Although technically from Saturday, English theatres and concerts halls will be able to open to the public under the new Government rules, live performances will not be permitted. In response to the lockdown, many theatres have made material available in the meantime online, while galleries and museums have come up with new ways to share their exhibitions. We share a few of our favourites, some free (or asking for donation), some paid. Tell us what arts and cultural activities you have been enjoying or are looking forward to by emailing email@example.com and we’ll share these in a future update.
The Royal Opera House is providing a Premiere streaming of the Royal Ballet performing Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works, featuring music by Max Richter and inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf, until July 9. It is available on youtube.
There are a couple of BBC iPlayer programmes: Men at the Barre is an insight behind the scenes of the Royal Ballet, which focuses on the men in the company as it explores what it takes to be a male ballet dancer. Also, you can watch the new series of Danceworks, four artist-led films co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and the BBC which was recently shown on BBC Four. This gives viewers a chance to follow dancers from a range of styles, including latin and ballroom dancing, flamenco and contemporary dance.
Northern Ballet’s Pay as You Feel season
Northern Ballet is doing a Pay as you Feel season. Although the company is unable to perform at the moment, they are offering a range of interesting content through their website and asking for a small donation in return. This includes a chance to watch Northern Ballet’s original dance film Ego, a free screening of their Little Red Riding Hood production for children, through BBC iPlayer, Dracula, also available through BBC iPlayer, exclusive Q and A and behind-the-scenes content and an exclusive excerpt from their new ballet.
Live from Covent Garden
While the Royal Opera House is closed to the public, it is bringing audiences three very special performances streamed live from the Royal Opera House as part of its #OurHouseToYourHouse series. Live from Covent Garden will celebrate ballet and opera in programmes of dance and music, curated by artistic directors of the Royal Opera House: Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera, Oliver Mears, Director of Opera, and Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet.
The performances are available to watch or share for £4.99.
London Mozart Players
London Mozart Player has a special lockdown production of Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf available on youtube. Alexander Armstrong narrates this version of the classic tale, with London Mozart Players musicians, their families and pets all taking part.
Online Opera shows
The Royal Opera House is showing La bohème online, from July 3 to July 16.
If you fancy going a bit further afield, with their regular performance venue, the London Coliseum, closed for the foreseeable, the English National Opera (ENO) is staging a drive-in opera in September. Held at London’s Alexandra Palace from September 19 – 27, these are thought to be the world’s first drive-in opera performances, which audiences can drive to and watch from their cars. It will feature a 90-minute version of Puccini’s La bohème.
Theatre / Drama
Sebastien Faulks’ wartime classic, Birdsong, has been specially recreated in lockdown. This adaptation features 14 actors and is told using video technology, live performance, sound design and music all woven together. It will be raising money for The Royal British Legion. It’s streaming until July 4 at birdsongonline.co.uk. It costs £15.
National Theatre – streaming live shows
The National Theatre is streaming a number of its recorded shows during lockdown through its YouTube channel, including Jane Eyre and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so it is worth checking regularly to see what is available. The latest streamed production, Les Blancs, is streaming until 7pm on Thursday 29 July.
If you normally enjoy an outdoor play in the balmy summer months, Heartbreak Productions, which normally tours across the country (including Midlands venues) throughout the summer months, might provide the answer. With their 2020 season cancelled tour, it is posting free new videos of their previous productions, which change every two weeks. Currently its Dracula.
Royal Shakespeare Company
The Royal Shakespeare Company is doing a watch-along and see for a screening of its production of Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, set in a country house in the aftermath of the Second World War, which will be screened free on BBC Four this Sunday (5 July), from 9pm. You can watch along on twitter with @TheRSC and join the conversation online using #AlmostLiveFromtheRSC. Each week the Company is also releasing a new short film, inspired by characters and stories from Shakespeare’s plays and filmed in lockdown.
Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London remains closed but has plenty to offer online. This includes the chance to watch full productions online, supporting the theatre by downloading via Globe Player or it has links to free streams on YouTube & BBC iPlayer, and a 360 degree tour of the theatre.
Art / Galleries / Museums
Titian: Love, Desire, Death
The National Gallery’s universally acclaimed Titian: Love, Desire, Death exhibition has been extended until January 17, 2021.
1551, Prince Philip of Spain, the future King Philip II, commissioned Titian, the most famous painter in Europe, to produce a group of paintings showing Classical myths primarily taken from the Roman poet Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. The exhibition reunites all six paintings in the series, from Boston, Madrid, and London, for the first time in over four centuries.
Although the gallery will be opening on July 8, if you can’t get there in person you can find out more about the exhibition through a series of videos and resources, which are freely available on the Gallery’s website. There you can also explore the 18 rooms of British and European artworks using a 360-degree tool. This tour also provides information about each painting as you look at it.
Shakespeare’s birthplace at home
While Shakespeare’s family homes and the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon are closed, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is offering a Museum from Home experience, with a variety of activities. This includes a lecture series, a talk (and performance) about the music in Shakespeare’s plays, a poetry celebration, a Shakespeare quiz and the chance to transport yourself into Shakespeare’s birthplace on your next online meeting with a series of virtual backgrounds!
Getty Museum lockdown challenge
At the start of lockdown, the Getty Museum, based in Los Angeles, challenged the public to recreate famous artworks using three items they had in their home. There have been some fantastic and creative entries. Why not have a go yourself? You can see them on Instagram by searching or following #gettymuseumchallenge
V & A online collection
While the V & A remains closed, it has put numerous collections online for people to enjoy, from hats, glasses and Alexander McQueen evening dresses, to illustration, architecture and theatre and performance.
Guggenheim Museum – tour
The Guggenheim Museum, in New York, is offering the chance to experience its architecture with a tour using photos while listening to an audio guide. You can also take a virtual tour of the Guggenheim Museum on Google Arts & Culture.