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BritBox to stream theatre, opera and ballet as live venues remain shut

Classic productions from The Royal Opera and others to be streamed by the SVOD service.

David Tennant stars as Richard II
Corbis Entertainment
Published: Thursday, 16th July 2020 at 3:37 pm

BritBox is coming to the rescue of culture-starved theatre and opera lovers by announcing a new collection of high-end live performance programming from the likes of the Royal Opera, Royal Ballet and Royal Shakespeare Company.


The Centre Stage channel on BritBox will bring together the likes of former Doctor Who stars David Tennant in 2013's Richard II and Christopher Eccleston in 2018's Macbeth as it aggregates 25 RSC productions for streaming from Thursday, 23rd July.

BritBox subscribers will also be to stream Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from The Royal Ballet and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Charles Gounod’s Faust from The Royal Opera.

It's not just the Royal group which will be available on Centre Stage. The Donmar Warehouse offering includes all-female productions of The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Henry IV, while Glyndebourne Opera Festival’s The Rake’s Progress and Madame Butterfly can also be streamed.

Theatre, opera and ballet have been especially badly hit by the lockdown restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with all live venues being forced to close for the foreseeable future from 23rd March.

The BritBox deal has been created to satisfy an audience which has been particularly badly affected by the restrictions which theatres and auditoriums continue to face across the UK. Unlike some other live genres, such as pop and comedy, in which many performers have developed creative ways of continuing to perform via podcasts and live streaming, the ensemble casts required of theatre, opera and ballet make these options almost impossible.

BritBox is the joint initiative by the BBC and ITV plus Channels 4 and 5 to aggregate much of its classic archival programming. It can be accessed via all major streaming platforms, including AppleTV, Chromecast and Fire TV. BritBox subscribers in the US have an even greater range of theatrical content to choose from, with all 37 of the BBC productions of Shakespeare made available to stream from May.


Read our list of the best TV shows on BritBox, or take a look at what else is on with our TV Guide.


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