The art galleries and theatres bringing London culture into our living rooms during lockdown
There’s no need to miss out on your arts and culture fix thanks to these legendary London venues
London’s cultural scene has always been the jewel in the capital’s crown, with our numerous galleries, theatres and concert halls attracting culture vultures the world over. But with social distancing and lockdown the new reality, it’s more important than ever to get that touch of beauty – and drama – in our daily lives. Thankfully, London’s venues are one step ahead of us, creating myriad digital, virtual and streaming solutions to give us an all access pass, from our living rooms.
HOFA Gallery announced a programme of virtual art experiences to bring contemporary art to connoisseurs, collectors and enthusiasts throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. With the debut of Zhuang Hong Li’s latest exhibition ‘Nova’ set to launch at the gallery’s new Mayfair gallery postponed, Elio D’Anna – HOFA creative director and co-founder – launched an innovative Virtual Reality version of the artist’s solo exhibition, with each artwork available to view ‘true to life’ in 3D form within a 360o scene. Other virtual shows in the works include the ‘Here & Now’ group exhibition which will run exclusively online from 6 April to 3 May, with a portion of the earnings set to be donated to support the NHS during these overwhelming times. A virtual show of Marco Grassi’s ‘Mama Raised Me Right’ will also run from 20 May till 3 June bringing the Italian artist’s popular figurative portraits to fans in a high-definition 3D virtual experience.
THE NATIONAL THEATRE
The National Theatre is offering free streaming of its most famous plays – from One Man, Two Guvnors to Jane Eyre and Twelfth Night – during the lockdown, with even more available for theatre members. Filmed live on stage by National Theatre Live, the service looks back on some of the UK’s best acting talents and captures the drama and delight of live theatre until the Nash’s doors open once more on 30 June.
Somerset House's digital programme, entitled 'I Should be Doing Something Else Right Now' will run as a free and 'pay what you can' programme throughout spring and summer. With themes of connection and commonality, featuring live streams, long reads, deep listens and a weekly ‘pause’ series from artists, makers and creative practitioners, the organisation will maintain its reputation for exciting, challenging exhibitions. Highlights include online exhibitions from artists including Mykki Blanco, Tai Shani, Anne Duffau and Hana Noorali; free interactive events to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day including workshops with British fashion designer Bethany Williams, and a series of live sessions from Fashion Open Studio; Artist-led workshops for progressive music making in isolation from DIY sound and music platform Mutant Promise; and regular programme of artist work online covering three strands: Long Read, Deep Listen and Pause.
London’s most prestigious dance venue, Sadler’s Wells, announced additions to Digital Stage, its free online performance programme, including choreographer Russell Maliphant and Oscar-winning composer Vangelis’ The Thread. The Thread will be screened on Friday 17 April at 7:30pm UK time via Sadler’s Wells’ Facebook Premieres, and is available to watch live and stream for seven days thereafter. The venue will also be offering new dance workshops online to try at home, with sessions designed for children aged two to six, family workshops and classes for older adults. Visit Sadler’s Wells from more details. >>
Related: Maddox Gallery champions emerging female artists with new 'HerStory – Women in Art' exhibition
THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE
The Southbank Centre has extended its closure to 30 June, but its new digital initiatives are ensuring fans of film, theatre, art and literature can still get their culture fix. Highlights include Beyond Beethoven Nine on Saturday 18 April – a one-day event to mark the composer’s 250th celebrations – and ‘socially distanced’ performances by the National Youth Orchestra. The centre will also provide book podcasts from Louis Theroux, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Hilary Mantel and Hillary & Chelsea Clinton, plus contemporary and classical playlists and a chance to revisit iconic Hayward Gallery shows from the inaugural exhibition of Henri Matisse in 1968 to more recent shows by Tracey Emin andJeremy Deller via Google Arts & Culture.
THE LONDON DRAWING GROUP
The London Drawing Group is hosting two virtual lectures to delight art history fans, with a percentage of proceeds benefitting domestic violence charity, Solace. The first lecture, Violence Against Women in Western Art, begins at 11am on 18 April, will study the nymphs of Greek Mythology, to the obsession with female Christian martyrs, as well as the female artists working to rewrite the status quo. The second, How Should We View Art by ‘Immoral’ Artists(11am, 19 April), takes a philosophical look at fames artists including Pablo Picasso. All lectures are 'pay what you can' with 25% of the proceeds going directly to SOLACE, a charity supporting women and girls who suffer from Gender Based Violence.
GOOGLE ARTS & CULTURE
If you’re feeling in cultural limbo during lockdown, this virtual solution may be the answer. Google’s Arts & Culturedivision has partnered with more than 500 global art museums and galleries to provide access to some of the world’s most important art collections. Take a virtual tour of the Louvre and Palace of Versailles in Paris, and New York’s MoMA – including exhibitions of artists such as Matisse and Picasso. Virtually as good as being there…
London-based Canadian artist TRATE is hosting an immersive, virtual art exhibition for all enthusiasts to enjoy, following the postponement of his gallery launch. The launch of his second series ‘Technicolour Malaise’ is a bold, evocative collection of figurative oil-on-canvas paintings. Enjoy videos, images and more from the artist.