Lockdown is easing and theatres are reopening, but if you’re not quite ready to head back to a physical theatre yet, you can still watch some great theatre from the comfort of your own home. Check out our pick of the 12 best plays and musicals you can watch on YouTube this weekend. All are free to watch, but please consider making a donation, either directly to the theatre/production, or to Acting For Others.
Theatre’s have started to reopen with social distancing in place under the current government roadmap, support your favourite theatre and show by booking tickets here.
Not All Heroes
Available to watch for the very first time, Blackeyed Theatre’s 2014 archive recording of NOT ABOUT HEROES by Stephen MacDonald will premiere on Friday 25 June at 8pm (UK time) and be available free on demand for 24 hours.
Stephen MacDonald’s beautifully written play chronicles the unique friendship that developed between First World War poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, from their first meeting in 1917 at Craiglockhart War hospital, where both were being treated for ‘war neurosis’, to their final meeting in August 1918, shortly before Owen’s return to active duty.
The role of Siegfried Sassoon is played by James Howard, currently appearing as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace Theatre).
A forensic examination of the soul of an Irish ‘freedom fighter’. Pádraig Devlin is a dissident Irish Republican, who begins to have doubts about his commitment to The Cause after he meets and falls in love with a woman from Barcelona. Soon after meeting her, Pádraig botches three assignments in a row.
The other members of his terrorist cell decide to test the love-struck Pádraig’s commitment. Has falling in love really weakened the resolve of a man determined to re-ignite the struggle for Irish freedom, and whose Republican credentials are beyond reproach? And just exactly what kind of test do they plan to set him? And how will Pádraig react when he discovers that he’s being tested… Continuity is the story of a man who begins to question everything he has ever fought for – and marks a stunning debut from a brand new playwright.
Children’s Children from English Touring Theatre
How much of our history do we carry? From the fields, across the waters & onto the streets; revolts become riots, rallies become tweets. This is the life. This is repeat. Uncovering texts from throughout history & the present day & presenting them for 2021, the #ChildrensChildren films ask how much of the past remains in our present.
Timpson The Musical
Two warring house. One ancient grudge. A whole lot of shoes. Can the warring houses of Montashoe and Keypulet be united by a pair of star-crossed lovers? Journey to Victorian London where Monty Montashoe and Keeleigh Keypulet, two young inventors bursting with ambition, strive to break free from their humdrum lives and follow their dreams all the way to the 50th annual ‘Invention Convention’!
Sponsored by Timpson Ltd. themselves, this five star, award-winning new musical explaining the origins of everyone’s favourite high street cobblers is guaranteed hilarity for the whole family.
If you weren’t able to raise a glass with The London cast at The Boulevard Soho when Ghost Quartet you can now relive a recording from 2015, filmed live at the McKittrick Hotel, starring the productions writer, Dave Malloy.
David Walliams The Midnight Gang
Chickenshed was the first theatre to bring David Walliams The Midnight Gang to the stage back in 2017 – and will now release the recording of the production on YouTube.
When the clock strikes midnight most children are fast asleep, but for the Midnight Gang the journey is just beginning.
Five children find themselves in hospital for a variety of reasons, including Tom who’s been hit on the head by a cricket ball and really doesn’t want to go back to school. They soon discover that something far more exciting is happening beyond the confines of the children’s ward. A heart-warming and hilarious tale of fun, friendship and adventure ensues, all under the cover of darkness when the horrible matron is sure they are all fast asleep.
Crime of the Century from Chickenshed Theatre
A hard-hitting, raw piece of theatre which explores the issues surrounding gang violence. Using words and movement alongside a contemporary score of hip-hop and dance music, the performance packs a frightening punch and acts as a positive tool in the fight against the savagery of knife crime.
Suddenly: A Short New Musical, a brand new innovative short film production, developed entirely by young industry professionals during the second COVID-19 lockdown in Australia, has just been released on YouTube.
The film premiered with a sold-out screening in Melbourne, and now, Suddenly has been watched over 2.5k times – and counting – all around Australia, the US and UK! The brand new 30 minute musical film brings theatrical innovation to the next level in a production performed on stage that is entirely designed for camera.
The Built by Barn production of Henry V, directed by Hal Chambers and starring West End stars Aaron Sidwell (Wicked, American Idiot, EastEnders) and Lauren Samuels (Bend It Like Beckham, We Will Rock You, BBC’s Over The Rainbow).
The full cast comprises of: Matt Ray Brown (Exeter/Orleans), Alicia Charles (Bardolph/Williams), Elin Phillips (Fluellen), Lauren Samuels (Katherine/Boy), Aaron Sidwell (Henry), Adam Sopp (Pistol/Constable), Sarah Waddell (Queen of France) and Jonathan Woolf (Nym/Dauphin).
Arlene Phillips directs a reworked version of smash-hit new rock musical ‘27’, which ran for nine performances at London’s The Other Palace. Originally premiering in summer 2016 at the Cockpit Theatre, the musical returned to the stage in a workshop version under the new title Myth: The Rise and Fall of Orpheus.
A modern retelling of the well-known Ancient Greek tale of Orpheus and the underworld, the musical is a brand-new genre that is guaranteed to resonate with every generation. Examining the link between mental illness and an inescapable addiction to the music industry, Myth examines a growing cultural problem that has stolen the lives of stars such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse.
ASSEMBLY – Donmar Warehouse
Imagine the future. However you choose to imagine it. Now imagine it in your hands. What does community mean in a time of division and separation? Mixing live performance, animation and sound, ASSEMBLY looks at the impact of humans on nature and what we might build together for a better future. It’s about trying, failing, and trying again. In times of emergency, it is about hope.
Created by writer Nina Segal (In the Nighttime (Before the Sun Rises), Gate), director Joseph Hancock ((This Isn’t) A True Story, Almeida Young Company) and the Donmar Local Company, ASSEMBLY is a live digital performance created in collaboration with video designer and director of photography Andrzej Goulding (Teenage Dick, Donmar), set and costume designer Frankie Bradshaw (Sweat, Donmar and West End), composer and sound designer Max Pappenheim (The Night of the Iguana, West End) and lighting designer Sam House (HashtagLightie, Arcola). This is the first production from the Donmar Local Company – members of the community who live and work in the Donmar’s home boroughs of Camden and Westminster.
ASSEMBLY was broadcast LIVE from the Donmar Warehouse and locations across the UK from 7.30pm on Saturday 20 March. This recording will be available to watch for a limited time.
A meteor the size of LA is about to hit LA, ironically, and in London a couple of friends spend their last seven days watching the news, reinventing chess and rewriting the rules of some of the other games in their universe: generally putting things into perspective, at once paralysed and inspired by the ‘overallness of it all’.
Getting ready, as best they can, to die together, the enormity of what’s about to happen completely overwhelms them, but it also brings out in them a whole burst of creative energy, and so as the story to top all stories unfolds, they inadvertently become its co-authors, while in a dimension far beyond their imagination, their soulmates-in-spirit are having something of an unexpected ball…