Virtual Events: How To Get Your Culture Fix at Home
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Whether it be enjoying ‘drinks’ with your friends via Zoom, hanging out on House Party, or doing sit-ups alongside an Instagram live workout, the virtual world is bustling. Here are some of the best virtual events and tutorials to keep you entertained.
The Power of New Beginnings
The final instalment of webinar series ‘The Connected Series’ will see five pioneering thought leaders discuss the outlook for business, and how the world can harness the power of the ‘new normal’. Tune in at 12 noon on 7 July to hear the webinar, which features Country & Town House interiors editor Carole Annett, interior designers Shayne Brady and Emily Williams, Decorex’ brand director Sam Fisher and Lester Bennett, president of BIID. theconnectedseries.com
The British Open Polo Championship
While The British Open Polo Championship is being held behind closed doors this year, sporting fans all over the world can watch the competitions live online. Eight teams are set to participate in the tournament, with some of the best players in the world set to compete – including the highest number of British players in recent years. The opening game kicks off on 1 July, with the final taking place on 26 July 2020. cowdraypolo.co.uk
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park
Following the success of this year’s virtual Chelsea Flower Show, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park is going online in the absence of a physical event. On 22 July, tune into the RHS website for an array of inspiration gardening content including videos, articles and advice from some of the show’s favourite growers, designers and experts. Highlights include tips and tricks from award-winning garden designer Pip Probert, a practical demonstration from Cheshire-based nursery Bluebell Cottage Gardens, and a display from RHS Tatton Master Grower Plantagogo, who specialises in vibrant Heuchera, Heucherella and Tiarella. 22 July, rhs.org.uk
Somerset House: I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now
Whilst Somerset House is temporarily closed, the art hub’s new online programme ‘I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now’ ensures culture vultures can still get their fix. Comprising an array of ‘live streams, long reads, deep listens and a weekly ‘Pause’ series’, the virtual initiative revolves the themes of connection and commonality, encouraging and supporting artists whilst maintaining a sense of cultural cohesiveness throughout these unprecedented times. Some of the highlights of the July programme include a first-time streaming of Mercury-nominated band Sons of Kemet’s headline set from last summer; Sleep Mode, a week dedicated to dissecting ‘the new normal’ and a series of archive podcasts, films and live music dedicated to the Windrush Generation. somersethouse.org
The Little Prince: Stories by Michael Morpurgo and Guests
As a celebration of the power in hope during times of crisis, the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, Montblanc and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Foundation for Youth have pulled together a digital event focused around Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless novel The Little Prince. The book will be read by author and playwright Michael Morpurgo in a series of exclusive readings on social media. During the series he’ll be joined by a number of prominent figures including actor Kristin Scott Thomas, poet and novelist Ben Okri, actor and poet Jade Anouka, and actor Ruth Wilson. The readings will take place on five dates in June and July via Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, from 5-6pm. 29 June – 3 July. institut-francais.org.uk
Arundel Castle: Sensational Roses in Bloom
In its latest virtual tour of the grounds, Arundel Castle showcases a beautiful array of old-fashioned roses – more than 20 varieties flourishing across the impressive West Sussex estate, from ‘Harlow Carr’ hedging to ‘Princess Anne’ roses and white ‘Winchester Cathedral’ shrubs. Tune in now via arundelcastle.org
Evergreen Garden Centre has launched a brand-new virtual gardening series – or virtual ‘Gro-Along’, as it’s branded. Led by renowned horticulturalist and TV gardener, David Domoney, the series is dedicated to getting people gardening, in which the outdoors specialist will be sharing an array of expert tips and guidance on how to look after your garden and houseplants. Domoney said: ‘I hope many are encouraged to take up the advantages of gardening for life, including wildlife, eating healthily, flowers, borders and perfect family lawns.’ Episodes are streamed every Friday at 1pm via Evergreen Garden Care’s ‘Love The Garden’ Facebook page.
Curator Tour of Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk
If you didn’t manage to catch the V&A’s kimono-dedicated exhibition – the first of its kind in Europe – before the gallery closed, have no fear. The V&A has launched a 30-minute behind-the-scenes tour of the retrospective, now available to watch on YouTube. View the five-part series here.
Read, Watch & Listen with the Barbican
London’s The Barbican has announced a new schedule of digital content drawn from the performing arts centre’s eclectic international arts programme. Comprising a range of podcasts, playlists, films, videos, talks and articles – from the release of an album created by young Londoners to Stephen Fry’s ‘The Art of Change’ podcast – the initiative hopes to engage and inspire creativity throughout the pandemic. barbican.org.uk
The Assembly at Heckfield Place
In light of the pandemic, Heckfield Place is aiming to bring its long-established community together digitally. The Assembly – the country hotel’s events initiative which ‘cultivates a space to unearth, reconnect and rediscover’ – will instead take place online and over Instagram throughout the upcoming months. Viewers will be presented with an eclectic range of virtual events, from a ‘walk in the woods’ with renowned craftsman and furniture designer Sebastian Cox, to a discussion over the philosophical nature of lockdown with Dr Julian Baggini, as well as botanical painting, quintissential tea-making and more. heckfieldplace.com / @heckfield_place
Dior: Savoir-faire of the diamond-accented Gem Bag Clutch
Another lockdown fashion fix straight from Dior, the luxury fashion house has released a video showcasing the making of its brand-new green satin minaudière, created by both Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri and Victoire de Castellane, artistic director of Dior Joaillerie. The gem-set clutch features an exquisite rose-shaped diamond clasp from the ‘Rose Dior Bagatelle’ collection – a nod to one of Monsieur Dior’s favourite flowers. View the video here.
