| EDITORIAL |
Cultural businesses in Newcastle and beyond all shut their doors last month, as social distancing measures took effect and we were all instructed to stay at home.
The true lasting impact of these temporary closures remains uncertain. But the good news is that, for the time-being at least, many venues and organisations are now sharing inspiring creative content online that we can all enjoy in a few simple clicks.
If you’re missing your arts and culture fix out there in the real world, here are a few ideas to explore digitally over the coming weeks…
Virtual author events from Forum Books
Indie bookseller Forum Books, with wonderful bookshops in Corbridge and Newcastle, is going live with a series of special ‘At Home With’ events.
This new initiative brings together Forum Books and three other independent bookshops to collaboratively host an exciting programme of author events via social media.
The stellar line-up this April currently includes Costa Book of the Year-winning author, Sebastian Barry; Peep Show star Robert Webb, who will chat about his debut novel Come Again; and popular food writer and anti-poverty campaigner, Jack Monroe.
Contemporary art at The Biscuit Factory
The Biscuit Factory art, craft and design gallery in Newcastle’s Ouseburn valley unveiled its new spring exhibition in early March.
The show is headlined by the shortlisted artwork from its eclectic Contemporary Young Artist Award, an annual prize that spotlights up and coming talent from across the UK. You can still view the shortlist online and even vote for your favourite.
For a little escapism (something that’s much-needed at the moment!) admire other artworks from the spring show online too, encompassing dreamy landscapes, abstract portraits and beautifully crafted glass and ceramic sculptures. On Instagram, the gallery will also be sharing interiors inspiration on how to style your home with pieces from its new collection.
The beauty of dance with balletLORENT
The phenomenal team at locally-based dance theatre company balletLORENT may not be able to tour at the moment, but luckily for us, we can still engage with their creative content over the coming weeks as they share pre-recorded activity and behind the scenes clips on social media.
Over on Facebook, you can already find ‘in conversation with’ and ‘making of’ films about the company’s mesmerising production of Rumpelstiltskin. Plus, watch a previously shared online class from dancer Gavin Coward and try the moves for yourself!
Comedy genius from The Stand
The Stand is ‘keeping the laughter alive’ by streaming a specially edited comedy show on Saturday nights at 8.30pm. It’s been going down a treat, with this awesome online performance attracting a combined audience of 100,000 viewers so far.
The show features the best crop of UK comedy talent – highlights include actor and writer Miles Jupp, known for Johnny English Reborn and Sherlock Holmes; winner of the Daily Telegraph Open Mic competition Mike Watson; and BBC New Comedy Award 2018 finalist, Amy Matthews, among many others.
Catch the show on YouTube via your SmartTV, phone, tablet or PC.
Artistic flair from BALTIC
The iconic BALTIC in Gateshead has shared a variety of enjoyable and, as always, thought provoking content to watch and listen to online.
Not only can you virtually ‘visit’ current exhibitions from Abel Rodríguez, Judy Chicago and Imran Perretta and listen to audio recordings of curators’ tours, but you can also enjoy ‘make and meet’ videos from artists Bethan Maddocks, Sophie Lisa Smith and Mat Fleming.
A new fortnightly podcast will also delve into BALTIC’s exhibitions and research, led by a series of special guests. Writer Daisy Hildyard hosts the first, which explores Animalesque – an exhibition that rethinks the human position in the world through a curated selection of film and video, drawing, sculpture, installation and sound art.
Oh, and let’s not forget the kittiwake-cam live feed and virtual tour of the viewing gallery with its fabulous views over the River Tyne!
Support the North East’s arts and culture scene…
SO many other venues and businesses are busy adapting and sharing great digital content for our enjoyment while we all stay safe indoors.
Look out for some fun social media campaigns to get involved with, like Dance City’s #DCdanceanyway and special call outs for original new work, too.
If you want to say thank you, whether it’s by making a donation, purchasing a gift voucher to redeem at a later date, or booking tickets for upcoming shows at the end of the year and into 2021 – this will make a world of difference to these organisations right now.
As Live Theatre aptly says on its Facebook page: “This is just an interval, we’ll shine bright again soon.”