It’s hard to find filmed theatrical performances! Of course, there’s nothing like being part of a live audience. But when a show is either too expensive or too far away or already ended, it’s nice to know that filmed performances last for us to see. Feel free to comment below with other links or tools you use to watch filmed theatrical performances!
Digital Theatre is amazing for watching shows from across the pond. For a small charge you can rent filmed performances from hot West End tickets and there’s a really wide selection to choose from. I watched last year’s acclaimed production of Merrily We Roll Along, and not only was the show excellent, but the platform was super accessible. Lots of theater companies are featured too, like the RSC, the Menier Chocolate Factory, The Young Vic, and more.
RSC’s Live From Stratford-Upon-Avon broadcasts performances to cinemas around the world. So does Globe On Screen Check their online schedule for participating theaters in your area. DVDs are often released of these tapings.
Okay, honestly, the West End is on their game and Broadway needs to take note. National Theater Live is yet another British-based resource for watching hot West End performances. I’ve seen a number of these productions (Coriolanus, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Frankenstein, Habit of Art) and they’re all pretty awesome. The price of the ticket a bit more expensive than a normal movie ticket (usually $20-25), but it’s so worth it!
Unfortunately PBS is the only legal way that we know of to watch American Broadway productions. Watching fully-staged productions is even harder. Unless you get a magic pass to the New York Public Performing Arts Library, or you find magic bootlegs on Youtube, or your show gets a magic DVD release (like Passing Strange or Memphis) it’s kind of impossible. New York Philharmonic’s March production of Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson will be aired on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center series later this year. Great Performances is also amazing for catching filmed performances, and it looks like PBS is also amping up its digital game– you can now watch tons of recent performances, like Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Sting’s The Last Ship, David Tennant in Hamlet, and about 25 other full episodes (plus many more scenes and clips). Opera lovers have lots more options, since the Met Opera has an On-Demand service.