This far into shelter-in-place, it’s hard not to feel, as the eponymous character in Macbeth once bemoaned, “cabined, cribbed, confined.” And for those of us missing the thrill of live theatre, now seems like a pretty good time to get lost in Shakespeare’s timeless texts.
Thankfully, the Globe is on hand to assist. The world-renowned London theater began streaming its 2020 production of Macbeth this week, entirely free of charge on YouTube. The play, which opened Feb. 26 but was forced to close early due to COVID-related precautions, is fast-paced, intermission-free and designed specifically to appeal to a younger audience. (Take heed, parents with high schoolers at home!)
In addition, the Globe—a meticulous replica of the theater where Shakespeare presented many of his plays in the early 1600s—will grant the world free access to some of its other productions until at least the end of June. 2018’s A Winter’s Tale will stream from May 18-31; 2019’s The Merry Wives of Windsor will stream from June 1-14; and 2013’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will stream from June 15-28.
What’s more, the Globe has also launched Love in Isolation: a series of bitesize videos in which actors (and occasionally members of the public) recite some of Shakespeare’s most treasured passages. Despite the plain clothes and domestic settings, some of the readings—like the one below from The Tempest by Alfred Enoch—are surprisingly soothing.