Go virtual with these A-list performing arts shows from the world's best


  • Arts
  • Friday, 03 Apr 2020

Actor James Corden in Richard Bean's farcical play 'One Man, Two Guvnors', which is part of Britain's 'National Theatre At Home' series. Photo: Handout

Running out of Netflix shows to binge on as the movement control order (MCO) runs down its second phase? How about a dose of world class theatre and more?

With almost the whole world under some form of quarantine, artists and performing arts companies are digging into their digital libraries and making shows available online for free to keep people entertained and cheered up.

With just a click, travel to London’s prestigious National Theatre and catch some of its most iconic plays online. Or skip to Russia as the Bolshoi Ballet, for the first time ever, streams its past performances.

Ever wanted to catch an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical but couldn’t? Well, hold on to your seat as the British musical legend is also making some of his top shows available online for free!

Here’s our pick on what to watch during the MCO:

The National Theatre

Aptly called National Theatre At Home, London’s National Theatre will stream one full-length play every Thursday at 7pm (Friday, 3am, Malaysian time) on its Youtube channel. So if you’re a night owl, this one's for you. Each play will be made available on demand for a week. For now, the National Theatre At Home will go on until April 23.

Watch James Corden in Tony Award winning comedy One Man, Two Guvnors (released two days ago) or Tamsin Greig (Episodes, Friday Night Dinner) in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (April 24) for starters.

The other two plays are Sally Cookson’s stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (April 10) and Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (April 17).

These recordings are from the National Theatre’s NT Live programme launched in 2009. To date, the National Theatre has over 90 filmed performances in its digital archives.

Liv Lorent’s fairytale dance theatre 'Rumpelstiltskin' from Sadler's Wells in London. Photo: Bill CooperLiv Lorent’s fairytale dance theatre 'Rumpelstiltskin' from Sadler's Wells in London. Photo: Bill Cooper

Sadler’s Wells

Sadler’s Wells, possibly London’s most famous dance theatre, is also opening up its digital vaults for the masses. But besides streaming its past performances, the company, through its Digital Stage platform, is also making available special one-offs made for the screen and dance workshops for the entire family.

This series kicked off last Friday with Balletboyz’s Deluxe. Catch Liv Lorent’s fairytale dance theatre Rumpelstiltskin tonight at 10pm (Malaysian time) on its Facebook and Youtube page.

The Paris Opera

Nothing is more prestigious in France than the Paris Opera. Home to iconic ballets and operas, the French institution is also opening up its digital library with top-notch recordings of well-known shows.

Catch Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, in all its ballet glory. If you’re in the mood for something more romantic, then the two-act ballet Giselle might be right up your alley. Many of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies are also made available.

Andrew Llyod Webber Musicals

Called The Show Must Go On, this new series will see the man himself streaming some of his smash hit musicals on Youtube for free. To kick things off, the series will start with Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins.

This musical, with lyrics written by Tim Rice, was the duo’s earliest musical show. The show will be available every Saturday (starting April 4) at 2am (Malaysian time) for 48 hours.

The following week, catch the 2012 production of Jesus Christ Superstar with Tim Minchin, Melanie C and Chris Moyles. More shows will be added on.

The Bolshoi Ballet

This internationally known classical ballet company from Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre is streaming a list of six of its past shows for the first time in its history. The performances will be available on its Youtube channel for 24 hours each. The series began with Swan Lake on March 27, arguably one of the most famous ballet pieces in the world.

There are three more remaining performances (each starting at 7pm Moscow time): Daniel-François-Esprit Auber’s Marco Spada (April 5, 12.01am), Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (April 9, 12.01am) and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (April 12, 12.01am).

Shakespeare's Globe's 2013 production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Photo: Shakespeare's GlobeShakespeare's Globe's 2013 production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Photo: Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare buffs can finally sink their teeth into some of the Bard’s most renowned plays by the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London. Arguably, an authority on Shakespeare’s works, the theatre will release 40 productions on its Globe Player service for free every fortnight starting April 6.

Six main stage plays, such as Hamlet, Romeo And Juliet and The Merry Wives Of Windsor, will be presented for two weeks on a rolling cycle.

Additionally, Shakespeare’s Globe will also release all 34 of 2012's Globe To Globe performances on its Globe Player platform. Globe To Globe is a theatre festival that gives directors and performance makers around the world the chance to interpret Shakespeare’s work in their own language and culture.

The Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera in New York, or the Met as it is called, has made available a different encore presentation every day from its Live In HD series. The shows will be available for 23 hours on the Met website (daily 7.30am, Malaysian time). Already in its third week, the Met was one of the first theatre institutions to stream its content for free as performance venues were ordered to shut down.

Famous operas such as Giuseppe Verdi’s four-act opera Macbeth or Richard Wagner’s Parsifal are part of the Met’s roster for its free online services, from its collection of 14 years.

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