We don’t know about you, but we are desperately looking for something to do these days – to tear us away from the repetitive nature of lockdown life. Daily walks help but god we need more. That’s why we turn to digital cultural experiences, hoping they will save us from the Groundhog Day cycle. Take a virtual tour of an art exhibit, watch some theatre, listen to some live music or just take part in a really interesting talk. And there are countless Square Mile institutions which are offering up all of this. Here are our favourites!
Sculpture in the City, the City of London’s annual public art programme set amongst iconic architectural landmarks, has just launched its multimedia digital guide for visitors to explore at home, made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The guide is available through the free digital app, Bloomberg Connects and offers a new way to explore Sculpture in the City virtually. With works juxtaposed against the iconic buildings in the Square Mile, the app offers audiences the chance to explore the current ninth edition from home, hear from featured artists and navigate previous editions through the app.
THEATRE / Guildhall School of Music & Drama spring season
Students at Guildhall School of Music & Drama are not letting this lockdown stop them from putting on their much-loved shows. And, like so many cultural experiences, they are taking to the web this season. There is a chance to see The Drowned World, Gary Owen’s rarely performed play directed by John Haidar, and a series of short, stand-alone solo performances titled Pieces of Us, created by Guildhall School students overseen by dramaturg Jude Christian. Acting and Production Arts students will also create two devised works in collaboration with multi award-winning theatre companies Barrel Organ and Breach.
From 10 March, free
BINGO / Dabbers Virtual Party
It’s almost been a year since these guys shut their doors and went online. They hosted countless public events to bring some joy back to our lives in lockdown 1 and 2. But they have been smashing out private parties too. Last year, 13,000 guests attended around 200 private events with the majority of those taking place in December. Clearly corporates fell in love with these guys. And so have we! That’s why we are pumped to see they have opened up more virtual bingo nights made for those of us who need a little silly excitement in our lives. Expect superimposed animations, digital confetti showers and crazy filters alongside all their usual gameshow twists. Buy some tickets to their next party if you’re keen for some competitive fun at home.
27 February, single ticket £8, 2-person ticket £12, 3-person ticket £15 and family ticket £20
SCREEN TALK/ Our Lucky Hours
Our Lucky Hours is a thought-provoking film that tells the story of a pioneering psychiatric institution in 1930s France. The asylum was radically re-thought, with doctors, patients and nurses working side by side to run the facility, with the support of the local community. Patients were respected and integrated. They took up roles in the hospital kitchen, on local farms, they published a newspaper, and many pursued visual art practices. For this ScreenTalk Sarah and Ben will discuss the documentary, how its themes intertwine with the work and life of Jean Dubuffet, and the relevancy of its subject matter in today’s world.
11 March, free
FOR KIDS/ Curse of the Crackles
Shoreditch Town Hall will be hosting the world première digital production of Curse of the Crackles!, an interactive audio adventure for children and families. Riff is a good dog and the most excellentist puppy, but she needs your help! The world is in chaos – listen… It’s the Crackles! Those annoying little bits of naughty have muddled up all the sounds in the universe and now it’s up to you and Riff the puppy to put them all back. Featuring innovative three-dimensional sound technology, Curse of the Crackles! is a hilarious interactive audio adventure that immerses you in a brilliantly chaotic quest – the perfect sensory journey that can be enjoyed from anywhere, in any space.
From 13 March, £3.50
MUSIC/ Live from the Barbican
The Barbican Centre will live-stream the BBC Symphony Orchestra from their Hall to your home. The BBC SO draw on Celtic songs, prayers and inspiration in an atmospheric afternoon concert. Mendelssohn’s poetic Symphony No 3 begins their journey, as they emulate Mendelssohn’s travels through Scotland.
14 March, tickets from £12.50
ONLINE EXHIBITION/ DECENTRALISE
Participants of the Somerset House’s Young Producers collective are putting on their inaugural project DECENTRALISE, a new free interactive digital archive which celebrates the cultural history of Black British art. DECENTRALISE offers guests the chance to engage virtually with over 16 key objects from, and inspired by, Somerset House’s exhibition past, spanning Afro-nowism, Afrofuturism, political arts and disobedient objects, through design, interaction and play.
From 16 March, free
ONLINE COOKING CLASSES / HYPER JAPAN
Ever made your own miso soup? Or an epic okonomiyaki? Well, the team over at HYPER JAPAN have got a bunch of chefs together to host a series of online cooking classes for us to keep entertained before the lockdown fully lifts. Things kick off with a miso lesson from the miso kings – Marukome. They’ll be sending out miso-making kits packed with everything you need to get fermenting. And two chefs will talk guests through miso soup making via the Zoom call. You then get okonomiyaki a few weeks later. Now’s the time to try something new.
21& 28 March, free
TALK/ Rashid Johnson in conversation with Eleanor Nairne
The pair will consider how Dubuffet’s work has impacted Johnson’s own artistic practice. This event has been programmed to coincide with Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty, an exhibition celebrating French artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985), one of the most singular and provocative voices in post-war modern art. This is a live online event. Book for more details. Information on how to join will be sent out in the week before the event.
25 March, free