Your guide to streaming Shakespeare in April

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth with the bloody daggers
Folger Theatre and Two River Theatre’s “Macbeth,” with Ian Merrill Peakes and Kate Eastwood Norris, is streaming fro free through July 1. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

While audiences are staying home, theaters around the world are making films of their performances available online, along with monologues, poems, virtual workshops, and other excellent educational resources. So, if you’re looking for something new to watch, tune in and pay your favorite theater a visit from afar. (If you can, consider making a donation. It’s a great way to support a theater company that may be struggling without its regular ticket sales).

Below, you’ll find a list of streaming shows and other online resources from theaters, as well as a look at Shakespearean films on streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, HBO Go, and Kanopy.

What are you watching? Is there something we missed? Are you streaming outside the US? Give us your recommendations in the comments.

From your favorite theaters

Folger Theatre and Two River Theatre
Watch our 2008 co-production of Macbeth on YouTube. Co-conceived and directed by Teller, of Penn and Teller, and Aaron Posner, it’s a bloody magical performance. (Free through July 1.)

Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Listen to monologues and join virtual theater classes for kids and adults.

American Shakespeare Center
Watch full productions on the theater’s BlkFrs TV. Pay $10 for a virtual ticket to support the ASC and a relief fund for the company’s employees. The ASC’s Actors’ Renaissance Season—featuring Much Ado About Nothing, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and A King and No King—is online through April 19. Never heard of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher’s A King and No King? Well, let us tell you, it is bonkers. The theater’s 90-minute production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is also available now, and performances of Imogen and The Grapes of Wrath are coming soon.

Atlanta Shakespeare Company
Check out great performances and educational resources, including Midsummer, Junior! for the company’s youngest audience members and a 60 minute adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. 

Brooklyn Academy of Music
Their Love BAM initiative brings film screenings and other programs straight to your computer.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Check out daily sonnets, video montages, activities for kids, and more from our partners in the Windy City.

aran Tahir, left, as Claudius, and Mark Torres as Polonius in "Hamlet 360: Thy Father's Spirit," Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Google. Photo by Matthew Niederhauser.
Watch “Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit,” from Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Google. Photo: Matthew Niederhauser.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Now’s a great time to watch Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spiritan immersive virtual reality production of Hamlet that puts you in the ghostly shoes of Hamlet’s late father. Strap on your VR headset, or just explore the performance on YouTube. Meanwhile, follow Commonwealth Shakes on social media to watch actors perform favorite monologues from past productions in their “Shakespeare on the Common: Encores” series.

⇒ Related: Listen to our interview with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company director Steve Maler and cinematographer Matthew Niederhauser about Hamlet 360.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
Watch monologues, songs, and cooking classes from some friends of the festival.

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“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” from the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, is now on Facebook. Photo: Rick Malkin.

Nashville Shakespeare Festival
Watch a film of the festival’s 2018 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on their Facebook page.

The Old Globe
Check out a special social-distancing edition of Erna Vinci Ferbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein’s “Thinking Shakespeare Live!” all about Shakespeare’s sonnets, plus regular playwriting workshops, behind-the-scenes looks at the process of making theater, and an online Shakespeare reading group.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
Visit the festival’s Facebook page to find their touring company’s performance of Cymbeline, readings from Albert Camus’s The Plague, and more.

National Theatre
Britain’s National Theatre is streaming a performance film every Thursday at 7 pm GDT. Productions are available for free on YouTube for seven days. This week, watch Jane Eyre. Twelfth Night hits YouTube on Thursday, April 23, to coincide with the Bard’s birthday.

The Public Theater
Watch their 2019 Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing for free, from THIRTEEN Public Media (also, stream Broadway productions of Red and Present Laughter). You can also join their Brave New Shakespeare Challenge, watch playwright Susan Lori-Parks at work, and more.

⇒ Related: Listen to our interview with Tony-winner Kenny Leon about directing Shakespeare in the Park’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Royal Shakespeare Company
Seventeen performances from the august company are available on Marquee TV, from Hamlet with Paapa Essiedu to Richard II with David Tennant. Watch them with a special 30-day free trial.

Shakespeare’s Globe
Every other Monday, the Globe will bring one of its past productions to YouTube for free. Watch a live YouTube premiere, then stream the film for the next two weeks. Through April 19, watch Hamlet (2018). Tune in Monday, April 20 at 7 pm GDT for Romeo and Juliet. Plus, rent or purchase films of Globe performances with GlobePlayer, their video-on-demand platform.

The Show Must Go Online
Wednesdays at 7 pm GDT/2 pm EDT, a cast of actors from around the world gather to perform a live reading one of Shakespeare’s plays on YouTube. Tune in next Wednesday, April 15 for Henry VI, Part 3.

Amazon

Julius Caesar (2012)

King Lear (2018)

Kiss Me, Kate (1958)
A black-and-white, made-for-TV version of the musical with Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison reprising their Broadway roles and Fred and Lilli.

Patrick Stewart, as Macbeth, stares at his blood-covered hand.
Patrick Stewart in “Macbeth,” 2010. Streaming now on Amazon Prime and Kanopy.

Macbeth (2010)

Macbeth (2015)

Maqbool (2004)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1981)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2018)

Othello (2001)
A modern language adaptation for Britain’s ITV, with former-Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston as “Ben Jago” and Eamonn Walker as “John Othello.”

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1991)

Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 3 (2018)

Richard II (2016)

The Taming of the Shrew (1929)

The Taming of the Shrew (1980)

Twelfth Night (1970)

Twelfth Night (2018)

The Lion King
“The Lion King,” 1994.

Disney+

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

The Lion King (1994, 2019)

HBO Go

As You Like It (2007)

The Merchant of Venice (2004)

Hulu

10 Things I Hate About You (2009)
The ABC Family TV show, not the movie.

As You Like It (2007)
Available with Hulu’s HBO Add On.

The Merchant of Venice (2004)
Available with Hulu’s HBO Add On.

Pinky and the Brain, Season 3, episode 25: “The Megalomaniacal Adventures of Brainie the Poo”/ “The Melancholy Brain” (1998)

Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Available with Hulu’s STARZ Add On.

The Twilight Zone, Season 4, episode 18: “The Bard” (1963)

"The Dark History of a Wicked King." Life magazine article about Laurence Olivier in Richard III. Clipping in a scrapbook, circa 1956. Folger Shakespeare Library.
“The Dark History of a Wicked King.” Life magazine. Clipping in a scrapbook, circa 1956. Folger Shakespeare Library.

Kanopy

Never heard of Kanopy? It’s a streaming platform that may be available to you with through your local library or university.

Hamlet (1980)
The 1980 BBC TV version of Sir Derek Jacobi’s famous production

Hamlet (2012)
The Wooster Group’s famous production remixes and re-purposes fragmentary footage from the 1964 “Rehearsal Clothes” Broadway production starring Richard Burton.

Hamlet (2015)
With Maxine Peake.

Timothée Chalamet in "The King," from Netflix.
Timothée Chalamet in “The King,” from Netflix.

Macbeth (2010)

Richard III (1955)
Directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier

Shakespeare Behind Bars (2005)

Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 1 (2013)

Shakespeare Wallah (1966)

Netflix

Haider (2014)

The King (2019)


Alabama Shakespeare Festival, American Shakespeare Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe, and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis are members for the Folger’s Shakespeare Theater Partnership Program

2 Comments


  • Thanks for the great list! One important addition: the Stratford Festival has just announced that on April 23 it will begin free online screenings of the 12 productions it’s recorded in recent years. Details to follow at stratfordfestival.ca.


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