Streaming is not a full substitute for seeing a show live, but it can sometimes be an autistic audience’s only option if accessible performances are not happening at the theatre. It is not a full solution, but it is an effective sticking plaster.
As always, it’s recommended going into any show or performance to read a synopsis and any trigger warnings. Also, because these are live broadcasts, things such as loud noises and strobe lighting might still happen in some shows. Please check individual shows before you book anything.
Theatres that offer streaming include:
National Theatre at home
London’s iconic national theatre now has a paid subscription service that updates with new plays to watch each month. These include streams which used to be cinema only, and recordings from the national theatre archive.
Young Vic Theatre: best seat in the house
A streaming service by London’s Young Vic theatre which allows you to watch a show whilst it is live. The current show is announced regularly. You pay a standard ticket for what you want to see and can choose a “seat” camera angle to watch. This very much works like being in a real theatre.
Old Vic Theatre
Old Vic is offering some free performances via YouTube on demand.
London’s iconic Shakespeare theatre offers both on demand and live watches for most of their shows. Ticket prices range from five pounds upwards.
Company currently offering collection of short plays in one video on their YouTube.
A touring company with a strong emphasis on streaming theatre, some of these are immersive experiences. Tickets start from 15 and 20 pounds.
Royal Welsh College of Music
This welsh drama school is doing online ticketed live-streams throughout this autumn, mainly focused on 19th century classic plays.
One of the Netherlands’s most prestigious theatre companies streams its seasons via ITA Live, mainly with English subtitles. Tickets are a standard price and the streams are live with no on demand option. This autumn features 4 broadcasts.
The UK TV channel periodically broadcasts theatre, ballet and opera from companies such as National Theatre, English National Opera and Royal Opera House for free.
Opera and Ballet:
Royal Opera House
London’s Royal Opera and Ballet offers live as well as on demand streams, tickets are standard pricing.
Dutch National Ballet and Opera
The company is offering a limited streaming programme; mix of ticketed and free, operas have English subtitles.
Finnish National Opera and Ballet
The company offers free streams from September to august of nearly all works, often with a free on demand option afterwards. Operas often don’t have English subtitles, however.
English National Ballet at home
Catalogue of recordings from English national ballet, subscription service.
A free video catalogue of many operas and some ballet from around the world, live-streams for free via YouTube with English subtitles on demand afterwards. Streams are available for up to 3 months afterwards.
Munich’s main opera house live-streams all its major work for free in the months from September to august each year. These streams all have English subtitles. The on demand option is a pay by show basis. From this year onwards, previous live-stream recordings can be brought as DVDs via the online shop.
UK’s main opera festival live-streams each summer for free, on demand afterwards.
I hope learning about these theatres and places has been enjoyable.
During the process of updating links to these services and streams, we noticed that, unfortunately, we had to remove some of the theatres we had planned to include because those companies have stopped their streaming options.
We can only assume that their streaming options existed as a way of combating the loss of audiences during the COVID19 lock-downs; now that audiences are allowed to return, the streaming options have stopped, which is a shame and seems like a missed opportunity.
We hope more companies will start streaming, and we’ve tried to list companies that do this often or permanently.
Written by Chloe, Published by Dominic Palfreman
We did this to live independently and to do tasks that you would do when you live independently.
I(Abbie) did it to see if I was ready to live independently and if not, what could be improved.
I (Emma) was trying to prove to my parents that I could live independently.
I (Emma) enjoyed spending time with Karl and going down to the beach. I also enjoyed having my own space and freedom.
I(Abbie) enjoyed being able to cook my own meals of what I want without my siblings disagreeing. I also liked being able to watch tv and have snacks without the rules that I have at home with my parents.
I(Emma) was surprised of how good a cleaner I was.
I (Abbie) was most surprised by sleeping by myself even when there were scary sounds.
What I learned about myself
I(Emma) learnt that I can cope with things if I must. It was hard to find things to do because everything was closed.
I(Abbie) learnt that I have little to no motivation to do anything. I do not have any structure to my days so I would like to learn how to structure my days.
