Enjoying the Arts from the Comfort of Home

December 6, 2022 | Mike

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Imagine this scene: It’s a Saturday night, around 7:30pm. You hear the rustling of people settling into seats. Musicians are tuning their instruments and warming up. The house lights fade to black and a spotlight appears on stage. The show has begun. And you’re enjoying it all from the comfort of home, cozy under a blanket with some snacks and a nice beverage.

Woman watching TV and eating popcorn at night

I know what some of you are thinking – there’s nothing like seeing a play or performance in person. I agree! That being said, there are some advantages to enjoying the arts at home:

1. Cost. Going to the theatre or a concert can be expensive, especially if you add in transit or parking, maybe a pre- or post-show meal or drink, or perhaps a babysitter. Watching a performance at home through the library is free!

2. Choice. Yes, Toronto has a wonderful art scene and there is something happening every night, but the library has performances from around the globe. Watching streaming performances also means being able to see productions that will often never happen again.

3. Convenience. Imagine being able to choose when a show would start or to tell the actors to pause so you could get more snacks. Then not have to crawl over anyone to get the snacks or wait in line.

4. Have I mentioned the snacks?

Here are some options to enjoy the arts at home with your library card:

Audio Drama: L.A. Theatre Works Collection

Listen to radio dramas performed by leading actors including George Clooney, Hilary Swank, and Laurence Fishburne.

BBC Literary Adaptations in Video

Enjoy over 160 productions of famous literature from the BBC. Includes productions Pride and Prejudice, Miss Marple and Alice in Wonderland, as well as works by Charles Dickens and Shakespeare.


Medici.tv has a wonderful selection of on-demand and live performances of classical music, jazz, opera and ballet. Search by artist, composer or work, or browse the vast catalogue. There are also documentaries and master classes with all-star instructors.

National Theatre Collection

Stream performances from the UK’s National Theatre archives. Includes All My Sons with Sally Fields and Bill Pullman, Small Island with Leah Harvey, and A Streetcar Named Desire with Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster.

Royal Shakespeare Company Collection

Watch over fifty productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company covering a wide range of Shakespeare’s works. Notable performers include David Tennant, Sir Anthony Sher and Paapa Essiedu.

Theatre in Video

Over 150 productions are available through Theatre in Video, including musicals and highlights from the Stratford Festival. There are also documentary clips, including tv shows and interviews, to go behind the scenes and learn about how the magic of the theatre comes to life.

Want to enjoy these offerings, but don't have a library card? See if you're eligible for a Digital Access Card or visit a library branch to sign up.