There are so many things that have changed over the past year, and live entertainment is one of them. I’ve been delighted to see how quickly theatres, comedians and actors responded to the situation and were able to adapt their offering to allow fans to enjoy some much-needed entertainment at home.
I certainly made the most of all the online performances and I hope to continue doing so for many years to come. In fact, join me in emailing your local venues to request that they continue live streaming their shows! But if, like me, you want some ideas for nights out (and nights in) here are some things you can enjoy this autumn…
If you love musicals as much as I do, you’ll be itching to get back into the theatres to see your favourite shows. I’ve always thought that it’s a thrifty option to watch West End musicals when they tour the country. That way, you get to see a West End show in a location nearby to you, rather than having to factor in travel costs and maybe even hotel stays. I’ve watched Rock of Ages, Flashdance, Dirty Dancing, Calendar Girls and We Will Rock You in theatres in East Anglia and you still get to enjoy the same quality production and super-star performers as you would in the London theatres.
That said, there’s still nothing more magical than watching a West End musical in the West End. It makes it more of special occasion when you get to travel to capital, enjoy a pre-show meal and even do some sightseeing while you’re there. I’ve enjoyed nights out in London watching Grease, Let it Be and Mamma Mia and each time has felt so special. But you don’t have to spend a small fortune if you decide to watch a show in the West End. You can find cheap theatre tickets in London online and, helpfully, you can even see ‘seat view’ photos taken by other theatre-goers so that you can get a good idea of where you’ll be sitting rather than turning up and discovering that you’ve got a restricted view behind a pillar!
If you’re still planning to stay at home as much as possible this autumn, there’s no need to give up your musical fix. You can watch songs from the musicals on The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel, where they post multiple videos each week. Some theatres are still offering livestream versions of their most popular shows, so always check with your local theatre too – for example, Oliver Twist: At Home is available via Leeds Playhouse. Also, you can always watch musicals on Netflix, with films such as Annie, Funny Girl and Shrek the Musical available at the moment. And don’t forget musicals week on Strictly Come Dancing – I love that episode each year!
One of the things I’ve found it hard to be without over the past year is live comedy. So, I’m eternally thankful to the comedians who took to the internet to perform and kept us laughing over the past 18 months. I spent many hours watching live steam comedy at The Covid Arms comedy club and Scott Bennet hosted Stand Up From The Shed each week – what a legend!
Now that theatres are open and comedians can get back on stage, real-life comedy can return, with many comedy performers resuming their postponed tours from 2020. For those of us who aren’t ready to go to theatres to see their favourite acts, many comedy clubs have realised how important it is to continue to live-stream their shows and are providing both in-person and online tickets. For example, you can visit the award-winning comedy club Frog & Bucket in person in Manchester OR you can buy a live-stream ticket to watch their Barrel of Laughs show live on Friday and Saturday nights.
Plus, you can watch a range of live shows through Next Up streaming (like Netflix for live and recorded comedy) – where I’ll be watching the Suspiciously Cheap show this month. It’s great that they’ve made comedy accessible online to those who can’t make it to the venue and it compliments the in-person performance perfectly – I expect that having a live audience at the theatre is probably really enjoyable for the comedians too!
One of the things I loved to do pre-pandemic was to go out dancing. I don’t mean nightclubbing (not anymore!), I mean going to tea dances and being whisked around the dancefloor doing a foxtrot or a spot of lindy hop. Considering the close contact and hand-touching that goes on during a dance, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to go out dancing anytime soon BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t dance at home.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of dance sessions being held online so I can learn to dance with Oti Mabuse Dance Studio’s adult classes and I can continue to join in with the free Daily Dancing sessions on Mondays and Fridays at 10am via Zoom. And, of course, I’ll be watching Strictly every Saturday night on the BBC to get my fix of ballgowns and glitter.
Let me know what kinds of autumn entertainment you’ve got planned, I’d love to hear your ideas for nights out and evenings in. I’m especially keen to discover more online live events as it means I can watch shows from all around the UK (and the world) that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to travel to in order to attend in person. Leave me a commend below and share your discoveries!
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