Challenges Abbie faced
I found it hard to budget my money as I don’t buy my own food normally, so I immediately went to buy things that I wanted not what I needed.
Another problem I faced was little to no connection for calls or WIFI so I could not talk to my family the only way I was able to do it was use Abi’s phone.
I set the smoke alarm off on the first meal made.
I found it hard to find motivation to get out and do things.
Challenges Emma faced
On the last night when we had went to go get our pizza I had to run back and get my card because they wouldn’t except cash which was a pain but I did it anyway but I hate it when I have to go out then go back in and there was a body guard and I found them scary and they laughed at me when I forgot my bag.
On the stay there was bad internet, but it was nice to not have the phone because me and Karl were able to spend time together.
What has changed
Our view of budgeting has changed. We are both more careful of our money. We got better at looking after ourselves.
What to do next
Do it again with pets (Emma)
Be more organized and go out more (Abbie)
Stop body shaming myself (Emma)
Written by Abbie and Emma, Published by Dom Palfreman
On the first night I invited Sam and Bex for dinner in my caravan. We made them a particularly good curry for dinner - it was the first time I have ever made dinner.
On the second day, we went paddle-boarding and kayaking - trying to stand up on the paddle board from kneeling was really hard, it was a real challenge, but trying to get the wetsuit off was harder and sand got everywhere!
It makes me feel good to try new things; it is important to try new things.
It is nice to have some independence away from home.
Shame it was no longer as I had fun on the beach making sandcastles, and made quite a few in fact.
It was so much fun playing in the sand, it was lovely sand, it was way cool.
From outside of the caravan we had an amazing view and a beautiful sunset - why would anybody want to go on a holiday abroad when we have these views!
The caravan had a lovely hot shower. I got lost in a double bed and had no idea where I was.
Then I remembered where I was, and I felt much more relaxed.
We went to the swimming pool and had a crazy time getting very wet. We went on the powerful water-slides that splashed us a lot. And I got very wet as in soaked.
I will never forget the holiday as it was such a lovely experience and would love to go back again.
Written by Andrew, Published by Dom Palfreman
During 2 weeks in October lots of people who are part of The Turning Tides Project had the opportunity to stay in the beautiful Dream-a-way caravans at Sandy Bay. We were there to practise living independently, try some new things, get outdoors and active, relax, spend some time together and have a lot of fun.
Here’s how Nathan felt about the stay:
What’s lockdown been like for you?
Lock down has been hell. Being closed off from the world is like losing your senses.
With everyone at home, I find it hard to work. The house has been full of constant noise.. I can only work when it’s peaceful and I know that no one is going to interrupt me. So, I’ve been in my room all the time. It feels like it’s the only place I can be myself and do what I need to do.
What would you like your life to be like in a year’s time?
I’d like to be living on my own and working towards living with my girlfriend. My home will be a 'man cave' and a place where I can work. I’ll have to get used to the local area so that I feel confident about finding my way around.
In the house, I think I’ll be able to do most things for myself. I’ll be fine with cleaning and making food. I’ll probably need some help with managing my budget and my bills, with reading my post and making sure I don’t get scammed. I’m a bit paranoid about my money getting stolen.
What have you done whilst you’ve been in the caravan?
We’ve had so much privacy – and that has been really good.
We enjoyed shopping for the things we wanted to eat and planning our menu. Cooking on our own was a lot of fun. It’s nice to do it without other people telling us what to do. We shared the washing up. We stuck to the budget we were given. We’ve kept the caravan clean.
We used a timetable to help make sure that everything we needed to get done, got done. We crossed things off as we did them. It worked well. Next time we’ll write the timetable ourselves.
We spent time with other people and by ourselves and planned our time carefully so that we could do what we needed to do and what we wanted to do.
We managed to shop, cook and clean on our own. We took care of ourselves and each other. We hardly used our phones at all. We chilled out and enjoyed being with each other and other people.
I have just felt free.
Written by Nathan, Published by Tom Burns
It’s turning out to be a year none of us expected and that will have an impact.
Will we have worked with less people this year than we projected? Probably.
Will we have worked with fewer environments? Maybe not, they will be different but probably not fewer.
