As arts organizations everywhere temporarily close their doors and postpone seasons until brighter days return, they have been adding a ton of free, entertaining content online to get us through these in between days. The world has always turned its lonely eyes to artists for solace, and below are my top picks for online offerings I gathered up for you this week.
National Theatre at Home
I spent the last semester of my MFA in Performing Arts Management program working in the Press Office for London’s National Theatre, and it remains one of my greatest theater loves. If I could pop a tent in the lobby and live there forever, I would. Starting this Thursday, April 2 you can stream one production a week for free on their YouTube channel. The first show is One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden, and it is HILARIOUS! I first saw it broadcast into BAM Rose Cinemas, and remember laughing like crazy. The NT films their shows so seamlessly, and you’ll really love all the extra content like interviews and shots backstage. Definitely watch this play for a guaranteed pick-me-up!
Dance: New Adventures
Matthew Bourne is hands down one of my favorite choreographers from my days in Artist Services at BAM, and his company New Adventures is opening its doors to class with its dancers on Pro Wednesday, kicking off on April 1 with their Associate Artistic Director Etta Murfitt. She’ll be leading a contemporary class live on their Instagram channel @mbnewadventures, followed by a Q&A with Etta. It’s aimed at experienced dancers or current dance students, but it’s open to anyone who wants to give it a try! You can also warm up, try some new steps, and learn dance phrases on their Exercises & Activities page. Go ahead and dance like no one is watching because, well, probably no one is!
Off-Broadway & Regional
CLICK HERE to for a stellar list that TheaterMania compiled of performances, concerts, livestreams, classes, and even talk shows from leading Off-Broadway theaters and venues around the country including Lincoln Center, Signature Theatre, Irish Repertory Theatre, Primary Stages, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Feinstein's/54 Below, piano bar Marie's Crisis, HERE, Grand Ole Opry, Annex Theatre in Seattle, Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and Central Square Theater in Cambridge.
Royal Shakespeare Company - and More!
Lovers of British theater, opera, dance and documentaries can now sign up for a 30-day free trial of Marquee TV, a performing arts streaming service featuring more than 400 productions. There are also weekly Saturday premieres for shows that haven’t yet aired. My top RSC recommendations from their listings are Richard II with a brilliant David Tennant, Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2), and Henry V. These plays are a tetralogy, so watch in that order to get the most out of them! I saw them all performed live at BAM a few years ago, and they’re AMAZING.
BBC Culture in Quarantine
But wait – there’s more! The BBC will broadcast six of the RSC’s recent productions between now and September. Details have yet to be announced, so CLICK HERE to bookmark the RSC’s Culture in Quarantine page. Teachers and home-schoolers: they’re creating activities for students watching the plays from home including homework help with actors online to help answer questions. CLICK HERE for all the public access to art and culture courtesy of BBC Arts.
Shakespeare's Sonnets - The Old Globe, San Diego
The Old Globe in San Diego is offering a free online edition of Thinking Shakespeare Live!, focusing on Shakespeare's Sonnets. Their fast-paced and funny introduction to Shakespeare’s sonnets for families and young audiences will take place tonight - Tuesday, March 31st at 6:30pm PDT on The Old Globe's Facebook page. This half-hour, digital version of Thinking Shakespeare Live! will introduce the sonnets, then explore the language of one and how it relates to Shakespeare’s stage plays.
Contemporary Classical Music
My favorite new music organization is Bang on a Can, and their Cantaloupe Music label is full of inspiring, ground-breaking, beautiful, original compositions. Right now for just $8/month you can gain access to all their new releases, digital singles, mix tapes from their community, live archives remasters and a 20% discount on vinyl by CLICKING HERE. Subscribing is a much-needed way to sustainably support the work of these insanely talented artists and their important label. If you love New Sounds with John Schaeffer on NPR, this is a must-have!
Here are five more fantastic sites to fill your days with song, dance and inspiration!
Mark Morris Dance Group - online classes
New York Live Arts - full-length programs from Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company archives every week
ReelAbilities Film Festival - updated festival scheduled all moved online
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) - Love From BAM platform for archives, events, films and more
New York City Center - song-a-day videos in Encores! Archive Project of favorite City Center musicals