Miss catching spectacularly staged shows as they unfold right before your eyes? Luckily, despite theatres across the globe closing down and everyone staying at home, the performing arts have found a way to keep the show going. These past weeks, aside from the internet becoming a venue for celebrations and events, the digital arena has also become a stage for various beloved productions. International performing arts institutions like Shakespeare's Globe, Opéra national de Paris, and more have opened up their archives so theatre aficionados can watch for free. So what are you waiting for? Bring the stage to your home and catch these legendary theatre shows streaming online.
Romeo and Juliet
Ah, yes, the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers. There have been thousands of reiterations of Shakespeare's classic masterpiece on various media, but it never fails to touch its viewers' hearts. Catch it on stage, albeit virtually, with Shakespeare's Globe Theatre airing their 2009 production. Starring Ellie Kendrick and Adetomiwa Edun as the titular characters, the play is available only until 3 May so make sure to watch it here soon. Those who are able can opt to donate in support of the future of the Globe. And if, after watching, you're still in need of more of the playwright's works, you can also sign up for their official streaming platform, the Globe Player and stay tuned for their free theatre shows streaming next month.
Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals
Since the beginning of April, theatre icon Andrew Lloyd Webber has been releasing his most iconic shows on the YouTube channel "The Shows Must Go On!" Available for only 48 hours, the live-streams of musicals run every Friday, 7PM UK time (2AM on Saturdays on our side of the globe). More than giving fun entertainment during these troubled times, it's the composer's way to raise funds to help various charities like the Actor's Fund. He has streamed his longest-running hits, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, and more. And in the following weeks, you can look forward to catching more of his broadway gems.
Fans of the ballet, meanwhile, should definitely check out Opéra national de Paris's replay of Cinderella, staged in their anniversary celebration last 2018. Based on world-renowned ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev's staging, this production brings Charles Perrault’s fairy tale into the modern era. Here, Cinderella is thrown under the spotlight of Hollywood, with her Prince Charming taking the role of a star actor and her step-mum a producer, making for an elegant yet fun twist to the classic narrative we all love.
Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
Dive deep into Japan's diverse culture without leaving your couch by watching Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees, which was scheduled to open in National Theatre, Tokyo last 3 March. Originally performed as a puppet play in 1747, this kabuki theatre masterpiece tells the story of two warring clans. The historical story follows Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a general who follows three members of the opposing Taira clan who pose a threat to their rule. Watch the three main acts of the Japanese play and be mesmerised with the striking drama the art of kabuki offers until the end of April.
Emily of Emerald Hill
Those looking for theatre shows streaming narratives that are closer to home, Singapore theatre company WILD RICE is presenting Emily of Emerald Hill on YouTube. In this stage play by Stella Kon, actress Ivan Heng single-handedly commands the stage as she performs solo as Emily Gan, one of Singapore's most iconic characters. The Straits-Chinese tale follows her as a young girl who overcomes hardships to emerge as a woman holding power as a matriarch in a world ruled by men. Though set in the 1930s, this production highlights the many roles of a woman — a daughter-in-law, a wife and a mother, amongst many others — making it highly relatable even up to this day.
(Cover photo from: shakespearesglobe.com)
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