But please consider a donation…!
Theatres have been closed for over three months now and there are rumblings of reopenings soon (although this is by no means guaranteed, sign up to mailing lists for announcements from your local favourite theatres), but there has been an abundance of free performances online in the interim. For most, it’s a chance to view not only free theatre but often, it brings about an opportunity to view previously sold out performances, and there are still lots to enjoy before they reopen to the public again.
Just to say: our theatres, museums and cultural centres have suffered greatly due to Coronavirus so we do encourage donations where possible, and The Frugality has donated to all the theatres included within this piece.
Over the last few months, National Theatre have shown performances from hit shows over a limited time, such as ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ and ‘Small Island’. Currently, they are showing Bridge Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ starring Gwendoline Christie as Titania, until this Thursday, 2nd July 2020. This will be followed by ‘Les Blancs’, ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ and the last performance on 16th July will be ‘Amadeus’.
The Royal Court theatre is streaming the sold out performance of ‘The Fall’ from 2017, an award-winning play written by seven students in Capetown after the fall of the colonialist statue of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Capetown.
The BBC has obviously been streaming a lot of live Glastonbury performances this weekend, but did you know you can also stream great theatre performances? Emma Rice’s adaptation of ‘Wise Children’ (one of my favourite Angela Carter novels!) at the Bristol Old Vic is available to stream online here until 8th July 2020.
Shakespeare’s Globe has been streaming performances throughout the pandemic – if you’re lucky you might still be able to catch ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ on their YouTube channel, and the BBC is showing ‘The Tempest’ from The Globe’s 2014 performance.
The BBC’s ‘Culture in Quarantine’ season includes plenty of Shakespeare, including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of ‘Othello’ as well as opera: ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ (from the Garsington Opera) can be streamed here.
‘Windrush: Movement of the People’ is a choreographed dance performance by Phoenix Dance Theatre surrounding the arrival of Caribbean migrants on SS Windrush (originally premiered at Leeds Playhouse 2018) and available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
There are obviously lots of other ways to get involved with theatre/music venues and film at this time. As I type this, I am listening to Grace Jones’s Meltdown’ playlist from her curated festival this June with Southbank Centre (we were booked to see Jimmy Cliff, thankfully it has been postponed to next year). The Southbank centre also has lots of interesting podcasts, the Royal Court theatre has a range of free content on offer, such as a reading of ‘Shoe Lady’ by E.V Crow (part of BBC Sounds’s ‘Lockdown Theatre Festival’) which you can listen to here and Sadler’s Wells have family dance workshops on their YouTube channel here.
It’s always worth signing up to different cultural centre’s mailing lists to access free content that most theatres, museums and galleries in the UK offer all year round.