National Theatre streaming past productions for free

James Corden and Suzie Toase in Richard Bean’s stage adaptation of ‘One Man Two Guvnors’ for London’s National Theatre. © Image Courtesy of London’s National Theatre and YouTube

LONDON: The Society of London Theatres announced that the National Theatre will remain closed until the end of June, as more than 29,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK.

Although on lockdown mode, the London institution will livestream some of its star-dubbed stage productions to entertain audiences stuck at home.

“National Theatre at Home” will launch on Thursday, April 2 with Richard Bean’s “One Man Two Guvnors” featuring a Tony Award-winning performance from James Corden.

The acclaimed production will be livestreamed at 7:00 pm (GMT) on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel, where it will be available to watch for an entire week.

[insert video]

New performances will be released each week, along with behind-the-scenes talks and cast interviews.

Among them are Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” (April 9); Bryony Lavery’s stage adaptation of “Treasure Island” (April 16); and Shakespeare’s classic comedy “Twelfth Night” in which Tamsin Greig plays a female version of Malvolio (April 23).

The London institution still has to announce which past productions will be available free for home-streaming in the coming weeks.

“We have delved into the National Theatre Live archive and curated a programme that’s varied from comedy to new dramas to classics so there is something for everyone to enjoy from their own homes. We will be streaming each production at the same time each week in order to recreate, where possible, the communal viewing experience and we hope this will be an opportunity for people to share their enjoyment together online,” Lisa Burger, the National Theatre executive director and joint chief executive, said in a statement.

London’s National Theatre is not the only cultural institution bringing filmed productions directly to home viewers amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Globe Theatre has released a selection of filmed performances to watch from home, including Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance in an acclaimed production of “Twelfth Night,” and Jonathan Pryce as “The Merchant Of Venice.”

The open-air theatre is also offering behind-the-scenes programs and interviews, where Judi Dench, Tom Hiddleston, Zoe Wanamaker and director Baz Lurhmann make appearances.

Meanwhile, Marquee TV has announced a collaboration with the Royal Opera House and Royal Shakespeare Company to stay connected with audiences during the COVID-19 shutdown.

The new initiative, dubbed “Every Night is Opening Night,” will offer on Marquee TV an enhanced program of filmed productions, including weekly premieres.

Among them Gregory Doran’s “Richard II” starring David Tennant in the title role; Simon Godwin’s “Hamlet” with Paapa Essiedu; as well as Donmar Warehouse’s all-female Shakespeare trilogy featuring Harriet Walter and Jade Anouka.

Marquee TV will also offer additional shows from the Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet, as well as operas from Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House.