Will we have worked in new ways? Yes.
Found out new things about ourselves and each other? Yes.
And, therefore, seen people and the music they create, grow and change? Definitely.
My favourite things about Zoom Music sessions:
I would never have voted for virtual group or one to one sessions. I have always felt that quality engagement happens when people are face to face – I was wrong.
Having found ourselves in a situation where virtual was the only option, we have all learnt some things, we have all grown, and we have created some extraordinary original music.
As lock-down eases, our sessions are now real, virtual or a blend of both. A session that includes both real and virtual participation brings a new set of challenges and opportunities. It will bring new music too.
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
You may have seen that we are doing some ‘updates’ across Social Media about The Tea Rooms and The Turning Tides Project as we build up to ‘normality’ and opening again. These updates are not happening because ‘we have time’, they are things we were doing anyway and have had to wait to make a reality and introduce because we currently do not have our usual open door (due to COVID19).
We will be…
All responses to these updates have been positive, understandably, and we are looking forward to welcoming people into our Tea Rooms and sharing more updates with you.
Some of the responses have got us thinking though… Why isn’t EVERYONE doing this – small businesses, individuals, families, institutions, big businesses?
Thinking about this reminded me of a short story adapted from ‘The Star Thrower’ by Loren C. Eiseley.
It was the ‘mantra’ of somewhere used to work and printed on some of their literature and induction paperwork. I think it sums up the difference people can make rather nicely:
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference for that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
I would like to invite businesses, individuals, the community to share the changes they will be making to benefit the community. To make a more accessible, inclusive society for us to all live in and benefit from. If we were all more altruistic, we would all benefit.
It is quite a shift of culture, but if we can make that change we will see that change.
A recent meeting in my village with a new mum out walking with her brand-new baby in the sunshine, has prompted me to wonder about those I might not have considered yet during these times. Those people experiencing huge changes and managing different realities to the previously held expectations for summer 2020.
What has it been like for new parents at this time of necessary self-isolation and social distancing?
I remember so clearly the bubble of new-parenthood, the joy at retreating into the new family unit - hours spent gazing and getting to know each other - days blending into themselves and hours passing - time re-framing itself into periods of crazed activity and quiet reflection.
I also remember how much reassurance i needed. I needed my mum close by for those 4am phone calls and panic requests for a visit. I wonder how I would have coped without being able to hand over my toddler or babies (I had twins) for a moment of respite, or to share in the joy of their amazing arrival.
What would it be like for a baby to be held only by their parents for the first few months of their lives?
How will the increased anxiety of this time affect parent-baby attachment? Secure attachment develops from a parent's ability to manage stress, respond to their baby’s cues, and successfully soothe the infant. An interactive, non-verbal, emotional exchange that allows a baby to feel understood and safe. These have been such isolating and challenging times for so many of us. Feeling safe, connected, and nurtured personally has been more difficult than ever. I am left worried that the repercussions of this will ripple on for a while.
What would it be like to have deal with all these issues and have a child that was born different? Would the enforced isolation be an added strain or might it, more positively, be a way of having the necessary space to get your head round it all? Could the fact that everyone is currently isolated mean that other new parents will learn things that might change the future for a generation of new babies? Might parents be united in their experience of now?
We are all having to reflect and shape a sense of what the future might look like? Can we take this opportunity to prioritise inclusion, equal opportunity, and access? Might we become more connected through our experience of this new, different time.
Music making and singing can be a vital support in Early Years. As musicians and educators, we need to be innovators, we need to find new ways of working with integrity, and reflect honestly on what we offer. We need to respond to needs and not race to fill a gap. We need to talk to parents, young children, and settings. We need to listen.
We must keep finding ways to offer support, to notice those voices that are quiet.
Written by Rachel Thame, Published by Dom Palfreman
I am now finally part of the conversation.
