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Virtual Events: How To Get Your Culture Fix at Home

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Embrace the new entertainment norm

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From workouts to exhibition tours to festivals, the past year has proven that pretty much everything can be adapted for the digital world. Here we bring you the best virtual events, tutorials and shows to tune into this season.

Best Virtual Events 2021

Civilised Sundays


Civilised Sundays, the programme of talks from Ravinder Bhogal’s Marylebone restaurant Jikoni, was a sell out when it launched in 2019. And now it’s back, this time in a digital format – though there are hopes to resume physical events later this year. First up on 7 March is a talk with author Sathnam Sanghera – who featured on our Break Out Culture podcast – about his new book Empireland. Then on 28 March, one of this year’s big debut authors, British Ghanaian photographer and writer Caleb Azumah Nelson, will be in conversation with author, painter and essayist Yemisi Aribasala. Various dates until 11 April.

Glasgow Film Festival

Scotland’s biggest movie event, the Glasgow Film Festival, is going virtual. Tune into 10 world premieres, three European premieres and 49 UK premieres, including Lee Isaac Chung’s highly-anticipated Minari and a film about the life of music icon Tina Turner. 24 February – 7 March.

WOW Festival

International Women's Day

Listen to Fearne Cotton and Ruby Wax discuss the meaning of freedom, take part in a Brazilian-inspired dance class and learn about the future of robots at the digital version of this year’s Women of the World Festival, which runs every March to tie in with International Women’s Day. 1 – 21 March.

London Design Week

London Design Week

Longing to change your interiors after spending so long cooped up inside? Get inspired at London Design Week 2021, which involves a mix of in-person and virtual events. Sustainability is a key theme across the new season collections, with an increasing variety of natural designs on display. 16 – 21 May.

Choose the World You Want Festival



Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 is a new campaign designed to raise awareness of Fairtrade in Britain, highlighting the harmful effect of the climate crisis on farmers and food supplies. Organisers are kicking things off with a virtual festival, featuring panel discussions, Q&As, quizzes and cook-alongs with the likes of Melissa Hemsley and Rosie Birkett.. The headline event is a talk led by journalist Lucy Siegle alongside a number of panellists including Marike de Peña, Director of Banelino, a 400-member strong banana cooperative in the Dominican Republic. 22 February – 7 March.

Inside Out at The Southbank Centre

Raven Leilani, Inside Out at Southbank Centre

Following a successful run last autumn, the Southbank Centre’s online arts series Inside Out is back. Highlights include an in conversation event with one of this year’s most talked about debut novelists Raven Leilani, a live stream from Black Country, New Road to celebrate their album release, and poetry evening Out-Spoken. The series culminates with a performance from innovative ensemble The London Contemporary Orchestra, who have reinterpreted tracks from Kelly Lee Owens and Duval Timothy, plus a premiere from Sigur Rós guitarist Kjartan Sveinsson. Until 28 March.

The Festival of Funny

Stephen Fry, John Cleese and Eddie Izzard are just some of the names featuring in the BBC’s upcoming three-week comedy festival, launched in a bid to counteract Covid-19 gloom. Comedies will be broadcast across radio and TV, with a mix of established names and new talent like Rose Matefeo. Until March 2021.

Craft Workshops with Maggie & Rose

Maggie & Rose

Looking for ways to keep children occupied this half term? Family members’ club Maggie & Rose is running a series of craft activities online, with workshops on making everything from Moroccan jam jar lanterns to shadow puppet theatres. Check them out on the club’s YouTube channel or via

All About Bach Festival

Charlie Siem

In a bid to bring live music to homes this lockdown, artist management company Only Stage is running a a series of free concerts where artists perform classic pieces from Bach’s repertoire. Taking place once a week until March, the concerts can be accessed via the Only Stage Facebook page, Instagram and YouTube channel. Until 5 March.

The Covent Garden Digital Hub

Floral by Lima At Home

Floral by Lima At Home

Covent Garden is set to provide some much-needed entertainment with the launch of its brand new digital hub. From DIY meal kits courtesy of Floral by LIMA and Cinnamon Bazaar to virtual retail services from the likes of Burberry and Tom Ford, the new virtual platform hopes to “bring the magic of Covent Garden to all”. Theatre enthusiasts can enjoy exclusive video content from the Royal Opera House, whilst beloved independent toy store Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop will be teaching little ones how to create their very own theatre at home. What’s more, Covent Garden has also launched a Spotify channel featuring a range of brand playlists and songs which resonate with the renowned destination. If you’re missing a trip to the West End, this might just raise your spirits.

A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb

Mike Dibb

From David Hockney to Salvador Dali, documentary filmmaker Mike Dibb has created portrait films about some of the biggest names in the art world. This January, Whitechapel Gallery is celebrating his work with an online series, featuring screenings of his films alongside live ‘in conversation’ events. Until 26 March.

Cambridge Film Festival At Home

Booksmart, Cambridge Film Festival

Cambridge Film Festival will be running a series of digital film-related events this year. First up: ‘A Film I Love’, in which special guests will present and discuss their favourite film prior to a screening – up next is Simran Hans on Time by Garrett Bradley.

FANE’s ‘In Conversation With’ Series

Anna Jones

©Matt Russell

Author Richard Flanagan, journalist Stacey Dooley and chef Anna Jones are all taking part in the new programme of ‘A Night In With’ digital events from production company FANE. Events are broadcast live online, then available to view for up to a week. Various dates.

Main image: Aida Muluneh


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