Theatre, Opera, Ballet, Music

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…..

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.

Chichester Festival Theatre aims to stream a selection of its archive productions online. This began with the musical Flowers for Mrs Harris on 9th April and it will remain available on the CFT website for 30 days, free to watch. Details of future broadcasts will be announced shortly.

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 will be discussing the plays, sharing facts about Shakespeare, and revealing insights from behind the productions. The programme announced so far includes: Hamlet (2018), Romeo and Juliet (2009), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), The Two Noble Kinsmen (2018),  The Winter’s Tale (2018) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019). They will be available for free on YouTube, one on rotation every two weeks and available on demand from the date of their release for 14 days.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has streamed two of his musicals so far – Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Neither are available to view now but more are planned so the link may take you to details of these as they are announced.

National Theatre At Home will be streaming on YouTube (free of charge) a different production at 7pm every Thursday. During April you can enjoy Jane EyreTreasure Island and Twelfth Night. Each production will also be available to view for seven days afterwards. Use the link to the National Theatre at Home website then click on “Find out More on YouTube”. You may (or may not – we are unsure at present) 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.

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

  • 7pm, 24th April – Gloriana, The Royal Opera –  Benjamin Britten’s moving operatic portrayal of Elizabeth 1, caught between public duty and private passion.
    • 7pm, 1st May – The Winter’s Tale, The Royal Ballet – Shakespeare’s tale of love and loss becomes the most masterful of narrative ballets in Christopher Wheeldon’s inspired adaptation, with music by Joby Talbot.

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.

Whats On Stage – this link leads to a page which lists many of the productions already detailed here but as it is updated regularly 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 several productions directly from it.

London Theatre – The BBC has announced a number of productions it plans on screening as part of its Culture in Quarantine arts season. Productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida Theatre, Emma Rice’s Wise Children, Battersea Arts Centre and Northern Ballet will be screened on the BBC and iPlayer service. This link gives details of productions but no dates as yet (28th March).

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.