The theatres, cinemas, exhibitions and museums might be closed, but we can still connect to culture during the pandemic. Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can live stream some of the best entertainment directly into your home. In fact, culturally things have been gearing up on screens since venues have been forced to close, allowing us to enjoy enriching connection through the joy of performance, art and literature.
From the stage
There’s a tradition in the theatre that whenever a theatre is empty, a single light is left on to signify that they will return. Until the time that it is safe to do so, the theatres are finding ways to bring the joy of performance to our homes.
The Shows Must Go On
Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing a show a week from his back catalogue on YouTube while London’s theatres are closed. So far, he has released Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Phantom of the Opera. Upon release, the show will be available to watch for 24 hours. While it is free to watch, the channel is encouraging viewers to donate to a number of charities to support theatres: Acting for Others, Broadway Cares and Actors Benevolent Fund.
Leave a light on
Lambert Jackson Productions and the Theatre Café have launched a series of intimate, piano vocal concerts streamed live from The Theatre Café. The line-up features some of the best performers from the younger generation of West End stars and emerging Musical Theatre including, Aimie Atkinson, Evelyn Hoskins, David Hunter, Cassidy Janson, Lucie Jones and Layton Williams. Each concert will cost £7.50 to watch, but as they point out, this is significantly less than a ticket to a show, with the money being split between the production company, Theatre Café and artist.
Enjoy world class theatre with a different play online each week. Past streams include One Man, Two Guvnorswith James Cordon, Jane Eyre and Twelfth Night featuring Tamsin Greig.
The Royal Opera House
Full-length productions, musical masterclasses and behind the scenes footage can be viewed as part of the #OurHousetoYourHouse series. You can view for free at any time and any place across the world via the Facebook and YouTube channels. Works include The Metamorphosis, The Royal Ballet, Gloriana, The Royal Opera and The Winter’s Tale, The Royal Ballet.
Royal Albert Hall
It’s been here for almost 150 years, through the good and bad times. Although it has closed its doors, it is still able to bring some of the world’s most talented artists from their homes to yours. Royal Albert Home will feature KT Tunstall, classical for kids and Alfie Boe to name just a few special guests.
From the screen
If you have exhausted Netflix and are bored of endless scrolling, you can subscribe to Curzon Home Cinema for a selection of current films available online. Stream films straight from the cinema or you can explore the hand-picked collections. Universal Pictures has also announced that recent cinema releases including The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma will be released online due to the pandemic.
It doesn’t matter where you live, now museums and galleries are offering online experiences, allowing viewers to learn about what’s inside the famous doors. The world’s largest art and antique museum, The Louvre, is open online. You can no longer enter by its famous glass exterior but you can still take a look at its virtual tours covering a whole host of history. Also in Paris, Musee d’Orsay features work dating back to 1848. Viewers can wander through the galleries and view some of the most famous pieces including Van Gogh’s self-portraits. The Guggenheim in New York has a Google Street View tour where you can view works up close or simply enjoy the building’s remarkable architecture. Closer to home, the British Museum in London has joined up with Google Arts & Culture to offer an interactive tour. Get a real feel for history by clicking on different artefacts with an audio guide. If it’s masterpieces you are after, the Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions. It has recently launched Rijksmuseum From Home, which allows you to virtually visit the home of Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. Lockdown may have kept us in our homes, but it has opened up a world of culture and exploration.
Culture in Quarantine
Bringing arts and culture straight into your home is BBC4 Culture in Quarantine series. There is a selection of things to enjoy from Margaret Atwood’s Lockdown Reads, through to Tate Modern’s Warhol exhibition. There are also creative workshops that can be done at home including Pete McKee’s cartoon drawing. If you have time on your hands, log on for creative inspiration and advice for novel writing.
If you are missing discovering culture from different countries, Google Arts and Culture is the place to go to spend a few hours of adventure. Explore Brazil’s Football Museum from home, discover seven Picasso works you’ve never seen before and time travel to the world’s oldest art gallery.
Music to our ears
As venues and theatres close, a number of artists and musical institutions are taking their shows online to share some musical joy during these difficult times. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is live-streaming its scheduled performances as part of the #KeepTheMusicGoing initiative. With major music events cancelled or postponed, new streaming technology is being used to reach a global audience. United We Stream is a virtual festival of culture from Manchester that will run over 12 weeks. It will offer a diverse blend of live music, arts, cooking and poetry as well as reinforce the messages of public safety advice and health guidance to audiences who don’t usually tune into mainstream media. The content is free but viewers as asked for donations to a relief fund supporting restaurants, bars and music venues in Manchester.