Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, live performance has been put on ice. But even though theaters have closed their doors, many are rummaging through their video archives and making productions from the past available for online viewing. Artscope has picked some of the best companies in this country and around the world that have opened their vaults for the locked-in public.
THE NATIONAL THEATER: One of the United Kingdom’s most lauded theaters has begun a program they call “National Theater At Home.” An extension of their popular “National Theater Live,” which had broadcast plays live from London’s South Bank to cinemas across the globe, “At Home” will be offering a production a week. Currently showing at time of posting is the company’s frightening and technologically innovative adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE: New York City’s powerhouse opera company is presenting stellar productions from their “Live in HD” collection. Every night at 7:30 EDT, a production is streamed and made available for 23 hours. They have also made the program interactive, with an audience vote to select productions to steam throughout the pandemic.
GLOBE SHAKESPEARE: The historic theater will be making six wonderful productions (with the possibility of more) available through YouTube. Every two weeks, a new production will be swapped in–with a plethora of interviews, podcasts, programs, and rehearsal footage along with it. Available at the time of posting is their 2018 production of Shakespeare & Fletcher’s comedy The Two Noble Kinsmen.
LA MAMA: A staple of the East Village since the 1960s, the iconic experimental theater is also digging into their past to help entertain. Of course, it comes with a twist in keeping with the theater’s legacy: along with plays come talks between writers and theater-makings from the off-off Broadway community and a couple productions for kids.
THE COOLIDGE CORNER THEATER: The Brookline, Mass institution deserves an honorable mention. During normal times, the theater had featured live streams from many of the theaters listed above. Coolidge is continuing to show new films in collaboration with individual distributors. A portion of the ticket sales go to the theater, helping to keep the beloved institution going even when their projectors are off.
We here at Artscope will add to this list as more theaters pivot to streaming their past works. So cozy up, enjoy some of the best theater that institutions across the globe can offer, and stay safe!