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A performance from Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

A performance from Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.

Sky Arts free-to-view channel reveals initial programming in the lead up to its premiere

Published 25 August 2020

Sky Arts free-to-view TV channel is set to premiere on 17 September and will be available on Freeview channel 11 for UK viewers and Freesat channel 147.

The initial programming for the series will include Tim Marlow’s Sky Arts Late, a monthly programme that will include debates, performances and more from the arts sector and the first of which will be inspired by the nation’s ongoing recovery from Covid-19.

Audiences will also have the opportunity to catch the English National Opera’s 90-minute Drive & Live performances of La bohème at Alexandra Palace, along with the co-production of No Masks with Theatre Royal Stratford East, starring Russell Tovey. 

Harold Pinter fans will be pleased to learn that Danny Dyer, who has performed in a variety of Harold Pinter plays, will look back on the iconic playwright’s work in an original piece 12 years on from the famous playwright’s death.

A new series named Urban Myths will be looking at some of the most iconic artists of the last century including Jimi Hendrix (played by rising star Zach Wyatt), Joan Rivers (Ryan) and Barbra Streisand (Barden).

November will see a series of interviews hosted by Melvyn Bragg with featured guests including Bernardine Evaristo, Benjamin Zephaniah, Gillian Anderson and Simon Armitage. Additionally, Jude Law will appear in Punchdrunk’s immersive experience spectacular The Third Day.

Dance fans can enjoy Balletboyz’s double bill Them/Us as well as Matthew Bourne’s Olivier Award-winning take on Swan Lake.

Director Philip Edgar-Jones said: “There’s never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity. That’s why we’re throwing open the doors to make Sky Arts free for everyone with our renewed focus and mission to increase accessibility and participation across the arts.”


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We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.