For the last year or so Abi and myself have been working on making accessing Theatre a reality for people with ‘Learning Disabilities’ or ‘Autism‘ labels. One of the things we spoke about in our last blog was how almost every other art form can be accessed from your front room in an environment you can control. Other than Theatre. Until now…
There is Theatre everywhere! Due to recent developments companies are choosing to stream certain productions online. Some now have entire online programmes. You can watch anything from productions from The National Theatre to The Dutch National Opera. There is something for everyone. Opera has been streaming for a while now, and Theatres are finally catching – it is exciting.
Why is it exciting? Because it allows people access to Theatre who would not ordinarily be able to access it. Like me. I can now have an informed opinion on things. I can now say ‘I liked that actor’, ‘the production value was good’, ‘that play was not for me’. I now feel like I have the privilege to have my opinion whereas before I only had an informed opinion on the limited amount of productions that have been available to me.
It has gone from being an agenda that I no control over. Where I would be given this one production of a play I could see. Whereas now I have a huge catalogue to choose from. I am now open to so much more Theatre and am able to explore what genres I like, what styles of writing I can play around with and what is achievable in a theatrical space and as a writer that has done me a world of good. It has made me so happy and I feel more positive about Theatre than I have done in years.
So, what about the financial sustainability of Theatres? There have been several high-profile stories of Theatres having financial trouble and a lot of these Theatres have set up live streaming as a way of getting donations and contributions to the Theatre. Some of their shops are also still open for people to buy things from.
When we went into lockdown, I was worried about my world shutting down almost entirely and this time has not gone without its stresses. I was not expecting to feel anything positive at all and certainly was not expecting Theatre to become accessible for me for the first time in my life. It is like the entire new world opened up, and I really don’t want that door to shut for me again.
My question is: Once this pandemic has settled and we are able to access the Theatres again, will this new world still be available for me to access?
Do you want to join in with the conversation? Here are several links to some varied productions. Please read content warnings as you may not like some of the production themes.
Bristol Old Vic:
Schaubuhne Theater Munich
Munich Staatsoper (Munich State Opera)
Dutch National Opera
Gorki Theatre Germany
Manchester Royal Exchange
Written by Chloe and Abi, Published by Dom Palfreman
How did you feel at the start?
I was at college when I first heard about it. I listened to the news. I think I was scared, probably. We have never had this sort of thing in the UK before. We have had people getting ill and stuff, but not from this. On Radio One, they said that we now have corona virus in the UK - the school didn’t say anything until we heard more and then, I was out one evening and the staff said ‘you might have to go home because of the virus’. At that point I said I did not want to, but it started to grow bigger and bigger, this thing.
Anything you were worried about at the beginning?
Well, now, I would like to go back and finish the school year. Then I was worried about how I was going to get back home to Devon, to mum. I was not sure what I was going to do.
What has changed?
Every Thursday evening, we were going to the pub; every Monday we would hang out in the house, Tuesday was games night, Wednesday we would go swimming. Every weekend we were always going out, Sunday or Saturday, we would go out if the weather were nice and if we had enough staff to take us out. We went to a lot of places went on a bus to the cinema to see a lot of films; the pub one weekend; one we went to that bird place; the sea life centre. And I would always go and see some live music at the O2 academy in Birmingham. I had tickets to go and see Dua Lipa and Alicia Keys. It was Example, Alicia Keys, Dua Lipa and there was another one…. Foals. I was going to see Foals on the 9th May, Alicia Keys in June. I saw Example in February before the virus. I had three concerts to go to. Dua Lipa was in July, I think, but they have rescheduled it for next year, which was good, so I can go and see them then.
I think what was confusing for me was how I would get home and see family. It was a bit scary that really. I do not know how to explain. Bit scary that I would not be able to get back. I was supposed to get back on the 3rd of April because that’s when Easter was. We were going to break up on April 3rd for Easter, but we broke up in March, earlier, because of the virus. I was going to go back to Devon to see mum. I was going to have two weeks off. I was going to get on the train on the 18th back up to college and start on the 19th. That is how it was going to plan out until this virus kicked off.
It was all a bit confusing for me and the staff at college, to be fair. Dominic ended up coming to get me. I did not go back to my original home - I went back to a different family Sally and Jeff’s. I like it, it is good, it is nice being here. It is just different.
