In March, theaters were beginning to cancel ongoing and upcoming productions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Glasgow-based actor Robert Myles had just lost a gig that would have taken him through April. He’d been chatting with his wife about what to do, and one night, he tweeted:
"In response to #Covid_19, I'm going to set up an online #Shakespeare play-reading group via Zoom or similar. Once a week, evenings UK-time so US people can join during the day as well. We have to do what we can to stay connected and creative over this time. Anyone interested?"
His tweet blew up, and that play-reading group became The Show Must Go Online. The hugely successful series, available for free on YouTube, is working through all of Shakespeare’s plays in the order in which they are believed to have been written. The Show Must Go Online creatively uses the everyday facts of life in a pandemic—living rooms, laptops, and, of course, Zoom—to bring actors from around the world together in innovative performances of Shakespeare’s plays.
We talked with Myles about The Show Must Go Online’s incredible success, the process of creating virtual theater, and the community his project has created. He is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.
New Show Must Go Online productions happen every Wednesday at 7 pm BST/2 pm EDT. To find out more, contribute, and watch all of their past performances, visit robmyles.co.uk/theshowmustgoonline/.
From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published October 27, 2020. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, ““Kindly to Judge Our Play,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. We had technical help from Andrew Feliciano and Paul Luke at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California.