London Theatre Weekly Round-up: closures, postponements and virtual theatre

Theatres may be closed and shows cancelled (more info on that below) but don’t despair–plenty of artists and venues are responding with live streams, video recordings, online events and more. Read on for details.

The BBC launches Culture in Quarantine, a virtual arts festival. Using BBC Radio and TV, BBC Sounds, iPlayer and digital platforms, the festival will broadcast museum and gallery exhibitions, musical performances, comedy shows and plays new and old. At this stage, announced shows include Mike Bartlett’s Albion, Emma Rice’s Wise Children, and Crystal Pite’s Revisor.

Theatre Together announces All the Web’s a Stage. This online event will raise money for arts professionals facing hardship. Taking place on 23 April (Shakespeare’s birthday), it will feature a number of performances in cabaret, comedy, dance and theatre. Participating artists so far include Danny Mac, Tom Milner, Jodie Prenger and La Voix. The event will be live-streamed for free with the option to donate. More details on the program, participants and streaming platforms will be announced later.

Leave a Light On, a new concert series, will broadcast starting 23 March. A response to the West End shut down, the series will broadcast three 45-minute concerts every day, providing entertainment for people in self-isolation and financial support for performers. Lineup and pricing will be announced later. Produced by Lambert Jackson Productions and The Theatre Café, Leave a Light On will stream live from London’s Theatre Café.

The Cosmic Shambles announces The Stay at Home Festival. Starting 23 March, free performances by comedians, musicians and scientists will be available online. There will be a pay what you can option to support struggling performers and venues. You can find a list of events at cosmicshambles.com/stayathome.

Rob Myles launches The Show Must Go Online: an online group that will read Shakespeare’s plays in the order in which they were written. Live-streamed on YouTube, the first performance will be The Two Gentlemen of Verona on 19 March at 7 pm GMT.

Eugenius! is now streaming on Facebook. The London production stars Rob Houchen, Laura Baldwin, Neil McDermott, Dan Buckley, Scott Paige and Emily Tierney, with voice work from Brian Blessed and Mark Hamill. You can watch it here: www.facebook.com/eugeniusthemusical.

The National Theatre is looking into streaming options. According to an official statement, the National Theatre is considering what they can offer audiences during the West End closure, and will share an update soon.

The Showstoppers have a live-streamed performance on Facebook. The improv comedy troupe create a new musical from scratch for each show. You can watch the performance here: www.facebook.com/theshowstoppers.

The Hampstead Theatre re-releases I And You starring Maisie Williams. From 23 to 29 March, a recording of the full production will be available to watch for free on Instagram.

The Met will offer free operas on its platform Met Opera on Demand. You can watch via their website (www.metopera.org) or Met Opera on Demand for Apple, Amazon and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV.

Andrew Wright and Jaye Elster announce a Half A Sixpence mass dance-a-thon. Baz Bamigboye announced the event via Twitter last night. The dance-a-thon will take place 2 pm on 27 March. Anyone can join by visiting Wright’s Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/andrewwrightchoreographer/.

The Old Vic offers an exclusive video recording of Endgame to any ticket holders who donate the cost of their ticket to the theatre. The production starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming closed two weeks early due to coronavirus. Watch a video message from the cast below.

The 2020 Olivier Awards have been cancelled. The awards show was set for 5 April at the Royal Albert Hall, but due to the West End shutdown and the closing of the Royal Albert Hall until further notice, The Society of London Theatre announced its cancellation Tuesday. According to an official statement, the society is working on plans to honor and announce this year’s winners, with further information to come. All tickets for the event will be refunded.

Thriller Live played its last performance on 15 March. Following the closure of all West End theatres, Thriller Live announced that 15th March was its last performance. But hey, the show still had a record-breaking 11-year run.

The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre Association announce the closing of all West End and UK Theatre venues. According to the announcement, made 16 March, theatres will remain closed until further notice. Shakespeare’s Globe and all RSC theatres, including touring productions, have also closed. Many theatres are offering refunds or exchanges to current ticket holders. See the official statement below.

The Old Vic postpones 4000 Miles. In a statement, the Old Vic announced the temporary closure of its theatre, adding that Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles will be postponed until after the theatre reopens. The production stars Eileen Atkins and Timothee Chalamet.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre postpones 101 Dalmatians until 2021. The new musical will now premiere in the 2021 season, with Kate Fleetwood remaining in the role of Cruella de Vil.

Sara Bareilles and Gavin Creel departed Waitress early due to coronavirus-related travel concerns. The two made their last bow in the roles of Jenna and Dr. Pomatter on 14 March. Replacing them in the roles will be Lucie Jones and David Hunter. Bareilles and Creel released a joint statement on Twitter:

“Given the recent international travel restrictions, we’ve made the very difficult decision, before any further measures are implemented, to return home. It was an agonizing choice as we have so loved our time here at the Adelphi diner. The warmth and generosity of the West End audiences has been unparalleled.”

The Prince of Egypt shared a special video message in response to the West End shut down. Watch it below.

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