Productions including George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s musical version of The Wind in the Willows and The Habit of Art starring Matthew Kelly are to be made available online, as theatre companies find ways to keep performances alive while venues close.
Producer Jamie Hendry is making the Stiles and Drewe musical version of The Wind in the Willows available for free as a digital production, via www.willowsmusical.com.
The film was recorded live at the London Palladium and stars Rufus Hound.
“We’re facing huge challenges ahead, but at this time of uncertainty this is a small contribution we can make to continue bringing theatre to audiences,” he said.
Although the stream is free, Hendry is asking viewers to donate what they can to Acting for Others to “support those in our industry at times of need”.
He added that he would shortly be releasing activity packs for use with the film for families at home.
Meanwhile, The Habit of Art, which was due to open at Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne on March 18, will now be filmed.
Producer the Original Theatre Company said it wanted it to be filmed, with the aim of making it available to audiences to download.
Artistic director Alastair Whatley said: “We are so sad that our much-loved production of The Habit of Art is being forced off the road in these exceptional circumstances.
“We all have some testing times ahead and I hope that this filmed recording will provide our audiences now at home with some welcome inspiration, entertainment and remind us all of the vital importance of art and all those who make it.”
Meanwhile, the King’s Head Theatre in Islington is offering a 30-minute free “window into the theatre, accessible to everybody”. It began this with a Q&A with artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, and will offer something different every day of the week, including a book club on Fridays where people can read a play text together.
Performer Teddy Lamb has also begun to offer their production of Since U Been Gone on Youtube.
We’ve made the twitter.com/hashtag/SinceUBeenGone?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”">#SinceUBeenGone Edinburgh archive video live for a week: t.co/utd3H0LCY3”">t.co/utd3H0LCY3. Enjoy 5* trans theatre from the comfort of your own home.
— Teddy Lamb (@TheTeddyLamb) twitter.com/TheTeddyLamb/status/1239891022194376705?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”">March 17, 2020
Other theatre organisations are finding creative ways to create work online.
David Lloyd, co-founder of Next Generation Youth Theatre in Luton, told The Stage: “[On March 17] we met on the Zoom platform with our youth theatre company and categorically the feeling, despite lots of inevitable anxiety, was one of hope and reassurance that we will find a way to connect, share, offload and continue to create.
“We are currently inviting freelancers and anyone from within the sector to get in touch with us about self-filming talks, skills-based workshops and tutorials; we are open to ideas.
“Our intention would then be to share online with our young people and keep their learning and creative development going at a time when they might need it most.”
London’s Young Vic has also announced the next event in its YV:IDemystify series. What’s Blocking You? will be live-streamed from the Young Vic on March 18, 4pm–6pm, in partnership with ArtsMinds.