will include the following productions offered on demand and for free via the ROH’s Facebook and YouTube channels:
• 7pm, 12th June until 26th June - La Fille Mal Gardee, The Royal Ballet - One of Frederick Ashton's most joyous and colourful creations.
• 7pm, 12th June until 19th June - Ill Trittico, The Royal Opera - Puccini’s trio of operas tell contrasting stories of jealousy and murder, loss and suicide, romance and cheerful trickery.
• 7pm, 19th June until 3rd July - The Magic Flute, The Royal Opera - David McVicar’s classic production embraces both the seriousness and comedy of Mozart’s glorious opera, transporting us to a fantastical world of dancing animals, flying machines and dazzling starry skies.

The Metropolitan Opera House is streaming a different opera each night. Each production is available for 23 hours.

Berlin Philharmonic invite you to visit their virtual concert hall free of charge. Log on to the Digital Concert Hall ticket page with the code BERLINPHIL and use the Digital Concert Hall free of charge for 30 days. Cancellation is not required. If you are not yet a user of the Digital Concert Hall, registration – without obligation – is required. There are over 600 orchestral concerts as well as bonus videos from behind the scenes: documentaries on the history of the orchestra, portraits of conductors and orchestra members, and projects from their education programme.

Wigmore Hall has made available to view on demand nearly 50 of its past live streamed events.

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.