Take a visit to the theatre!

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from stage to screen. . . Mark Quartley as Ariel and Simon Russell Beale as Prospero in The Tempest; David Tennant in Richard II; and Paapa Essiedu in Hamlet. Photos: RSC/Marquee

Gill Sutherland catches up on some world-class stage performances.

I’ve just been to Glyndbourne to see Hamlet, took a quick gander at La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, and am now heading home to Stratford-upon-Avon to be warned about the ides of March with a good old production Julius Caesar.

Yes, we’re still in lockdown, and no I haven’t gone full crazy… well not yet anyway.

You see after the theatres closed last week, I came across Marquee TV – an online streaming service where you can watch the best live stage entertainment from the comfort of your own squishy sofa.

Marquee TV is a UK company that launched in 2018, and works collaboratively with the aforementioned arts venues, and many more.

The network features thousands of hours of content, including exclusive titles, behind-the-scenes content, early releases, director’s cuts and shorts, and can be watched on your computer, smartphone, iPad, etc.

Do you remember when you couldn’t get a ticket to see David Tennant as Richard II at the RSC for love nor money? Well no worries, you can see it here as many times as you like. Other highlights from the RSC include Alex Hassell in Henry V; Paapa Essiedu in Hamlet; Simon Russell Beale as Prospero in The Tempest; Love’s Labours Lost/Won from Christmas 2014; Henry IV Parts I and II with a sublime Antony Sher as Falstaff, and loads more. I’m particularly happy to see that the Donmar’s groundbreaking Shakespeare Trilogy directed by Phyllida Lloyd, which sees Julius Caesar and Henry IV, The Tempest set in a women’s prison and an all-female cast led by Harriet Walter, is available – I kept meaning to traipse to London to see the productions but somehow missed the boat.

There’s plenty to keep ballet fans enthralled, including inspired work by Northern Ballet, the Royal Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet. The latter’s Sleeping Beauty is a must-see; it stars Svetlana Zakharova who is simply stunning as Aurora. Opera fans can watch all the great works – all the top European opera houses are represent – including the whole of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Royal Opera House should you need to fill 15 hours (and let’s face it, nowadays who doesn’t?).

Simon Walker, founder and CEO of Marquee TV, the media tech entrepreneur also behind the BBC’s iPlayer, reckons: “Watching performances on-demand is a distinct experience from heading to the theatre and streaming is opening up cultural content to a new arts-curious generation.”

I’ve got to agree with Simon. Watching at home may miss some of the glamour of a (often expensive) night out at the theatre or opera house, but with a glass of plonk and a bag of popcorn to hand, and my command performance on the remote, isolated viewing of these grand productions has its distinct advantages.

When and where: Marquee TV is available on iOS and Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Smart TVs and additional platforms. There is currently an offer for a 30-day free trial. Subscription is £69.99 for a year or £8.99 a month. Find out more at www.marquee.tv