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Coronavirus, covid-19, illness, death, social distancing, the closure of churches, businesses, parks and almost everything else. Concerts, theatres, operas and all other cultural events shut down. You can’t go for walk without making sure you stay six feet away from others on the street. A trip to the mall? Forget it.

How bad can it get?

It’s bad enough, thank you. But there are cultural outlets that should make you forget the incessant coronavirus news coming from CBC News and CNN.


The Stratford Festival is presenting a free film festival to entertain you during this period of social isolation. They tell us that they are offering free streaming of 12 of their most successful Shakespeare productions. They started on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, with King Lear, directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and starring Colm Feore.

Each film will be available for free for three weeks on our website. This is a great opportunity to share your favourite productions with your favourite people, so please let your friends and family know, they exhort us.

Coriolanus was shown on April 30 and will be available until May 21, 2020. This is the incredible Robert Lepage production with Andre Sills as Coriolanus and Graham Abbey as Aufidius. It is mind blowing.

Macbeth is on and will be available until May 28, 2020. It is directed by Antoni Cimolino with Ian Lake as Macbeth and Sarah Afful as Lady Macbeth. Bloody good.

The Tempest starts on May 14 and will be available until June 14. It stars the one and only Martha Henry as Prospero with an all-star cast, as they say, directed by Cimolino.

There is more coming up and Stratford Festival’s website has all the information.

You want to see plays from England’s National Theatre? Here is what one source of information tells us:

How can I watch the National Theatre shows from home?

Transmissions from England have been going on for a while but there are a few shows left for us to see.

Barber Shop Chronicles described as “a never-before-seen archive recording of Inua Ellams’ smash-hit play, about the places where banter is barbed, and the truth is telling” will be streamed from May 14 May until 21 May.

Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire with Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois in the Young Vic production will be streamed on May 21 and will be available until May 28.

This House by James Graham refers to the British House of Commons and it is funny and dramatic. It will stream from May 28 until June 4.

If you saw Robert Lepage’s production of Coriolanus for the Stratford Festival, you should see Coriolanus done at Donmar Warehouse in London with Tom Hiddleston in the title role of Shakespeare’s bloody revenge tragedy. It will stream from June 4 until June 11.

The National Theatre’s website is this:


There is an incredible variety of operas available on YouTube but there is a wild variation in quality and many do not come with subtitles making it hard to enjoy them. But New York’s Metropolitan Opera has stepped up with free screenings from its huge selection of operas.

Here is the schedule for the current week:

Thursday, May 14: Britten’s Peter Grimes. It was originally transmitted live on March 15, 2008

Friday, May 15: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. It was originally Transmitted live on November 13, 1982

Saturday, May 16: Verdi’s Rigoletto. This was originally transmitted live on February 16, 2013

Sunday, May 17: Verdi’s Nabucco. This is from the original production of the live transmission of January 7, 2017

Go to the Met’s website which has a wealth of videos and information about opera.

I hope this gives you a start in seeing things that are not normally available and are now free.

May 15, 2020

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