Oh, to have the freedom to visit any London museum we want, indulge in a last-minute theatre ticket, check out the latest musical in favour…! The Coronavirus epidemic and consequent lockdown certainly make us appreciate what we took for granted. Thankfully, we live in a digital era: high-quality streaming is coming to the rescue. Here are 10 fantastic opportunities to catch up on plays, enjoy virtual tours, get cooking tips from pros and even keep the kids entertained. Even better, most are free.
* Stay tuned – we will keep this list updated *
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Musicals
Hooray! Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing a full-length, smash-hit musical once a week for you to watch for free! Some of his most popular shows (we’re talking full-length performance) will be uploaded to his YouTube channel every Friday at 7 pm and will be free to watch for a limited 48-hour period.
Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art
Having streamed their production of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art as well as of the new Philip Franks-directed play The Croft from their website, The Original Theatre Company has left them available for anyone to watch and enjoy still. Each cost a mere £2.50 each but any extra donation is welcome to keep them going.
Andy Warhol exhibition at the Tate Modern
If you had been looking forward to that incredible retrospective and feel there is now very little hope of seeing it, here is really good news. Fans can now take an online tour of the galleries via their YouTube channel and website. Plenty of time to admire the artist’s famous take on Campbell soup cans, Brillo pads, Marilyn and Elvis.
Baking and Cooking
How about learning a skill or two during this self-isolation between two takeaways? Bread Ahead, the bakery school and shop in Borough Market, has announced free online baking workshops via Instagram live. Think epic doughnuts, cakes, focaccias… recipes presented step by step, followed by Q&A sessions. Check their Instagram feed to see what’s on.
Borough Market is also streaming live online cookery classes with chefs sharing recipes, articles and tips on how to make the most making the most from your store cupboard ingredients. Future classes will be announced on their Instagram account.
Free kids’ Audiobooks
David Walliams, one of most loved kids authors in the country, is making parents’ lives a little easier during this lockdown by making one audiobook a day available to stream via his website. Click here to listen to today’s story. Also check out Save with Stories on Instagram: celebrities such as Jennifer Garner, P!NK, Ellen DeGeneres… are reading one of their favourite children’s book. Storytime? Sorted.
After streaming Maisie Williams-starring hit ‘I and You’ on Instagram last week, this North London Theatre has announced its (free) program for the coming three weeks: Mike Bartlett’s ‘Wild’ (live now), followed by Beth Steel’s ‘Wonderland’ (April 6 to April 12) and Howard Brenton’s ‘Drawing the Line’ (April 13 to April 19). Stream them online here.
Museums and Galleries
London’s favourite museums, galleries and historic buildings offer virtual tours of their collections and exhibit rooms. Go on, revisit the British Museum, the V&A… You can even get a glimpse of the Parliament and Buckingham Palace! You will find a list of these iconic locations here.
Now bringing the theatre to you with National Theatre at Home! The company will stream some of its most popular productions for free on YouTube during the lockdown. The shows will be available to watch for free (but do consider a donation!) on YouTube at 7 pm every Thursday and will then remain available on demand for seven days.
Royal Opera House
Covent Garden’s iconic location is bringing ballet and opera to your very home. Their program of free online broadcasts, available via Facebook and YouTube, can be accessed anywhere, anytime across the globe.
London’s legendary dance theatre has put together a programme of full-length dance performances online, launching on Friday 27 March (World Theatre Day), with an exclusive online screening of Deluxe by BalletBoyz at 7.30 pm – the same time the work was due to be performed in our theatre. It will be available to watch on the Sadler’s Wells Facebook page. Other highlights include a new version of Wilkie Branson’s TOM, ballet LORENT’s spectacular family production, Rumpelstiltskin and a series of online dance workshops created especially for families with young children. Check the full listing here.
Start with The Show Must Go Online, which brings together actors from across the globe to perform the complete plays of William Shakespeare online, in the order they are believed to have been written. This fantastic team aims at producing 4 plays a month, live-streamed on YouTube, every Thursday at 7 pm. You can already see the first one, The two gentlemen of Verona, here.
Want more? London’s Globe Theatre has introduced a new service: the Globe Player has paid-for recordings of many of the theatre’s Shakespeare adaptations played there in the last 10 years, including Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry in Twelfth Night and Emma Rice’s telling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Even better: Patrick Stewart will read one of Shakespeare’s sonnet a day until this is all over. Follow him on Twitter to see the videos.
The Official Live Game has launched #SherLOCKDOWN, a fun way to make the most of being stuck at home. Sherlock will be posting daily puzzles and riddles via Instagram and Twitter at 2.21 pm. That should keep us all busy a while…
The Wind in the Willows the Musical
The musical version of The Wind in the Willows, which played at the London Palladium and starred Rufus Hound, is now available to stream in its entirety online via willowsmusical.com. Free but donations welcome.
London’s musical-loving Theatre Cafe has launched a series of web concerts. Three times a day, in exchange for a small fee, you will be able to enjoy a 45-minute set from West End actors, streamed directly to you, wherever you are. Great entertainment and a fantastic way to keep artists going.