Five of the best plays to watch online in the coming days

1 A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

National Theatre/Young Vic, streaming May 21 to 28

Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, All About Eve, The Fall, Sex Education) plays Blanche DuBois with Ben Foster (Lone Survivor, Kill Your Darlings) as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby (Julie, The Crown, Mission Impossible) as Stella. As Blanche’s fragile world crumbles, she turns to her sister Stella for solace - but her downward spiral brings her face to face with the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski. This critically acclaimed production was filmed live on stage at the Young Vic in 2014 by National Theatre Live.

Where to watch: The National Theatre Live channel on YouTube

Gillian Anderson in A Streecar Named Desire. Picture: Johan Persson

2 THE SEAGULL

Auckland Theatre Company, streaming until May 29

Chekhov’s The Seagull is presented in this new online version by Eli Kent and Eleanor Bishop, directed by Eleanor Bishop, bringing a landmark piece of theatre to the 21st century. Presented in 30 minute instalments over four weeks, the production is rehearsed, performed and broadcast all in the online space. The actors will have just one week per episode to read the script, learn their lines and rehearse, ready to broadcast on Friday of that week.  Chekhov’s characters are reimagined with a Kiwi twist and congregate over Zoom. In a direct commentary of our world in lockdown, the characters are still searching for meaning in their lives while battling love, jealousy, dissatisfaction, dreams, hopes and plans - not to mention malfunctioning video calls. The weekly screenings began on May 8 but can be watched up to a week after being premiered.

Where to watch: The Auckland Theatre Company channel on YouTube

3 THE WINTER’S TALE

Shakespeare’s Globe, streaming until May 31

Shakespeare’s great play of the irrational and inexplicable, illustrating how uncontrollable emotions can range across gender, country, class and age. Its universe is full of monsters, gods and natural disasters with a colossal sweep that takes audiences from the stifling atmosphere of the Sicilian court to the unbuttoned joy of a Bohemian festival.

Where to watch: The Shakespeare’s Globe channel on YouTube

4 THE ENCOUNTER

Complicite, streaming until May 22

In 1969 Loren McIntyre, a photographer, found himself lost among the people of the remote Javari Valley in Brazil. It was an encounter that was to change his life, bringing the limits of human consciousness into startling focus. Simon McBurney traces McIntyre’s journey into the depths of the Amazon rainforest, incorporating innovative technology into his solo performance to build a shifting world of sound.

Where to watch: complicite.org 

5 WISE CHILDREN

Streaming now, available until June

Director Emma Rice brings her unique, musical and exuberantly impish vision to Angela Carter’s great last novel, in an acclaimed production. A big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and pain, Wise Children is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect showgirls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, mischief and mistaken identity - and butterflies galore.

Where to watch: iPlayer website or app