Cultural institutions and visitor attractions are giving us a reason to believe
If like us at Midnight you’re bored to tears because you can’t pop to your favourite tourism attraction or take in a show, fear not because help is at hand.
We’ve been scouring the internet to try to recreate those incredible experiences that we enjoy when we can only leave the house to meet up with one other person in a park, go for a run, a walk, a bike ride, or to stand in a queue for the supermarket. But we’re British, we love to queue - we’ve got this covered.
We’ll tell you more about these virtual experiences in a moment to give you some inspiration for this weekend, but all this does have a PR point. Well it would. The crux of the matter is that what these virtual experiences show, is that even during lockdown it’s important for theatres and visitor attractions, and all businesses and organisations, to stay connected with their audiences. It’s vital for them support their fans where they can and to keep their offering at the top of people’s minds.
The businesses and organisations that stay silent and cut the conversation off during this time will have a mountain to climb when they are allowed to reopen. On the other hand, those that offer people joy and cultural connection during lockdown will attract new audiences and remind their existing fans daily about why they fell in love with their services in the first place.
So, here are some of our top virtual experiences to help you stay connected with a nice bit of culture. For your entertainment pleasure tonight, we have in no particular order:
Krater Live on YouTube, giving you the live comedy experience beamed into your living rooms with the power of Zoom. It’s the Brighton Krater Comedy Club, which also has a branch in Bath and together with the wonderful host and MC Stephen Grant, they use Zoom to pop into comedians’ living rooms where they perform live stand up and also use footage from old shows to put together a night ‘out’ for you. Viewers can interact with the MC via social – so you can both enjoy a really good heckle. They also invite donations! It’s a hoot so do have a look!
Virtual tours of Arundel Castle include a delightful tour of the gardens with head gardener Martin Duncan. It’s allium season at the moment and there are more than 35,000 of them in full bloom with 26 different varieties. With beautifully shot footage, Martin takes you for a sneaky peek inside, accompanied by soothing music and some fascinating insights into this beautiful part of the world. Nature bathing from home at its best.
The National Theatre is running a series of productions which you can watch at home on their YouTube channels. The National Theatre at Home programme gives audiences a weekly opportunity to enjoy world-class theatre while the venue is closed. So far, shows have included Treasure Island, Twelfth Night, Frankenstein starring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, Antony & Cleopatra, starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo.
Meanwhile over in East Sussex The Charleston Festival has launched the Charleston Festival at Home which features a series of 10 free events bringing artists, writers, thinkers and changemakers together online to explore art, literature and society, just as the Bloomsbury group did at the country house 100 years ago. Of course, it’s not quite the same as popping into the marquee at this beautiful rambling farmhouse and listening to sound of sheep and cows punctuating the musings of the great and the good of literature as you sip prosecco, but it still looks delightful and should provide some intellectual food for thought.
Finally our roving eyes have discovered that Glyndebourne Opera House are running a series of free operas on YouTube from May 24 – The Glyndebourne Open House. Every Sunday at 5pm you’ll be able to join them for performances, with upcoming shows including The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutti. They stay live on the channel for a week too, so you can always play catch-up. You might not be traversing the lawns with your heels sinking into the grass or listening to the sound of 100 champagne corks popping simultaneously at this glorious annual event, but perhaps it’s an opportunity to tuck into a picnic and some fizz while enjoying the bewitching performances at this world class event.
Finally, we must say that the creativity and innovation of our cultural institutions and visitor attractions around the UK when faced with the monumental challenges they have encountered, has been nothing short of inspiring. It’s encouraging to see them keeping the conversation going with their fans, instead of cutting it short.