West End Uncle Vanya Now Streaming for Free Through PBS

West End Uncle Vanya Now Streaming for Free Through PBS

Tony Award nominee Conor McPherson's (Girl from the North Country) adaptation of Uncle Vanya, direct from the West End, is now available to stream for free through PBS' Great Performances.

The play was filmed live on stage at London's Harold Pinter Theatre in August 2020 and was a co-production between the BBC and Sonia Friedman Productions (Funny Girl).

The London production was forced to close early due to the pandemic and was then filmed for release by director Ross MacGibbon (Anything Goes, 42nd Street).

Here's how to catch Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece for free throughout the month of August:


The production stars Toby Jones in the title role, Richard Armitage as Astrov, Rosalind Eleazar as Yelena, Aimee Lou Wood as Sonya, Anna Calder Marshall as Nana, Dearbhla Molloy as Mariya, Roger Allam as Serebryakov, and Peter Wight as Telegin.

Uncle Vanya begins as Sonya and her Uncle Vanya throw their lives into maintaining the crumbling family estate occasionally visited by the radical and inspiring local doctor Astrov. However, when Sonya’s father, Professor Serebryakov, suddenly returns with his restless, alluring new wife, Yelena, long-hidden truths begin to emerge.

The production previously appeared on the BBC, and is now streaming through PBS' Great Performances for the month of August. As always, we've updated our list of free streaming musicals and plays with a direct link.

Uncle Vanya is a collaboration between Sonia Friedman Productions and Angelica Films in association with BBC Arts. 


When opening in London, the production received rave reviews from critics. In her Guardian review, Arifa Akbar said: "Ian Rickson’s exquisite production is full of energy despite the play’s prevailing ennui. It does not radically reinvent or revolutionise Chekov’s 19th-century story. It returns us to the great, mournful spirit of Chekhov’s tale about unrequited love, ageing and disappointment in middle-age, while giving it a sleeker, modern beat."

Reviewing the filmed production, Time Out London gave the production 4/5 stars and said: "‘Vanya’ is the most malleable of Chekhov’s plays in terms of potential for lols, and this version finds a sweet spot between companionable chuckles and icy despair. Toby Jones is terrific in a vivid, vanity-free take on the title role. At first his sadsack estate administrator comes across as a faintly unbearable pub-bore type, and yet he won me over: he’s decent, witty and has a painfully, often humorously clear view of himself – well aware that he’s far less attractive than his lifelong friend Doctor Astrov."