Smash hit plays starring James Corden, Tamsin Greig and more will be free to watch on YouTube

The National Theatre has announced a programme of shows are set to stream on the video-sharing platform

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Following the total shutdown of the West End and closure of theatres around the country – owing to the coronavirus crisis – at last, play lovers have some good news.

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A series of smash hit shows are set to stream on YouTube, courtesy of the National Theatre.

Through a new initiative named National Theatre At Home – designed to entertain audiences during the on-going COVID-19 lockdown – productions originally filmed for the organisation’s National Theatre Live venture will air on its YouTube channel, every Thursday at 7pm, over the next two months.

The screenings will be accompanied by special additional content – such as cast member Q&As – and best of all, audiences can watch all aspects for free.

Launching on Thursday 2nd April, plays in the current line-up include Richard Bean’s award-winning One Man Two Guvnors starring James Corden (2nd April) and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, featuring Tamsin Greig as ‘Malvolia’ airing on 23rd April.

Other shows in the schedule so far include Sally Cookson’s stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (9th April) and Bryony Lavery’s rework of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (16th April). More will be announced in due course.

Following the screenings, the plays will be available to watch on demand via the YouTube channel for seven days.

Lisa Burger, National Theatre’s executive director and joint chief executive, commented: “We have delved into the National Theatre Live archive and curated a programme that’s varied from comedy to new dramas to classics so there is something for everyone to enjoy from their own homes.

“We will be streaming each production at the same time each week in order to recreate, where possible, the communal viewing experience and we hope this will be an opportunity for people to share their enjoyment together online.”

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James Corden first starred as One Man Two Guvnors’ lead character Francis Henshall in London’s Lyttelton Theatre in May 2011. He won a Tony Award for his performance the following year.