As the coronavirus pandemic continues to bring productions around the world to a halt, some theatre companies and artists have found a way to ensure that the show will go on—at least on screen—by offering streams of its current shows. Patrons can now support these organizations impacted by widespread closures and have a chance to catch the shows even during mass gathering restrictions.
The swift pivot to streaming is the product of collaboration between the theatres, artists, and a number of unions that weigh in on media decisions, including Actors' Equity and IATSE. Theatrical licensors have also stepped in to make it easier for companies to acquire rights to offer its stagings digitally during this time.
“These new streaming agreements help protect the economic security of Equity members with additional weekly salaries and health care contributions,” said Actors' Equity Executive Director Mary McColl. “When theaters go dark, actors and stage managers face tremendous economic uncertainty. A streaming agreement can be a win for everyone, from the audience to the actors and stage managers.”
Take a look at current and upcoming offerings below. Due to licensing and union contract terms, most titles are available for a limited time; this list is arranged by expiration date. Many other regional theatres are making arrangements to follow suit and bring their performances online; stay tuned for more information.
Through May 31: Fleabag
Soho Theatre/Wyndham's Theatre (London, U.K.)
The filmed presentation of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's solo show, which inspired her Emmy-winning Amazon comedy is now available through May 31 (extended from April 24) through Soho Theatre's on-demand platform and on Amazon Prime Video for four pounds (just under five dollars). Proceeds will go toward the Fleabag Support Fund, which supports U.K. theatre industry members impacted by the coronavirus shutdowns, as well as the U.K.'s National Emergencies Trust, NHS Charities Together, and Acting for Others, the U.S.-based Broadway Cares, and more. Once purchased, the stream will be available for 48 hours.
Through June 2: The Habit of Art and The Croft
Original Theatre Company (U.K.)
As previously announced, Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art—as well as Ali Milles' The Croft—have been made available to stream online after cutting their U.K. tours short. They will be accessible for a suggested donation until June 2.
Through Theatre Closures: Various Made at Curve Productions
Curve (Leicester, England)
The U.K. venue is hosting previously recorded presentations of some of its Made at Curve productions on its website, available through the duration of the shutdown. Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual and The Importance of Being Earnest (co-produced with Birmingham Repertory Theatre) are currently online, with What The Butler Saw joining beginning April 19.
Through June 29: What Do We Need to Talk About? Conversations on Zoom.
The Public Theater (New York, New York)
The live virtual performance, written and directed by Richard Nelson, will reunite the original cast of his The Apple Family Plays—Jon DeVries, Stephen Kunken, Sally Murphy, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, and Jay O. Sanders—each from their respective homes. The new work will stream for free on YouTube.