‘An Actor Prepares’
Theatre Resources For Isolation
Compiled by Ollie Jones (email@example.com) – with thanks to too many people to mention for suggestions and links!
*starred items may require institutional log in – usually there is a login [by institution] option which takes you to the York Shibboleth system (or equivalent if at another institution)
I’ve divided suggestions into 5 categories – Read, Watch, Listen, Write and Workshops, Other Resources. Items are organised alphabetically unless date-sensitive.
(I’m also aware that most of these recommendations are Anglo-centric, with a smattering of European and US resources – any suggestions to help widen the scope internationally would be very welcome)
- Do you want to learn about the history of old theatres across the UK in exhaustive-and-fascinating detail? Browse through Arthur Lloyd’s collections
- *Drama Online Library – www.dramaonlinelibrary.com – With 1000s of plays available, you’re spoilt for choice.
- Forest Fringe’s 2012 Paper Stagesis available to read online – artists ask you to perform their works in locations around the city (or in your bedroom).
- New Play Exchange – https://newplayexchange.org – The world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers.
- Playshare is a curated collection of plays suitable for youth theatre groups and made available through Youth Theatre Ireland. www.youththeatre.ie/resources/find-a-play/
- Total Theatre Magazine’s archive is now digitised and free to read – it covers 1989-2012 and is a treasure trove of alt performance history
Platforms and streaming services
- Amazon Prime has a number of pay-for theatre productions – mostly the BBC Play for Today adaptations from the 1970/80s. Few are included if you have a Prime membership, but an exception is the RSC’s 1969 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Peter Hall and starring Helen Mirren, Ian Richardson, and Judi Dench.
- BBC iPlayer
- My Left Nut – This is cheating as it’s a TV series butBBC3’s superb comedy drama is based on one of the most uproarious and affecting fringe theatre shows of recent years. It’s based on Michael Patrick’s own teenage experience of a medical condition that left his testicle “so big you could play it like a bongo”.
- All of BBC Arts on iPlayer – https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/arts/featured, including:
- The Royal Ballet: Mayerling – available on BBC iPlayer until mid-April
- The History Boys (under films) by Alan Bennett https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01shmjd/the-history-boys
- Or just browse the archive: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/archive/a-z
- BFI Player – https://player.bfi.org.uk/free – 11,000 archive films including shorts, features and 120 years of Britain on Film
- *Box of Broadcasts – https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/ – an extensive archive of TV and Radio. Top recommendations include On Stage: Live from Television Centre (including Gecko Theatre’s The Time of Your Life) and The Duchess of Malfi: BBC Arts at the Globe. [Only accessible from the UK]
- *Digital Theatre Plus – www.digitaltheatreplus.com/education/plays-and-productions – over 300 films of theatre, from live productions to BBC Studio productions and more.
- Globe Player – stream films of a host of productions from Shakespeare’s Globe (n.b. £pay-for service)
- HowlRound is live streaming various upcoming performances – and there’s more international performance to watch on the Howlround TV archive
- LIVR is a subscription service that enables you to catch up on theatre in 360-degree virtual reality. Pop your smartphone into the headset they send you and experience a range of shows including Apphia Campbell’s Fringe First award-winning show Woke, which interweaves the stories of Black Panther Assata Shakur and the 2014 Ferguson riots.
- Marquee TV – so many productions free for 30 days, including RSC, Royal Opera House, Donmar
- Netflix has a range of theatre and theatre-related offerings.
- Abstract: The Art of Design – especially episode 103, Es Devlin: Stage Design
- Self-isolation may mean that many of us will use living rooms to both teach children and watch theatre. An opportunity to combine the two can be found courtesy of the super-charismatic John Leguizamo – an inspirational tutor if ever there was – whose one-man Broadway show Latin History for Morons is now available
- Ubu.com is a huge free archive of avant-garde theatre, film, sound and dance works. DV8 is on there, among many many others.
Lots of theatres post great films on their YouTube channels.
