Welcome to your weekly dose of online lockdown culture where you can stream the best arts and entertainment during self-isolation. Get free theatre, opera, ballet, classical music, free access to virtual museums and galleries, and more.
This Week’s Lockdown Culture Favourite
It’s Shakespeare’s birthday on Wednesday 23 April! Here are a few ways you can enjoy some of the Bard’s favourites at home:
Shakespeare’s Globe is serving up a free Shakespeare every fortnight. This week’s offering is Romeo and Juliet (available until 3 May). Tune in at 7pm on Thursday 24 April for the National Theatre Live’s free streaming of Twelfth Night with Tasmin Greig (available for 7 days). Head over to The Show Must Go Online with live performances of Shakespeare’s works performed remotely by a group of actors. You can also follow Sir Patrick Stewart’s Instagram page where he reads one sonnet a day during the lockdown.
Plays to Watch at Home
Tiger Country, written and directed by Nina Raine and starring Indira Varma, follows a team of NHS doctors and nurses during a typically busy shift in a London hospital. Available free of charge from 10 am Monday 20 April until Sunday 26 April 10 pm.
Watch the 2017 production of Joe Orton’s contemporary classic, What The Butler Saw.
You can catch Emma Rice’s Wise Children, a musical which premiered at The Old Vic in 2019.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is streaming one free musical a week from 7 pm each Friday and available for 24 hours in the UK (48 hours in the rest of the world). Check the YouTube channel for the latest offering.
Leave a Light On is a series of paid live-streamed concerts, hosted by London’s Theatre Café. The initiative aims to provide financial support to entertainment people who are in lockdown. Layton Williams (“There’s Something about Jamie”) will be performing this April 23 at 6.30 pm. Cost: £7.50
Cameron Mackintosh is streaming Les Misérables – The Staged Concert on digital download in the UK and Australia, which will also raise funds for performers, musicians and the NHS. For every download, available from Monday 20 April, The Mackintosh Foundation will separately donate £5.00 to be shared amongst the charity Acting for Others, the Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund and Captain Tom Moore’s Walk for the NHS fund. RRP: £9.99
Free Nights at the Opera
This week’s fabulous free streaming from the Metropolitan Opera includes “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” with Anna Netrebko, “The Merry Widow” with Renée Fleming and Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” starring Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez. Each performance is available for 23 hours from 7.30 pm EDT. Full schedule here.
Benjamin Britten’s moving operatic portrayal of Elizabeth I, caught between public duty and private passion, will be broadcast free online as part of the Royal Opera House’s #OurHousetoYourHouse series. Available from Friday 7 pm BST.
Sadler’s Wells’ digital stage presents a programme of full-length dance performances and online workshops available on their Facebook page. Check their YouTube channel for some fun family dance workshops.
Curzon Home Cinema’s latest additions include “Lucian Freud, A Self-Portrait,” “Leonardo, The Works,” and “Young Picasso.”
Museums and Galleries at Home
Watch Exhibition on Screen, a documentary which visits two landmark exhibitions by David Hockney at the Royal Academy.
Other Lockdown Culture Gems
Travel to mountains, the tropics and the desert without leaving the house, as Kew Gardens brings the gardens to you. Get a sneak peek at the glasshouses and see what’s bursting into bloom.
Filmed live at the Orange Tree Theatre in 2017, an exclusive 90-minute in conversation with Dame Judi Dench will be available online from 3 pm on Sunday 26 April at a cost of £4.99. All monies raised will go to the Orange Tree Theatre’s Survival Fund. Watch here.
Enjoy some songs and stories with Brasserie Zedel’s Crazy Coqs artists.
Jazz supremo Arthur Lea will deliver an exclusive 30-minute Jazz For Kids from his home, as part of the Royal Albert Home free sessions. Broadcast at 2 pm on Saturday 25 April.
Visit Le Cirque du Soleil’s big tops from home with Circus Connect.
Join Darcey Bussell and her family over the next 13 weeks as they go behind the scenes of the Royal Opera House. The Create & Learn invites children to design and make their own sets, create and perform their own dances, learn about music and warm up their vocal chords. Anyone can get involved between now and 17 July, with new activities and courses added every week at 12 pm each and every Friday.
Support our Museums
You may have seen the news that museums, such as our beloved Dickens Museum, may have to close due to the financial repercussions of Covid-19. Can you help by donating to the museum’s appeal for support? Or consider becoming a friend or gifting a membership to someone? You could also purchase something from the Curiosity Shop which is still taking orders.
Check back every Monday for more Lockdown Culture, and stay safe and well!