Bring the arts into your home this holiday season with digital options from some of the best cultural providers in the world. Whether you are looking for the festive cheer of a traditional British panto or if you want to explore a museum from your armchair, we have some top tips to help you stay full of cheer.
Marquee TV – This subscription based performing arts platform helps arts providers bring in much needed funds while the theatres are dark and allows audiences to continue to support them.
For culture-vulture consumers it’s an attractive option as it provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for high-quality theatre, ballet and opera at a reasonable price. A wide variety of top-quality theatre houses have made both back catalogue and current shows available here, think: The Royal Shakespeare Company, Donmar Warehouse, London Philharmonic, Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, Moscow Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Glydebourne and more.
Family friendly titles include lots of Christmas favourites – Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and at least three different versions of The Nutcracker!
Other large scale production houses have opted for their own streaming services. The UK’s National Theatre At Home launched this month offering both 3 day rental or subscription options. They will also be offering their traditional Christmas Pantomime (Dick Whittington) on YouTube for free at 3pm on Wednesday 23 December and it will be then available on demand until midnight on Sunday 27 December.
Over at Shakespeare’s Globe they have The Globe Player where you can rent or buy the download of some of the best Shakespeare performances of the last few years for similar prices. Star-studded casts and good videography guaranteed.
Here in the Netherlands the Nederlands Dans Theater have started a similar service (NDTV) for their latest productions, on a ticketed basis. Check out their website for updates, behind the scenes interviews with dancers and more.
Missing live concerts most of all? Well, you can find a good run down of both indie and pop artists’ up-coming live streams over at Songkick. Support your favourite artists with donations or by purchasing merch as you watch intimate performances filmed on location, sometimes from home.
Fan favourite, NPR Tiny Desk concerts, are also continuing their live performances with artists of all genres playing from home. You can find both new tunes and well-known acts for free at their YouTube channel.
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra is playing all nine symphonies of Beethoven this month for viewers and listeners at home as a prelude to the Grand Finale on New Year’s Eve – Beethoven’s Ninth, played by the full orchestra with chorus and soloists. All nine symphonies can be watched and heard free of charge on the orchestra’s website.
If you’re sick of every board game in your cupboard by now then you could try one of these instead. This year’s craze for Among Us continues and the easy rules, controls and private group function make it very accessible to all levels of gamer ability, so yep Gran can play too. It’s available on your browser or in the app, and it’s free.
Or, if you get fed up with all the comfort and joy at home, then you can also download the hit ‘party game for horrible people’ – Cards Against Humanity – and make your own deck. There’s also a new online version to play with horrid friends who are further afield.
Google Earth VR has been available in VR for a while now but as headsets are finally becoming more commonly affordable this kind of exciting educational experience is more accessible than ever. If you have an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift you can go flying over the Grand Canyon from your own sofa.
For something more concrete the Google Arts & Culture site provides 360° tours around some of the world’s greatest museums and cultural sites, like: The British Museum, The Guggenheim, Sydney Opera House and The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. These can simply be enjoyed from a web browser or cardboard headset.
It’s worth giving a particular mention to The Louvre here. During the first lockdown in the Spring, Paris’ most famous museum saw a surge in online visitors, in large part thanks to its pioneering 360° options and use of VR.
The 7 minute, Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass experience it created with HTC Vive arts is still available as an app, allowing you to get up close to the tiny painting and learn about it, without someone else’s head blocking the view. High-quality virtual tours around various parts of the museum are available directly from their website.
Meanwhile, the Mauritshuis in The Hague has just earned itself the title of ‘first gigapixel museum in the world’. It is putting its entire collection online, with high resolution photographs showing every tiny detail. More paintings will be added in the coming months.
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