Stages around the world have lowered their red curtains, their orchestras silenced, their actors resting at home. Yet access to grand theatres has never been more democratic, with easy-to-access performances filmed and streamed online. Brown’s Hotel sits within easy reach of London’s West End and the attendant theatres and the cultural aesthetic is at the core of our values. So, while the whiff of greasepaint and sound of encores has been temporarily put on hold, we have curated a selection of the finest shows available and the channels through which to watch them.
The National Theatre at Home (various venues)
One of the British capital’s greatest institutions, The National Theatre has made available a selection of beautifully staged, past productions each week on its YouTube channel, The National Theatre at Home. Each Thursday at 7pm, expect a live transmission of a spectacular stage adaptation ranging from Jane Eyre to Frankenstein, on an ever-changing weekly programme – the perfect way to get a taste of the magic ahead of a trip to the theatre.
The Shows Must Go On! (various venues)
Make Friday night a big night in with musical theatre’s veteran composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, streaming a new show weekly at 7pm via a dedicated YouTube channel. His whimsical name for this ongoing programme is The Shows Must Go On!, and will include classics such as Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, Cats, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar. Performance dates and locations vary, with some filmed as early as the 90s, showcasing superstars, including Sarah Brightman, and other, more modern productions, with actors including Tim Minchin; all are filmed across London institutions, including The Royal Albert Hall.
Filmed On Stage (various venues)
A comprehensive virtual library of live performances captured on camera, Filmed On Stage offers a mixture of free and paid titles spanning decades and continents. Children will love adaptations of Disney stories such as Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast and animations such as Shrek and Spongebob Squarepants brought to life, whilst parents can browse an eclectic range of performances of all types. Feeling musical? Switch on the Janis Joplin musical, Springsteen on Broadway or We Will Rock You. In the mood for dancing? Fame is your go-to for energetic gyration. Had to postpone tickets to a new smash hit such as Hamilton? It’s coming soon – get the popcorn ready.
Globe Player (Shakespeare’s Globe)
A witty watch for adults and a handy supplement for children learning about literature, Shakespeare’s Globe will be streaming 40 of the legendary wordsmith’s works on its own Globe Player. Filmed within the reproduction Elizabethan playhouse situated on the South Bank, each production offers a unique sense of place and atmosphere alongside some lauded performances. From A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale to The Merry Wives of Windsor, all genres are accounted for.
BroadwayHD (various venues)
This paid online digital streaming service has really come into its own since the curtains have come down, and offers a choice range of productions usually performed in the West End and on Broadway. From Western classics including the multi-award-winning An American in Paris and witty, contemporary tale Kinky Boots to the hit shows with an Eastern flavour – The King and I and Miss Saigon – there’s something for every mood.