Hampstead Theatre draws on archive to stream plays for free

Live recordings of three past productions at Hampstead Theatre in London are being released over the coming weeks, available to watch for free.

Wild Hampstead Theatre
Wild at Hampstead Theatre. Photo: Stephen Cumminskey

The first, Mike Bartlett’s Wild from 2016, has gone live today (30 March) and will be available on-demand until Sunday 5 April at 10pm (UK time). Presented by Hampstead Theatre in partnership with The Guardian, it can be watched online here.

Directed by James Macdonald, this darkly comic play explores the unexpected, bewildering and life-changing consequences of challenging the status quo at a global level, inspired by the case of Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who copied and leaked classified information from the US National Security Agency in 2013.

It stars Jack Farthing, Caoilfhionn Dunne and John Mackay, with design by Miriam Buether, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Christopher Shutt.

The second play as part of Hampstead Theatre At Home with The Guardian will be Beth Steel’s Wonderland from 2014, available to watch from 10am on Monday 6 April until 10pm on Sunday 12 April.

Wonderland Hampstead Theatre
Wonderland at Hampstead Theatre

Directed by the theatre’s previous artistic director, Edward Hall, this epic and witty drama takes a look at the clashing ideologies during the UK’s Miners’ Strike of 1984–85 and presents the full sweep of the turbulent events that transformed the country.

The cast featured Nigel Betts, Paul Brennen, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Gunnar Cauthery, Paul Cawley, Michael Cochrane, Ben-Ryan Davies, Andrew Havill, David Moorst, Paul Rattray, Andrew Readman and Simon Slater. It was designed by Ashley Martin Davis with lighting by Peter Mumford, choreography by Scott Ambler, sound by Matt McKenzie and music by Simon Slater.

Drawing the Line
Drawing The Line. Photo: Catherine Ashmore

The third production will be Howard Brenton’s Drawing the Line from 2013, available from 10am on Monday 13 April until 10pm on Sunday 19 April. Directed by the late Howard Davies, the play tells the story of the chaotic partitioning of India in 1947 while celebrating the strength of humanity.

It had a large ensemble comprising David Annen, Paul Bazely, Tom Beard, Lucy Black, Silas Carson, Abigail Cruttenden, Neil D’Souza, Tanveer Ghani, Andrew Havill, Salma Hoque, Rez Kempton, John Mackay, Simon Nagra, Nikesh Patel, Brendan Patricks, Shalini Peiris and Peter Singh. It was designed by Tim Hatley, with costumes by Jack Galloway, lighting by Rick Fisher, music by Nicki Wells and sound by Mike Walker.

At the time, all three productions were originally live-streamed from Hampstead Theatre and were available to watch on theguardian.com followed by an on-demand service for 72 hours. They will now all be streamed via hampsteadtheatre.com.

Until yesterday, Hampstead Theatre was streaming its 2018 hit, Lauren Gunderson’s play I and You, starring Maisie Williams and Zach Wyatt, on Instagram’s mobile video platform IGTV.

The theatre’s artistic director, Roxana Silbert, said: “I hope these productions offer audiences entertainment, connection and nourishment in a time of uncertainty and isolation. These three plays all shine a light on turbulent points in our international history which, along with acknowledging the worst of human behaviour, celebrates the ingenuity, humour, compassion and resilience of the best.

“Thank you to the many artists involved for allowing us to create this series so quickly and to The Guardian for being our wonderful streaming partner again, helping us reach as many people as possible.”

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