- Gecko Theatre has many of their full shows available on their YouTube channel
- Check out The National Theatre’s Youtube Channel – e.g. their ‘How You Can Make It’ and ‘How We Made It’ playlists
- Early Modern Theatre – www.earlymoderntheatre.co.uk – hosts 5 films of full-length productions produced at TFTI and a range of other films and resources. Plays include Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World, My Masters, John Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan, John Vanbrugh’s The Provoked Wife, James Shirley’s Hyde Park, and John Dryden’s Amphitryon.
- Journal of Embodied Research: https://jer.openlibhums.org/
- The Royal Opera House’s The Opera Machine is a multi-angled view of the intricate theatrical process behind the scenes during a performance of Act III of Wagner’s Die Walküre. Choose from 17 different camera angles and three different sound mixes or follow the prompt book which is used to cue the technical crew and artists
- Performances that will never get to happen are being memorialised at online project The Social Distancing Festival
Limited availability – date restricted
- March 2020
- Viral Monologues – Twenty actors perform new monologues written just for them in this initiative. The performances will be shared online every 15 minutes on Tuesday night (17 March) and there’s some top talent involved, including comedian David Cross, actors Rachel Dratch and Andre Royo, and writers David Lindsay-Abaire, Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Monique Moses.
- The Show Must Go Online – The actor Robert Myles has set up a reading group for professional and amateur actors to perform Shakespeare’s complete plays in the order they’re believed to have been written. The first live-streamed reading, on YouTube, will beThe Two Gentleman of Verona on Thursday (19 March).
- YesYesNoNo have made its Edinburgh Fringe hit Five Encounters on a Site Craigslist available on Vimeo, and their latest show The Accident Did Not Take Place will be streamed live on 21 March 7.25 pm here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/the-accident-did-not-2/register
- The American Shakespeare Center at Blackfriars Staunton VA has announced BlkFrsTV, launching on 22 March at 1.45 pm EST with Midsummer-90 – Shakespeare’s magical comedy in a neat hour-and-a-half package – featuring their fabulous National Touring company. Follow on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/americanshakespearecenter
- Hampstead Theatre production of I and You via Instagram starring Maisie Williams from 23rd March for one week
- Theatre UnCut is livestreamingKieran Hurley’s Bubble on Mon 23rd March – Is this the short-term future of theatre-making? Bubble, a play set entirely on Facebook, uses a cast of European actors who never met in person, rehearsed over Skype and filmed on their cameras.
- Check out the Imagine! Virtual Festival during 25-27 March from 1-9 pm with 24 free webcasts covering politics, poetry, film reviews, comedy at https://imaginebelfast.com. It’s all free!
- For Katie Mitchell/opera fans, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich is streaming her recent production of Judith until 26 March. Link here:https://operlive.de/judith/
- The Royal Court’s Cyprus Avenue will be available to watch online, from Fri 27th March
- A Modern Decameron – an online story festival. 27 March – 7 April 2020. 50+ tellers. 10 days of 10 stories. 100 messages of hope. The festival will be hosted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/3049501975089576/ and on their Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzUzlu6LWoTODcgfCfEm1wg/about
- The Rest I Make Up, the award-winning documentary about playwright Maria Irene Fornes, is streaming for free until April 1. https://vimeo.com/398378982
- April 2020
- American Conservatory Theatre is offering streams of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Gloria and Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone on a pay what you will basis until Sunday 5 April:https://secure.act-sf.org/overview/gloria-tonistone-streaming?fbclid=IwAR3dDbNcyDdRXlqUItKolb9EQyHAca4q94e0dV76DJZjbA2F57vhTmGyWTk
- For Marina Abramovic/opera fans, her new project 7 Deaths of Maria Callas is also being streamed by the Bayerische Staatsoper, on 11 April at 1900 CET. This will appear onstaatsoper.tv at the appropriate time.
- Cup Of Brew’s ORANGUTAN – youtu.be/KXsrIfBxiks is available for 30 days (17th April)
- On The Boards are offering free streaming of their library of contemporary performance through to the end of April
Limited availability – individual shows (end date unknown)
- 5 Soldiers – Rosie Kay’s extraordinary 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline was staged in army drill halls around the UK but since its live stream is still available online you can watch it from the comfort of your own sofa. Performing in close quarters to a score that mixes punk and opera, Kay’s phenomenal company bring home the horror of combat and disarm audiences.
