Now that theatres are opening up again, the future is looking up for arts and culture. But as 2020 taught us all, we can't always physically attend the theatre. Global pandemics, time constraints, financial expense, personal health, accessibility - these are several of the many reasons that we choose to watch theatre online instead.
But when you want to watch theatre online, what options are available to you? What websites? What content? What price points? In this blog, we're going to run you through some of the top digital services that exist for streaming theatre.
So get ready to put some popcorn in the microwave. In only a couple of minutes, you'll be ready to enter the wonderful world of theatre streaming.
1. An Arts Organisation's Website
Many arts organisations release digital events on their own websites. Some theatres have started doing this relatively recently, such as Stephen Joseph Theatre, or Creation Theatre. Meanwhile, others have been doing this for years already, like Soho Theatre and the Royal Opera House. So if you want to watch an event from a specific arts organisation, check their own website first!
Next is Medici.tv, one of the world's leading classical arts & culture websites. They host over 150 livestreams each year in partnership with some of the world's most prestigious venues, opera houses and festivals. On top of this, they have a back catalogue of over 2,000 video-on-demand (VoD) performances too.
Medici.tv is a subscription service that required a year subscription to access. They currently charge £99 per year, with a discount of £49.50 for your first year.
Considering all you can access, we'd say that this is a great deal. So for those with classical tastes, make sure to give Medici.tv a try.
Third, we have MarqueeTV, a streaming service for arts and culture. MarqueeTV provides access to a large catalogue of VoD dance, opera, music, theatre and documentary content. The platform aims to offer a similar service to Netflix, but for arts and culture.
Their database includes content from London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Shakespeare Company, English Touring Opera, Cheltenham Literature Festival, and many more arts organisations too. MarqueTV is a relatively young streaming service, founded in 2019.
To access content on MarqueeTV requires a monthly subscription. As of writing this, the service currently costs £8.99 per month. We'd highly recommend checking out their content.
4. Digital Theatre
Another highly esteemed streaming service for arts and culture is Digital Theatre. Digital Theatre produces films of stage productions in high-definition that can be downloaded or streamed as video on demand via their website. They additionally have an educational arm, Digital Theatre Plus, which combines award-winning productions with high-quality learning resources to help students study while watching videos of arts events.
Similar to MarqueeTV, they also have a monthly membership program. The service currently costs £9.99 per month or £99.99 for a year.
Recently, Digital Theatre have also started allowing 48-hour rentals for £7.99. Or for first-timers, they also offer a free trial. These different pricing options make Digital Theatre an easy recommendation.
On NT at Home, you can access a range of unforgettable and unequivocally British theatre. Their pricing is currently identical to Digital Theatre, costing £9.99 per month, £99.99 per year, or £7.99 per rental. With more plays added every month, and with a large back catalogue to offer, NT at Home is a truly brilliant service worth checking out.
6. Amazon Prime
For those of you with an Amazon Prime account, great British theatre is now beginning to appear on Amazon Prime Video! There's currently only several titles available, but they are some show-stoppers including Soho Theatre's Fleabag and Hamlet featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. As a quick fix option for streaming theatre, Amazon Prime Video small collection is an easy recommendation.
Next is Stream.Theatre, a streaming service theatre which offers a wide variety of live streamed arts programming. Audiences can browse shows, buy tickets and watch productions all within the platform using a video player specifically conditioned for real-time live streaming. They are one of the young digital services on our list, launching in September 2020.
In terms of cost, each event is rented individually. Prices for events vary from roughly £5 to £15. Stream.Theatre also host a lot of Broadway content, so we'd suggest that any broadway aficionados review their catalogue immediately!
This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the theatre content that's available on YouTube. Many arts organisations have their own channels on YouTube, and some of them even release full performances for free too. National Theatre, for instance, was very kindly releasing a free stream every week on YouTube for over 16 weeks. So if you're passionate about theatre, you should see what some of your favourite arts organisations are offering on YouTube.
Lastly, we are humbly adding ourselves to this wonderful list of digital streaming services. We, StageUp, are an events platform for arts and culture.
Our vision is to create a home for performing arts communities. A place to connect with arts events, and a place to connect with arts organisations. We're currently launching our service in Q1 2022. If you're interested in learning more about us, you can send us an email at email@example.com, or schedule a call with us.