When I am at home, I always go to visit friends from my old college - go to visit and stay with them, or just for the day. Before this kicked off, I was planning on going to see my mum and my friends from West of England college - maybe stay with them, but it is all slightly different now.
I got loads of phone calls from my brother. A soon as I heard about everything closing: the schools, the pubs, the restaurant, the hotels and that, we did not want to carry on. We wanted to close everything down to stay safe. My dad and brother came to see me before the college closed and things; it is lucky they did. I do not know how I ended up with Sally and Jeff - it is a bit confusing. I was in the kitchen having a drink with Claire, who is the assistant at college. I was going to home on that day, back to mum’s but everything changed. My mum was away doing a yoga class that day, but it got called off early because of the virus. I did not go back to mum’s because she is classed as a vulnerable person and the virus might get her. Staying with Sally and Jeff was arraigned by social services - I first met them when I arrived at their house.
My routine has changed - I used to get up, have a shower, have breakfast, go to college, then come back around 4 o’clock, and hang out in the living room for a bit and listen to The Chase, then bed for 11. I do not have much of a routine currently.
I am still doing schoolwork; it is pretty much the same, but I prefer doing it in the room, like my braille with Manisha. It makes it harder because she cannot see what I am doing, and it is harder for her to tell me if it is wrong or right.
I have been keeping in touch with people via phone messages pretty regularly. When I first came here, I spoke to my grandma pretty much every night, and my mum pretty much every night. I had my birthday here - last year I was at college and the year before that I was at home for my birthday, so that is different is not it. My mum and brother managed to come out and we met up outside, which was nice.
What are you feeling uncertain about?
I am a bit uncertain about how to get back to college if it does open again. I have not heard if they are going to open again for definite, though they said maybe June the 8th. I do not have a lot of things with me here because I am used to getting the train back to college, so I did not want to take it all back.
What do you think the world will be like after?
I do not know. I cannot really think - I do not know how it will be different. This has never happened before; it is the first time that this virus has come to us in the UK, so I do not know what is going to happen when this has all blown over. I have no idea. I do not think it will be the same - the pubs will not be open when this is all over and a lot of them will go out of business. They discussed yesterday about opening the parks in London. I think it will take a long time for everything to be reopened again. And a lot of
The rules can be quite annoying. I do not think they are going to change them. The social distancing is frustrating because you cannot go and visit people and sitting with them and going for a coffee. I think it is going to go on forever. I think the world may go back to ‘normal’, but I do not think the distancing will go away. It could be a government thing - it is Boris Johnson saying things that we need to keep an eye on. Once everything is back to normal, you will be able to hug people and sit next to them and have a coffee with them; I enjoy that.
What are you looking forward to?
I will be so happy when they say you can come out of isolation and go back to college. That first call I will be so happy. The first call about that will be so cool. I am looking forward to going back out there, like, getting back to college, seeing mum, going out to pubs and restaurants.
Any other messages?
Just keep safe… just keep safe really.
Written by Otis and Roger Hill, Published by Dom Palfreman
Are you being home schooled for the first time? Are you unable to see your friends?
Are you finding new ways to communicate?
I had a FaceTime with Jane and Ella recently where we discussed some of the above and also their amazing new song!
Here is some things from Ella’s perspective and some top tips!
Ella, why are you home schooled?
School didn’t treat me with respect, they didn’t treat me right.
Do you have any top tips for people that have never been home schooled before?
- Don’t wear a uniform
- Work first play later
What are you most looking forward to after coming out of isolation?
- Trying some new things
- Seeing some friends
- Having some space back!
You and Jane have written a beautiful song together, what is it called?
What is your song about?
The things we’re both scared to do and the people we love are part of what helps us to try.
What kind of things are you scared of?
- The dark
- Sometimes going outside
- Sometimes meeting people
- Being somewhere new
How do friends make that better?
- Being with someone you trust
- Being with someone who respects you and the things you are scared of.
You & Jane recently wrote a post about friendship and what it means to be a friend, what was that list?
(7) Gives the best hugs
(12) In some ways be like Connie
Here is Ella's and Jane's song ‘Let Go’. I’m sure you will agree that it is beautiful: