More free film and theatre to watch

An abundance of quality performances in July and August

By Byron Toben

As we plunge into July and August, here is an update into free or low-cost theatre or films that can be watched online.

Stratford Festival (Ontario)

Several excellent filmed versions of Shakespeare’s plays continue at this superb company.

Running now and free until:
July 9 – King John
July 16 – The Adventures of Pericles
July 23 – Anthony and Cleopatra

Starting soon and running free until:
July 9 to 30 – Romeo and Juliet
July 16 to August 6 – The Taming of the Shrew

After they end their free streaming showing, each play can be viewed on-demand for about $9 as can all their earlier streamed shows, which include Mac Beth, Coriolanus, and King Lear.

National Theatre The Whites -

Image: courtesy of the National Theatre

National Theatre (UK)

This fine company streams a new play live each Thursday. Currently running until July 8 is The Whites by Lorraine Hansberry.

Ms. Hansberry, more famous for A Raisin in the Sun which wowed Broadway when she was only 25, wrote several other plays before her sad death at only 35. The title was apparently triggered by Jean Genet’s play, The Blacks. 

Royal Opera House (UK)

The ROH has opera and ballet shows.

What one can watch now until:
July 16 – La bohême
July 31 – Opéra italien

And beginning soon:
July 10 to 22 – Romeo and Juliet (ballet)
July 17 to 29 – Faust
July 24 to August 6 – The Sleeping Beauty (ballet)

Royal Opera House -

Image: courtesy of the Royal Opera House

The Jewish Public Library

The Library recently had a one-night free screening of a 2020 film, Resistance, about the experience of then 17-year-old Marcel Marceau as a member of a Jewish resistance group in occupied France during WW II. They saved hundreds of children, many orphans from extermination by the Nazis. Marcel later became the most famous mime of all time. Here, he is played by Jesse Isenberg, more known for his movie role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, a film about the origins of Facebook.

The Gestapo head of that region was Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon” who escaped the allies to Bolivia, where he was tracked down years later by Nazi hunter couple Serge and Beata Klarsfeld and extradited to Germany where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and died in prison. Some brutal scenes, some humorous. Highly recommended. This film can be seen on demand from various web sites for about $4.

Segal Centre

While all of the above are free or nominal cost, I cannot resist including one somewhat higher since it benefits Montreal’s Segal Centre theatre programs.

In a nutshell, Montréal-born Hershey Felder, famous for his solo shows about Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and others, is streaming his Beethoven show from his current residence in Florence, Italy. The fee per household is US $55 (CDN $77). The show is to benefit several theatres in North America, closed during the pandemic. A portion of ticket sales made through will be donated back to the Segal Centre.

Well, that’s all for now folks. If you know of other free or low-cost theatre, film or musical events on the horizon, please inform us at Westmount Magazine by commenting below.

Feature image: courtesy of the Royal Opera House

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Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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