Stage on screen – where you can rent or buy shows online
Want to binge some live performances at home? Get ordering!
Since live theatre has been temporarily shut down, audiences are flocking to the internet to get their performance fix. Lots of generous companies are uploading certain shows for free – check out our article for more details of these – and many more are putting their work online to rent or download for a small fee.
Check out some of these amazing paid resources for watching all your favourite theatre from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Amazon Prime Video
Looking to watch some of the biggest shows online? Look no further than Amazon, which has a whole catalogue of musicals and theatre to suit all stagey tastes! Want some homegrown British talent? Jesus Christ Superstar with Tim Minchin and Billy Elliot the Musical Live are waiting. Keen to pop across the pond and check out some of America's best? Look no further than Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway or Newsies with Jeremy Jordan. How about some classic musicals revived onto the stage once again? Well then there's Hairspray Live! with Kristin Chenoweth and Jennifer Hudson, or The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood or Audra McDonald.
Not to be outdone, Netflix UK have their very own stash of live performances to watch! From Grease Live! with Vanessa Hudgens to Emo the Musical, the streaming platform will have you binge watching right the way through to summer. And if you want some classic movie musicals, look no further than West Side Story or Fiddler on the Roof – check out our full listicle for more suggestions!
Original Theatre Company
Original Theatre Company has stood up and delivered out of the gate by presenting two productions this week – The Croft and The Habit of Art – online. Both can be watched for the cost of a fiver in total while the shows aren't touring.
If some classic Shakespeare is what you're craving, look no further than Globe Player, the Globe's online streaming service. As well as some of the Bard's classic in his home venue, there's lilterary classics like Doctor Faustus and The Duchess of Malfi with Gemma Arterton.
For a monthly and annual subscription that you can cancel at any time, Digital Theatre will give you access to the a whole host of amazing theatre productions. Check out the likes of Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl, Paape Esseidu in Hamelet, Richard Armitage in The Crucible and David Suchet and Zoë Wanamaker in All My Sons!
As an online database for Broadway theatre, BroadwayHD has a wonderful archive to binge on now! After a free seven-day trial, subscribe for a small monhtly fee and watch shows like Kinky Boots, An American In Paris, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, 42nd Street, The King And I and Falsettos – the list goes on!
This streaming platform has gone virtual! LIVR brings live theatre into your home with a 360-degree view. For a monthly subscription fee, the platform allows its members to purchase credits and download live-recorded performances to view through their mobile phone in 3D. Shows currently available include fringe productions like First Time, Ladykiller and Electrolyte, Lights Over Tesco Car Park and Bury The Hatchet. The company has also teamed up with the So and So Arts Club to offer free performance space and a free recording for any production that closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Want to stream arts and culture from venues like the Donmar Warehouse, Royal Opera House, Shakespeare's Globe and Glyndebourne? Look no further than Marquee TV – where you can see dance, opera and theatre shows on demand and ad-free, for a monthly or annual fee. The website has also just extended its free trial period to 30 days.
James Graham's Quiz on TV
Not quite a live stream of a theatre show but ahead of its UK tour, James Graham's Quiz – based on the story of Charles Ingram cheating his way to the top on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – comes to the very TV channel that the actual show was first broadcast on! The theatre production played in the West End in 2018, and has now been adapted into a three-part miniseries in mid-April. Check out the trailer here.
Don't forget the trusty BBC! The broadcaster has recently launched "Culture in Quarantine", a new scheme to provide arts offerings, with Emma Rice's Wise Children and the Almeida Theatre's Albion confirmed for filming. But of course, for the price of a TV Licence, you have access to iPlayer and all its theatrical content – tune in for some wonderful insights into Saturday Night Fever, The Exorcist, the Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet, the Brontë sisters and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.
Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet; Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man's Land; Billie Piper in Yerma; Andrew Garfield in Angels in America; Gillian Anderson and Lily James in All About Eve; Jude Law in Obsession; Follies and War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag; James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors; James McAvoy in Cyrano de Bergerac and Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus. All these productions have been filmed and broadcast by NT Live, and they could all be made available for streaming. The archive is not currently online but the venue has stated on social media that it is "actively looking at what we can offer to audiences".