- Branar (Irish theatre for young audiences company) is making a video of each of their shows available for 24 hours at a time: see https://www.facebook.com/branarteatar
- Clown Funeral – associate artists of the New Diorama and Pegasus Theatre – has made three shows available online for free. What’s on Stage describes them as ‘a whole wad of whimsy while you wait for the virus to subside’
- Cookies by Emily Jenkins, performed in 2017 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, tackling cyberbullying: https://youtu.be/WMH77gzqd88
- Daniel Bye’s shows The Price of Everything, How to Occupy an Oil Rig, and the very apt Going Viral are available on YouTube
- Dead Centre has released the recording of Lippy (2013ish) – link here:https://vimeo.com/253790281 and password is the context
- Ghost Quartet – filmed in 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJSaEJm8pCE
- Girls Like That – London’s Unicorn Theatre has a world-class reputation for theatre for young audiences. It’s online in full and offers a raw account of adolescent anxiety, slut-shaming, and self-belief. In-your-face theatre that stays in your mind.
- The Irish National Opera has made available Orfeo ed Euridice, Madama Butterfly and La Cenerentola.
- Living Record Productions’ Thrown – binaural sound performance in full – listen with headphones!
- If you are a fan of opera, a number of places have made films available, including OperaVision, Teatro Regio Torino’s #operaonthesofa, Vienna State Opera, and the New York Met is streaming productions each day and making then available for 20 hours.
- Le Patin Libre – Think dance on ice and you’d imagine sequins and staggering TV celebrities but the Canadian troupe Le Patin Libre has taken the art form into a new dimension. In their double bill Vertical Influences, the skaters turned the rink into a mesmerising stage slowly decorated by the patterns cut by their blades.
- Belgian company Peeping Tom has posted their first trilogy – the film of Le Jardin and live performances of Le Salon and Le Sous Sol – online for free until the end of the outbreak. Check them out here!
- Powder Keg’s Bears is on Vimeo
- Rosas Danst Rosas – Love dance? Need to exercise at home? Then join the queen of Belgian avant-garde performance Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker as she talks you through how to perform her 1983 classic Rosas Danst Rosas. All you need is a chair, a bit of legroom and enough space to swing your hair.
- The Royal Shakespeare Company’s First Encounters King Lear was created specifically for younger audiences and played in schools across England – https://youtu.be/zP_g-ODJ2SM
- Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – After more than 1,000 productions, the Showstoppers improv crew are some of the quickest wits in the biz. So it’s no surprise that when they were faced with a West End closure they live-streamed a performance. Watch their custom-made, never-to-be-repeated impro musical on Facebook.
- Musical theatre pro Adam Lenson has given every musical fan their heart’s desire with The Signal, a raft of shows and performances all available online for free.
- Since U Been Gone – Teddy Lamb was due to present a Trans Take Over at London’s Bunker theatre this week as part of its now-suspended Power Share season. So they have uploaded a version of their musical fringe hit about losing loved ones and finding your own voice.
- Tim Crouch’s wonderful I, Malvolio free on Vimeo, and his I, Cinna is on Youtube
- Hit Fringe production Timpson the Musical
- West End production of The Wind in the Willows available for free (with an option to donate) – https://www.willowsmusical.com/ [UK only]
- Young Jean Lee’s We’re Gonna Die is currently available on her website
Announced, details TBA
- BBC Culture in Quarantine to stream Emma Rice’s Wise Children, Mike Bartlett’s Albion and more
- Home in Manchester has commissioned Homecoming, inviting theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home. All work will be made available on HOME’s website on a ‘pay-what-you-decide’ basis. It will be made accessible to the widest possible audience through the captioning, audio description, and providing relaxed versions where appropriate.
- NTLive has hinted past productions may soon be made available – check their Twitter for updates.
