A few days ago, whilst out on one of my daily walks, I wandered past my local train station and found myself desperate for a day out in London. Be it a trip to the shops, visiting art galleries or grabbing a bite to eat, I will never turn down the chance to take a trip to the city. However, my favourite thing to do in London without a doubt is to go and see a show. I have always loved drama and, now more than ever, I realise how lucky we are to have so many productions, musicals and plays showing so close to home. Inevitably, with the spread of Coronavirus, theatres across the country have been forced to shut their doors and the industry is facing huge impacts from this virus. Fortunately, there are ways we can support them from the comfort of our own homes.
If, like me, you have already exhausted all of the series on Netflix and watched (what feels like) every film that has ever been made, then I think it's time for you to try something new. Every Thursday, The National Theatre are uploading recorded versions of past productions to their YouTube channel. They are free to view, super entertaining and definitely a lockdown game changer! The productions that they're streaming were originally meant for viewing in cinema; both my mum and sister have been to the cinema (pre-COVID, of course) to see plays and they've both come back with rave reviews, detailing how they felt as though they were sat in a theatre watching the real deal. So, now that we have the opportunity to experience this without leaving our bedrooms, I thought I might as well give it a go.
The National Theatre are currently streaming Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire on their YouTube channel. After studying this play for my English Literature A Level, I decided to watch it and I was extremely impressed. With an all star cast, featuring The X-Files' Gillian Anderson as Blanche and The Crown's Vanessa Kirby as Stella, the performances were captivating from the get go, and the directors subtle contemporary spin on the script adds refreshing new elements without undermining Williams' original intentions. In addition to all of this, it really felt like I was sitting amongst the audience and experiencing the performances first hand. It's safe to say that 'The National Theatre At Home' gave me the dose of drama I'd been desperate to experience.
A Streetcar Named Desire is streaming here until the 28th May. After this, The National Theatre will be showing James Graham's political drama 'This House' from the 28th May - 4th June, followed by Shakespeare's tragedy 'Coriolanus' from the 4th June - 11th June. Not only are these productions a great way to stay entertained during lockdown, they also help support the performing arts industry in a time that they need it most.
Find details on how to donate to The National Theatre here.