More free theatre streaming

A scene from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s By Jeeves, streaming free for 48 hours from tonight (Friday, May 8).

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BY BILLY SUTER

ONCE again a feast of free streaming fare is available to theatre and dance fans globally.

Sadly, however, New York’s Lincoln Center’s newly announced free musical streamings, weekly, for 48 hours – the first being the 2015 revival of The King and , with Ken Watanabe and Kelli O’Hara, streaming from tonight – is seemingly not available for viewing in South Africa on BroadwayHD.

The streaming fun starts tonight (Friday, May 8) with a live 8pm (South African time) screening of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lesser known musical, By Jeeves, on Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On! Channel on YouTube. It will stream live for 48 hours at this link: https://youtu.be/jWWB2U3mntQ

A Lloyd Webber musical is streamed at no cost every Friday and made available for 48 hours.

By Jeeves, a collaboration with prolific British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. Adapted from PG Wodehouse’s stories about the rich and naive Bertie Wooster and his ultra-competent valet, as the 1975 West End flop Jeeves.

Lloyd Webber and Ayckbourn rewrote it nearly entirely for a retitled 1996 version that ran for six months in London and, in 2001, for a few months in New York. Nearly all of that Broadway cast is featured in the recording that streams on YouTube this weekend; the cast is largely American, including John Scherer as Wooster, but Jeeves is played by the veteran English actor Martin Jarvis.

Dance fans have a big treat in store with the planned free Youtube streaming, at 8pm (South African time) on Wednesday, May 13, of Aszure Barton’s joyous and inventive dance work, Fantastic Beings, set to Mason Bates’s Anthology of Fantastic Zoology.

Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, stars of Antony & Cleopatra. Picture by National Theatre Live.

Set in a surreal world and featuring 20 dancers that become “all manner of slinky, sensual creatures” (Evening Standard), the acclaimed, 37-minute work will be shown as part of the English National Ballet’s WednesdayWatchParty series which last week featured Romeo and Juliet. These weekly streamings are available for 48 hours from 8pm (South African time) every Wednesday. Click here for the link: https://youtu.be/mrXu8Ha8Mhw

If drama is your scene, don’t miss the excellent, free live streamings on YouTube every Thursday at 8pm (South African time) as part of National Theatre at Home; the new initiative to bring content to the public in their homes during lockdown.

New plays, filmed live on stage, are streamed free for seven days from 8pm (South African time) every Thursday, with the current offering being Antony & Cleopatra, directed by Simon Godwin and starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo. See it until May 14 at https://youtu.be/lWc6_aCTqI0

The three-hour-plus play is set at the fringes of a war-torn empire, where the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war.

Other titles lined up for National Theatre at Home include Barber Shop Chronicles (from May 14, for 48 hours) which is a never-before-seen archive recording of Inua Ellams’s hit play, a co-production with Fuel and Leeds Playhouse.

Recorded in London in January 2018, the play tells the interwoven tales of black men from across the globe who, for generations, have gathered in barber shops where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling. It is directed by Bijan Sheibani and the cast includes Fisayo Akinade, Hammed Animashaun and Cyril Nri.

The acclaimed 2014 production of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, a Young Vic and Joshua Andrews co-production, streams from May 21. Teaming Gillian (The X-Files) Anderson and Ben Foster, it has Anderson as  Blanche, whose fragile world crumbles as she turns to her sister, Stella (Vanessa Kirkby) for solace –  but her downward spiral brings her face to face with the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski (Foster).

Streaming from May 28 will be the 2013 National Theatre production of James Graham’s This House, a timely, moving and funny insight into the workings of British politics. It is 1974, and Britain has a hung Parliament. The corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backstabbing as the political parties battle to change the future of the nation.

Tim Hiddleston in Coriolanus, streaming free for seven days from June 4. Picture: National Theatre Live,

The play, directed by Jeremy Herrin has a cast including Phil Daniels, Charles Edwards, Reece Dinsdale and Vincent Franklin.

The Domnar Warehouse’s highly popular production of Coriolanus, staged by former Artistic Director Josie Rourke, will be streamed from June 4. It stars Tim Hiddleston, Alfred Enoch, Deborah Findlay and Mark Gatiss.

It centres on an old adversary threatening Rome and the city calling once more on hero and defender: Coriolanus. But he has enemies at home too.

Meanwhile, closer to home, The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, closed since March 15 as a result of the Coronavirus, has announced it has cancelled all planned stage productions for 2020 and will soon be launching a new digital platform through its website.

Lamees Albertus, general manager and producer of The Fugard Theatre, has stated the theatre has explored every opportunity to present the scheduled season as originally planned, “but with the current level of uncertainty regarding when we will be allowed to operate again, we have had to make the tough decision to cancel all productions for 2020”.

The plan is to launch The Fugard at Home to present content on an online portal that champions the arts and connects loyal Fugard audiences and artists in a meaningful way, he said, adding that programme content would be finalised and announced shortly.

He said The Fugard Theatre box office would contacting patrons who have already booked tickets for productions this year, and offering them a full refund, or the option to donate the cost of their tickets to the theatre.

The theatre’s acclaimed recent 10th birthday production of Athol Fugard’s classic Master Harold… And The Boys is available for streaming until May 20. until 20 May, available exclusively for Friends of The Fugard. Not yet a Friends of The Fugard member? Sign up now online at www.thefugard.com.


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