Search for podcasts using your favourite app…
- AdLib – York Theatre Royal’s podcast
- BBC podcasts: In Our Time, The Life Scientific, Infinite Monkey Cage, Desert Island Discs, From Our Own Correspondent, Friday Night Comedy, You’re Dead to Me, Forest 404
- BBC 4 Radio Drama https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xxp0g
- Beyond Shakespeare is broadcasting a series of lunchtime readthroughs of non-Shakespeare early modern plays. Check out their twitter page for updates: https://twitter.com/BeyondShakes
- Curtain Call Theatre Podcast – spotlights current shows through wide-ranging interviews, which give listeners a detailed sense of what it takes for a show to come together.https://curtaincalltheatre.libsyn.com/
- David Tennant Does a Podcast With…
- Hamiltcast – a no-stone-left-unturned exploration of the groundbreaking show Hamilton, its multilayered musical treats and its cultural impact.https://www.thehamilcast.com/
- Gwaandak Theatre and Vuntut Gwichin Government’s Ndoo Tr’eedyaa Gogwaandak: Forward Together Vuntut Gwichin Stories – vuntutstories.ca
- Tune into discussions with artists onMayFest Radio: new episodes soon
- Off Book: The Black Theatre Podcast – features conversations between the hosts and a selection of guests from all walks of theatrical life, including actors, costume designers, and writers. https://soundcloud.com/off-book-theatre-podcast
- Piece by Piece: musical theatre talk show hosted by musical director Joe Bunker, exploring iconic pieces of musical theatre with the actors and creative teams behind high-profile UK revivals: https://anchor.fm/piece-by-piece
- Playing On Air – a contemporary one-act play performed by actors like Adam Driver, Audra McDonald, and Michael C. Hall, followed by a conversation with the creative team.https://playingonair.org/
- Pod4Ham – a song-by-song examination of Hamilton from The Incomparable
- Pursued by a Bear – by Exeunt Magazine
- Putting it Together – the biggest theatre podcast in Scotland and it’s sponsored by the National Theatre of Scotland. Contains over 120 episodes interviewing actors, writers and directors, and various other artistic creatives too.
- NT Talks – 10 years of talks with actors, directors and more recorded at the National Theatre
- Rathband was the 2018 winner of the BBC Audio Drama Podcast. This 3-part drama about the last 20 months in the life of PC David Rathband before he was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat is available at www.rathbandplay.com/
- Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast – Simon Stephens interviews 40 playwrights
- RTE Radio Drama. Radio plays from Ireland’s national broadcaster https://www.rte.ie/drama/radio/
- Season 6 of Chris Goode’s podcast Thompson’s Live has just begun
- Variety’s Stagecraft – a deep gold mine of searching interviews with actors and other theater professionals about their Broadway and off-Broadway endeavors.https://broadwaypodcastnetwork.com/podcast/varietys-stagecraft/
- Other non-theatre recommendations: Guilty Feminist, Global Pillage, The Best Pick, 99% Invisible, Ologies, Reply All
Write and workshops:
Some opportunities that might tempt you:
- The BBC Writers Room has launched Interconnected and is looking for original short-form scripts, between 5-10mins whose 2-4 characters now find themselves in isolation, but connecting via video conferencing. Deadline: 30th March. Pay: £300
- Get playwriting inspiration from The Bruntwood Prize’s excellent collection of online writing resources
- Eve Leigh’sWorkshop for a Digital Body is open to everyone
- Papatango is asking for new monologues (2-4 pages): the writers of 10 selected pieces will win £100
- Young Jean Lee is teaching a free online writing workshop on 22nd March
- For any teachers of drama who have had to hastily convert their teaching to online platforms, this Google Doc has some excellent, drama-specific resources and advice: Teaching Theatre Online: A Shift in Pedagogy Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak –https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i-keJ_frOOEUa50CLAdz86hq5CxQwBQ2T4hbSI2nYdM/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR11cVZdw4DXEZqNCgOwYn_swxIhlHfsWXF9tMu9-7aiKfQljSyecFGkfnI