The 6 Best Documentaries About Theatre

Oct 8, 2023 | Art, Best Of

Are you a fan of theatre? If so, you may be interested in some of the best documentaries about theatre. From behind-the-scenes stories to intimate portraits of actors and directors, these films provide an in-depth look into the art form we all know and love. From classic dramas to hilarious comedies, here are some of the most captivating documentaries about theatre. Whether you’re a fan of stage plays, musicals or even opera, these films will give you an insight into the world of theatre like never before! So grab your popcorn and settle in for a wonderful journey into the art form that has captured our imaginations for centuries.

1. Les Miserables: The History of The World’s Greatest Story

Experience the Epic Tale of Les Miserables in This Must-See Documentary. Discover the vast and timeless story of Les Misérables, from its beginnings as a beloved French novel to becoming an award-winning stage production and feature film. Journey into the rich history behind this remarkable tale and gain insight into why it has remained popular for so many generations. Learn about the characters, the music, and what truly makes this musical so captivating for audiences all over the world.


2. Discovering Hamlet (Theatre Documentary

Bring your Shakespearean experience to life with this amazing behind-the-scenes look at one of the greatest plays in history. Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi team up for a mind-blowing exploration of Hamlet, where they take on the titular role and Director, respectively. In 1988, four weeks of intense rehearsals took place at the Birmingham Rep Theatre, and now you can see the results! Patrick Stewart’s narration enhances this film as he guides us through the lead-up to opening night.


3. Working in the Theatre: Lighting Design

Light Designers are some of the most creative and skilled technicians in the theatre industry. Whether creating a magical atmosphere onstage or developing a story through lights, these professionals have mastered the art of bringing stories to life. We get an exclusive look at Tony Awards-winning Lighting Designers Natasha Katz and Howell Binkley as they take us on a journey, revealing the many facets of their profession. From the PRG: Live showroom to the stages of Hamilton: An American Musical and Aladdin – The Musical, we get a glimpse into the wonderful world of lighting design.


4. Ever-lasting art of Japanese theatre

Kabuki is an ancient art form that has endured through the centuries. It has become a symbol of Japanese culture, reflecting its tumultuous history and showcasing the beauty of this traditional theatre style. Kabuki performances feature elaborate costumes, makeup, story-telling and music – all combined to create an experience unlike any other in the world. From intricate masks to choreographed dances, Kabuki performances are an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a theatre enthusiast or just curious to learn more about the history and culture of Japan, watching a Kabuki performance is sure to be a unique and inspiring journey.


5. Backstage at the National Theatre in the hour before a play begins

As the curtains raise, a spectacle of transformation takes place backstage. Actors and actresses shift into their characters while makeup artists, costume designers and lighting technicians create the perfect illusion. This is the theatre as it’s meant to be seen: not just from the audience, but behind-the-scenes too. In these moments of anticipation, you can feel the energy of the set whirring around you. But it doesn’t last long — soon, the curtains will be closed and a new show will begin.


6. Broadway’s Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre, from “American Masters”

The Group Theatre was an ambitious project created by renowned director Lee Strasberg, esteemed producer Harold Clurman, and brilliant actress Cheryl Crawford in 1931. With a bold vision to revolutionize theatre as they knew it, this trio of trailblazers co-founded the company with original cast members Eunice Stoddard and Ruth Nelson. With their mission in mind, they combined the techniques of the Moscow Art Theatre with Clurman’s theories on real life acting. The result was a nearly unparalleled artistic success, which Joanne Woodward examines in her documentary Broadway’s Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre.

Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B