Due to certain recent events, going out and engaging in cultural activities simply hasn’t been an option lately. But thanks to technological innovation and creativity on the part of curators, producers, and artists, there are many ways that these activities can now be accessed online.
Whether you love theatre, music, or film, you can get your culture fix digitally.
Read on to find out more about some of the virtual activities on offer, and how to access them.
This article features online activities from different parts of the world, which is a great way to stay in touch with other cultures when you cannot travel. Most of these resources are free and easily accessible, so take a look!
If you loved going to the theatre and are currently missing it, let the theatre come to you! You can watch plays online, experiencing the performances at home, so check out these resources:
The National Theatre has been streaming plays to cinema screens under its NTLive programme for a while. Now, on their YouTube channel, full-length plays are being streamed for free every week, straight into your home. The plays are shown every Thursday at 7pm and are available for a week afterwards, so you can watch it whenever it is convenient. Plays include A Streetcar Named Desire (which was filmed at the Young Vic) and Barber Shop Chronicles. So, cuddle up on the sofa with a glass of wine and enjoy watching amazing performances from the comfort of your home.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is showing free broadcasts of his biggest musicals, including huge hits like Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. On his YouTube channel, The Shows Must Go On!, a new full-length musical of his is streamed for free every Friday at 7pm. It then remains available for 48 hours following this. Lighten up your spirits by singing along to these classic musicals – and sing as loud as you want, your neighbours aren’t even allowed to come over to complain!
A handful of museums have put their collections online, giving you the opportunity to explore a huge range of art and other exhibitions digitally. Whatever your interests, you are bound to find something that catches your eye.
You can now visit the museum at any time that suits you, online, as they have digitised their collection. There are many ways that you can explore the museum. These include virtual tours with Google Street View, giving you the chance to virtually visit over 60 galleries, and see highlights like the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery. You can also explore the virtual galleries on the museum’s own website.
You can also access audio tours on Apple Music and Google Play. There are recorded introductions of 64 galleries, which have been translated in Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Korean. You can also view their most popular objects in 3D on Sketchfab, such as the Rosetta Stone. There is so much to delve into and learn, so this is a great activity for this lockdown period.
Transport yourself to Paris with a virtual tour of the Musée d’Orsay, the museum which holds the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works in the world. You can discover the works by artists such as Degas, van Gogh, and more by touring through the interactive galleries. You don’t need to travel to see amazing pieces of art – escape into the fascinating world of the museum, thanks to ‘Google Arts and Culture’ where you can access the tours.
There is an online art exhibition dedicated to Frida Kahlo’s work. Google Arts and Culture have combined 33 museums from around the world to share Kahlo archives, and you can browse 800 of her paintings.
Do you miss going to concerts or on nights out? Of course you do, we all do. But with a decent broadband connection and a passage set of speakers (a laptop will of course do in a pinch), you don’t need to be missing anything at all!
If you miss going out and listening to good music, this is perfect. Some of Sydney’s finest creative party starters have launched ‘Loud ‘n’ Queer TV’. This is a livestreamed party every Friday night from 8pm, available for 24 hours afterwards. If you live with people, gather them together and enjoy a night of music and performance, including drag shows and visual art.
Each show involves footage from the artists performing from their homes, with hosts coming live from Create or Die’s Marrickville warehouse studio, where some acts will be performing live. This weekly event is a collaboration from Heaps Gay (a queer party platform), Listen Up (a mental health and music organisation), Create or Die (an arts organisation) and Rackett (a punk star and music publicist). With nothing but a decent broadband connection, you can experience the queer nightlife scene in Sydney at home – let your hair down and have fun!
The Royal Albert Hall is hosting a series of performances on their YouTube channel. The free streaming programme has already included artists such as Rufus Wainwright and Brassed Off, performing from their home and bringing it to yours. The sets range from 30 minutes to an hour, and they even have family-focused sets that kids will enjoy, providing a nice inclusive experience.
If you’re bored of Netflix, there are other sites where you can access films. One of them, geared toward true cinephiles, is Mubi, which is free for film students, and £9.99 for others.
Mubi is a streaming platform that uploads a new film every day, which stays on the service for 30 days. This means there are only ever 30 films at one time on the service – perfect if you find it difficult to decide from an overwhelming number of films on other services! It features films from all around the world, from big studio films to smaller documentaries. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!
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