Arts While Isolating

Published on 23 May 2020 Under Latest News

We may not be able to leave our homes at the moment, and our galleries and theatres may be shut but many organisations are offering free online access to art lectures, virtual tours of galleries and gardens,  opera and drama. Below is a list of such events – we’ll  add to it as we become aware of further events.


The Arts Society Connected: In April 2020 The Arts Society launched Connected, a new community website which aims to connect people through a shared love for the arts. It’s very easy to use and on there you can join any fo the various forums and chat to members from other Societies, read blogs and, most excitingly, watch Lectures At Home a series of talks by TAS accredited lecturers. The first provides an insight into Las Meninas by Velazquez from lecturer Dr. Jacqueline Cockburn – filmed at home.

Other Lectures At Home include:

  • Sarah Dunant: 21 April – Venice Dressed and Undressed
  • Mark Hill: 5 May – The 1960s: Revolutions in Glass
  • Nicola Moorby: 19 May – An Artist of Note: Turner and the new £20
  • Marc Allum: 2 June – The Anatomy of Collecting
  • Rebecca Hossack: 16 June – Aboriginal Art – recording the Dreamtime
  • Sandy Burnett: 30 June – Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fit of Rage: when his Third Symphony became the Eroica


The Guardian newspaper is currently running a daily art quiz set by national and regional galleries. museums, galleries and heritage sites around the UK, which are closed due to coronavirus. It is brought to you in collaboration with Art UK, the online home for the UK’s public art collections, showing art from more than 3,000 venues and by 45,000 artists. A great way to test your knowledge.


Theatre, Opera, Music & Dance

A good place to start is the BBC Arts site Culture in Quarantine. Here you can find links to theatre, Shakespeare, opera, music, books, visual arts, dance, cinema and lots more.

Another useful resource is What’s On Stage which claims to be a guide that will keep you up-to-date on accessing theatre online (often for free), along with fun stagey features and interviews.

The Globe Theatre is releasing six of its Globe Player films for free over the next couple of months. The first is Hamlet, with Michelle Terry in the title role – available until 19 April. Other upcoming productions include;

  • Romeo and Juliet (2009). Streaming from Monday 20 April, 7.00pm. Available until Sunday 3 May
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen (2018). Streaming from Monday 4 May, 7.00pm. Available until Sunday 17 May
  • Macbeth (2020). Streaming from Monday 11 May, 7.00 pm. Available until schools re-open
  • The Winter’s Tale (2018). Streaming from Monday 18 May, 7.00pm. Available until Sunday 31 May
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019). Streaming from Monday 1 June, 7.00pm. Available until Sunday 14 June
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013). Streaming from Monday 15 June, 7.00pm. Available until Sunday 28 June

All will all be available for free, one on rotation every two weeks.

National Theatre At Home: Every Thursday the National Theatre are screening one of their productions from the NT Live archive on YouTube for free. If you miss the first broadcast the production remains online on YouTube for a week or so:

  • One Man, Two Govnors, available until 9 April
  • Jayne Eyre, Streaming from 7pm on Thursday 9 April. Available until 16 April
  • Treasure Island, Streaming from 7pm on Thursday 16 April. Available until 23 April
  • Twelfth Night Streaming from 7pm Thursday 23 April. Available until 30 April
  • Frankenstien Streaming from 7pm  Thursday 30 April until 8 May. There are two versions to choose from – which will you watch first? Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature or Johnny Lee Miller as the creature
  • Antony and Cleopatra Streaming from 7pm Thursday 7 May until 14 May
  • Barber Shop Chronicles – a never-before-seen archive recording of Inua Ellams’ smash-hit play, about the places where banter is barbed, and the truth is telling. Streaming from 7pm Thursday 14 May until 21 May
  • A Streetcar Named Desire – Gillian Anderson and Vanessa Kirby play Blanche and Stella in the Young Vic production of Tennessee Williams’ American classic. Streaming from 7pm Thursday 21 May until 28 May
  • This House – James Graham’s timely, biting and funny portrait of British Politics in the 1970s. Streaming from 7pm Thursday 28 May until 4 June
  • Coriolanus – Tom Hiddleston plays the title role in the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Shakespeare’s searing political tragedy. Streaming from 7pm Thursday 4 June until 11 June
  • The Madness of George III, the acclaimed Nottingham Playhouse production of Alan Bennett’s award-winning drama, with Mark Gatiss. Streaming from 11 June until Thursday 18 June
  • Small Island adapted by Helen Edmundson (based on the novel by Andrea Levy). Streaming from 7pm on 18 June, until 7pm on 25 June
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from Bridge Theatre, with Gwendoline Christie, Oliver Chris, Hammed Animashaun and David Moorst. Streaming from 7pm Thursday 25 June until 2 July
  • Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry (adapted by Robert Nemiroff), in a never-before-seen archive recording. Streaming from 7pm on 2 July, until 7pm on 9 July
  • The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan, with Helen McCrory and Tom Burke. Streaming from 7pm on 9 July, until 7pm on 16 July
  • Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. Streaming from 7pm Thursday 16 July until 23 July

Royal Shakespeare, Company Culture in Quarantine: The RSC will be broadcasting six plays between now and September via the BBC. All six are now on iPlayer and will be broadcast on BBC 4 – dates to be announced:

  • Macbeth (2018), directed by Polly Findlay with Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack
  • Hamlet (2016), directed by Simon Godwin with Paapa Essiedu
  • Romeo and Juliet (2018), directed by our Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman
  • Much Ado About Nothing (2014), directed by Christopher Luscombe
  • Othello (2015), directed by Iqbal Khan with Hugh Quarshie and Lucian Msamati
  • The Merchant of Venice (2015), directed by Polly Findlay

Dates have yet to be announced; please keep checking the RSC website.