Explore the V&A’s collections
For anyone missing a visit to ‘the world’s leading museum of art and design’, you can now log onto the V&A website and delve into an array of the gallery’s eclectic collections, from The Raphael Cartoons to ‘the golden age of couture’. vam.ac.uk
Tour the world
Who knows when we’ll next be able to get on a plane? For now, feed your travel bug with virtual tours of culture hotspots around the world. You can have the Sistine Chapel all to yourself with a tour of the Vatican, take in the view from the Acropolis of Athens with You Go Culture or explore the history of Machu Picchu – without getting stuck in Peru. By Sofia Tindall
Experience ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’
If you didn’t get the chance to visit the spectacular Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A last summer, you can now experience the enchanting showcase from home. Dior has released an hour-long film available to watch for free via YouTube detailing the curation of the retrospective hosted at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, from the elaborate dress tailoring to the comprehensive exhibition construction and glamorous opening night (attended by the likes of Karlie Kloss and Jennifer Lawrence). Watch now via the Christian Dior YouTube channel.
‘Visit’ The New Generation Festival
What better way to wake up than to the sound of music? Organisers behind The New Generation Festival – a yearly music and opera extravaganza which takes place in the gardens of Florence – have launched ‘The Action Station’, a brand-new digital concept aiming to digitally showcase the talents of young performers, lifting spirits and supporting the fight against coronavirus. Tune in daily via Instagram at 9am to delight in a recorded concert, then at 4pm for a live talk with the artist and presenter. Expect everything from opera to jazz, drag acts and more. Watch via @new_generation_festival where’ll you also get the chance to donate to the festival’s chosen charities throughout the performances.
Ensure #Goodtimesathome with Bali beach club Potato Head
Sunset beach club, hotel and bar Potato Head in Bali has launched a brand-new #Goodtimesathome campaign to introduce a little Indonesian-inspired creativity into people’s homes amidst the coronavirus emergency. From ‘explorative films’ to digital yoga classes, art exhibitions and ‘morning music rituals’, the club will be inspiring and entertaining through an array of virtual arts and activities. Tune in via Instagram, Facebook and potatohead.co
Behind The Scenes
Catch a glimpse of the Hayward Gallery’s Among the Trees through a video interview with artist Hugh Hayden. Learn more about the National Gallery’s Artemisia exhibition with a YouTube lecture by art historian Jesse Locker, and watch Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin star in Candice Breitz’s video installation exploring the refugee crisis.
On the airwaves
The BBC has launched its new series Culture in Quarantine, promising a ‘virtual festival of the arts’ across television, radio and online. The programme is wide-ranging, from a new series of Front Row Late hosted by Mary Beard, featuring unusual arts like puppet shows by Margaret Atwood, to theatre and dance performances available on demand from the BBC Archive. These include Deluxe, BalletBoyz’s cancelled 20th anniversary tour and Emma Rice’s 2019 production of Wise Children. bbc.co.uk
Explore Zhuang Hong Yi’s virtual exhibition
Experience contemporary artist Zhuang Hong Yi’s bold and beautiful ‘flowerbed’ pieces via Mayfair fine art gallery HOFA’s brand-new virtual experience. Nova, Hong Yi’s latest exhibition – originally set to launch with the opening of the gallery’s new Bruton Street space – has been given a digital transformation to enable art lovers and collectors to experience the works in light of the unprecedented circumstances. thehouseoffineart.com
See Raffaello Sanzio’s spectacular works on-screen
Art enthusiasts will be pleased to know they can still get their High Renaissance culture fix thanks to Musement. The online platform has cleverly introduced a brand-new virtual exhibition in light of the 500th anniversary of artist Raffaello Sanzio’s (or Raphael’s) death. Peruse an array of the Italian painter’s spectacular works via the website now. musement.com
None of us can leave our homes to enjoy the multitude of galleries and museums available across the UK. However, we can still enjoy them in our ears with Art Fund’s excellent Meet Me at the Museum podcast series. You can tour the new V&A Dundee with Kirsty Wark, visit Charleston, the Sussex home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, with author Jessie Burton or laugh your way around the Fashion and Textile Museum with comedian Cariad Lloyd.
Lend your voice to Mark De Lisser’s world choir
Put your shower singing to good use by joining vocal coach Mark De Lisser’s virtual choir of voices. The renowned choral director – also the choral arranger for Harry and Meghan’s wedding – is calling on people to lend their voices to The World Choir and sing along to a number of uplifting songs from home. Add your voice at singologychoirs.wufoo.com
Join The Arts Society’s new digital platform
UK arts education charity The Arts Society has launched a new digital platform inviting both Arts Society members and the public to join an array of fortnightly art lectures, screenings, live author Q&As and more. Aiming to keep members and the greater population connected and entertained through tough times of isolation, the platform will also provide a community forum accessible to all. ‘We believe the arts have the power to bring people together, and we will not let this virus stop communities from enjoying the arts with each other,’ said chief executive of The Arts Society, Florian Schweizer. connected.theartssociety.org
Celebrate the art of the river at the Totally Thames Festival
Totally Thames’ Rivers of the World project sees artists work remotely with 2,000 young teens across the globe to create river-themed art, including the above image. This year’s festival has adapted with an exciting online programme, bringing together artists and anglers alike to celebrate the river that brings Londoners together. The works can be viewed non-virtually from September, when they will be displayed outside the Tate Modern. 1–30 September 2020; thamesfestivaltrust.org