Stream Theatre Online for Free

October 7, 2020 | Wendy B.

Comments (2)

Do you miss theatre? What would you give to watch Benedict Cumberbatch staggering across the stage in a loincloth and horror makeup as Frankenstein's Monster? Or Gillian Anderson swanning around in a pink kimono as Blanche Dubois?

NTL 2019 Small Island - 1. Leah Harvey and CJ Beckford. Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg
Leah Harvey and CJ Beckford in the National Theatre's Production of Small Island

Or Leah Harvey and CJ Beckford in Small Island (above)?

Now you can do all of the above, from the comfort of  home using your library card, thanks to our Streaming Theatre Collections.

National Theatre Collection

Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus. Gillian Anderson in A Streetcar Named Desire. James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors! The National Theatre Collection offers 30 plays, plus scripts, costume designs and mor. Here's the trailer for Benedict Cumberbatch's turn in Frankenstein:

Broadway HD Collection

A small but intense collection of 19 Broadway classics. Includes some surprising star turns. A very young Dustin Hoffman as a nebbishy writer in Journey of the Fifth Horse. Orlando Bloom as a dirtbike-riding Romeo. And of course there are musicals. Here's the trailer for David Horn's Tony-winning 2017 production of Indecent:

Theatre in Video

For actors (and fans): A grab bag of nearly 600 instructional videos, interviews, and full-length performances. Learn about theatre safety and how to block a scene. Discover classical Japanese puppets. Watch four different Hamlets and a documentary about Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty.


The Royal Shakespeare Company Collection

Attention, students! Watch over 40 different Shakespeare plays, including school favourites like Hamlet and King Lear. Includes closed captions, transcripts and citation tools. (And if they don't have the play you need, check the other collections. There's Shakespeare all over the place!)


Audio Drama: L.A. Theatre Works Collection

If you like theatre and podcasts, you'll love this collection of 300+ plays in streaming audio from the archive of L.A. Theatre Works. (Myself, I started with two plays by Tom Stoppard – Arcadia and The Real Thing – and now I'm hooked. Up next: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's dinosaur adventure play, The Lost World.)


Performance Design Archive

For researchers, designers and true theatre addicts: take a deep dive into the archive. Browse thousands of watercolour sketches of sets and costumes, from the 17th century through to the present day. Search for productions, designers and time periods. This is the first comprehensive, international collection to cover all aspects of theater production design, including scenic and set design, lighting design, sound design, costume design and makeup.

Theatre in Context

And still more for researchers. Do you like ephemera? Here are 40,000 pages of reference works, encyclopedias, images, flyers, playbills, postcards, scrapbooks and other resources.