Gylndebourne Open HouseBeginning 24 May at 5.00pm each Sunday, enjoy world-class opera in your living room for free:

Matthew Bourne productions on TV

  • Swan Lake – to be broadcast Sunday 18 April and Saturday 25 April on Sky Arts and then available on NOW TV and Sky until 19 May
  • Romeo and Juliet – to be broadcast on Sunday 26 April at 8.00pm, Sky Arts
  • The Car Man – to be broadcast on Sunday 3 May on Sky Arts

The Royal Opera House: The ROH have created a programme of curated online broadcasts, musical masterclasses and cultural insights that get under the skin of both ballet and opera and offer everyone a unique look behind the scenes at one of the world’s most famous cultural institutions.

This will include the following productions offered on demand and for free via the ROH’s YouTube channel – click here for access (older productions are still available):

Grand Theatre, Blackpool has launched a brand-new YouTube channel, At Home With You, offering exclusive content, aimed at both adults and children.


The Shows Must Go On – full length performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, every Friday at 7.00 pm; available for 48 hours:



Art Fund: The Art Fund is offering some short films on:

The Royal Academy of Arts: A number of videos are available:

  • Gaugin and the Impressionists, a tour of the exhibition that was due to open last month (29 March).
  • A virtual exhibition tour of Picasso and Paper. Immerse yourself in Picasso’s world of paper and discover how – with this everyday material we know so well – he found the means to explore the furthest reaches of his creativity
  • PHYLLIDA documentary, a documentary portrait of the artist Phyllida Barlow RA. Released on her birthday, this film celebrates her pioneering contribution to the field of sculpture
  • Virtual tour of  the Léon Spilliaert exhibition at the RA
  • David Hockney – the full length feature documentary Exhibition on Screen: David Hockney RAFF, offers a virtual visit to two RA exhibitions — A Bigger Picture (2012) and 82 Portraits and One Still-Life (2016)

Online series

Instant Expert, from The Arts Society, is a series of factual units by experts in their field. The following units are currently available:

  • Become an Instant Expert on Andy Warhol, by Dr Suzanne Fagence Cooper. Reveals five facts about the artist and his approach to the art movement that spun on celebrity, everyday objects and popular culture
  • Become an Instant Expert on 20th Century Glass, by Mark Hill. Twentieth-century glass offers a vibrant way to understand the changing styles of that century’s decorative arts. Arts Society Lecturer Mark Hill, reveals five key facts on this, one of the glossiest of art forms
  • Curator’s Choice: Female Sculptors Who Broke the Mould, by Natalie Rudd. Senior curator Natalie Rudd selects just five works from an upcoming ambitious touring show set to debut at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which features 50 female-identifying artists, and reveal their fascinating stories
  • Become an Instant Expert on the History of the Great British Park, by Paul Rabbitts. Arts Society Lecturer Paul Rabbitts, shares his knowledge on one of the greatest ‘inventions’ of the 19th century
  • Become an Instant Expert on Street Art and Graffiti, by Doug Gillen. It’s free, there are no rules and one of its numbers, says Arts Society Lecturer Doug Gillen, is the world’s greatest living artist. Here are his five top facts on the art of graffiti
  • Become an Instant Expert on Fakes and Forgeries, by Marc Allum. Marc Allum has worked in the world of art and antiques for over 30 years, so it’s not surprising that he’s encountered a few fakes in his time. Here he uses his insider knowledge to give you five historic and practical pointers on the topic
  • Become an Instant Expert on the Snowy Egret Feather, by Tessa Boase. Tessa Boase reveals the Victorian and Edwardian tale of the hunt for snowy egret feathers: a yarn of fashion, fury and protest, which led to the founding of one of the UK’s best-known charities


Virtual Tours of Art Galleries, Museums & Gardens

BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine is holding an event called #MuseumFromHome which will take place on Thursday, 30 April. The event will be a whole day of content on social media, TV and radio focusing on the UK’s museums. Anyone can join in. By using the hashtag #MuseumFromHome on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, you can make sure that your content will be available to the BBC to be promoted to a wide audience. The BBC will endeavour to highlight as much of this content as possible across its platforms throughout the day.

Google Arts & Culture is an online platform through which you can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in partner galleries and museums:

  • Collections – features content from over 2,000 leading galleries worldwide
  • Explore – explore by 360° videos, Art Camera, Street View, Art Movements, Artists
  • Museum Views – take virtual tours of the some of the world’s greatest museums and heritage sites,  and explore panoramic views of famous sites in 360˚ Street View tours

According to Wikipedia, the platform now features more than 32,000 artworks from 46 museums, and image acquisition is underway at the remaining partner museums. Several educational tools are also available. There is lots to explore and discover.

The Guardian: offers 10 of the world’s best virtual museum and art gallery tours:

The Harris, PrestonVirtual Tour.

The i newspaper has compiled a list of what it calls ’50 virtual days out during coronavirus lockdown, from online art galleries to the modern wonders of the world’. This extensive list offers tours of lots of UK Galleries, as well as those in major international cities; Structures such as the Colosseum, Acropolis, Angkor Wat, etc; and Nature – various National Parks from a round the world.



Virtual Chelsea: 18 – 23 May. The RHS is working with its partners to bring the very best of gardens, plants and products. Well-known garden designers, florists and gardening personalities share new videos and articles with top design tips, favourite planting combinations and gardening trends.

National Garden Scheme: garden owners are working to bring the gardens to life for you with virtual garden visits, gardening tips and stories.

House Beautiful: offers virtual tours of five gardens: