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