Whether it’s music, theatre or dance you’re craving, the internet is your friend for a culturally rich lockdown. Sure, it’s not as good as being there: but there are upsides, like watching in your trackies and having the fridge nearby.
The play’s the thing
- Melbourne Theatre Company has just released Joanna Murray-Smith’s Berlin on its online portal. The romantic thriller revolves around a one-night stand in the German capital – with a twist. Our reviewer praised its humour, emotional intelligence, and downright sexy stage chemistry.
- Red Stitch’s Playlist is online, bringing two new short shows to audiences: Seers by Morgan Rose, about two teenagers facing an uncertain future, and Jonah by Eric Gardiner, in which two brothers make plans while their father is missing. It also features interviews with Red Stitch head Ella Caldwell and the writers of the two plays.
- Darkfield Radio, who create spooky immersive audio experiences you can download and play at home, are about to launch their second season (on June 25). In the meantime you can visit their site for encore access to their Season 1 shows Double, Visitors and Eternal.
- Sun Runners is an interactive sci-fi audio adventure co-created with Windmill Theatre, for kids aged 8+. There’s a special offer for Victorians in lockdown: download the Audioplay app, enter the code 321 TakeOff in the school code section, and you get the full series free!
- For some of the world’s best theatre, check out National Theatre at Home, which had 15 million views over four months last year. Currently on show are Amadeus and The Cherry Orchard, plus interviews with cast members, including Dame Judi Dench, and a peak behind the scenes at set design, costumes and more.
Michael Wahr and Grace Cummings star in MTC’s Berlin.Credit:Jeff Busby
- Beethoven fans will be pleased to hear the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra replayed Symphony No.3 Eroica online as a “lockdown special” on YouTube. Their new MSO.LIVE portal is filling up with Beethoven, Brahms and more. And principal conductor Ben Northey hosts the Up Late series, in which he interviews musicians, who choose a favourite piece and talk all things art and life.
- Created last year and one of the arts’ online success stories, the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall has a full program, with a stream of the Australian World Orchestra’s performance on Thursday.
- The online music festival and community IsolAid, another initiative from last year to help musicians get through the lockdown, is still going, and has switched to a format where artists get income from the stream – or you can donate. Look out for soloist Nynno and the band Gym and Swim (isolaidfestival.com).
- Music Victoria updates its Spotify list each week, with the latest drop featuring Guy Blackman, Adalita, Jen Cloher, JXCKY and Kee’ahn. The idea is to showcase artists and their work and to help them find a revenue stream. With concerts cancelled (looking at you Marlon Williams), music venues again shuttered and big audiences again unlikely for a while, they need all the help they can get.
Dance away the heartache
- The Australian Ballet has a dedicated TV channel showcasing the classical dance form, from full-length performances including Sleeping Beauty reimagined as Beauty by recently retired David McAllister and Graeme Murphy’s modern-day take on Swan Lake. New artistic director David Hallberg also interviews an array of players.
- If you’re feeling active, perhaps you can DIY. An at-home series from the Ballet is designed to help you learn to dance at home, tutu optional.
- Should contemporary dance be more your speed, Chunky Move has created a Victoria Together guided movement class, directed by COCO and Maximillian. For the more sedentary, take a seat – and a deep dive into the dance company’s archive.
Amber Scott and Adam Bull in Graeme Murphy’s celebrated take on Swan Lake in 2002. Credit:Liz Ham
Solace in celluloid
- If you’re keen to expand your film repertoire, try Cinema 3, ACMI’s home away from home. It’s a selection of curated online material you can get lost in for hours, including Australian films such as Warwick Thornton’s We Don’t Need A Map, as well as global works like Yasujiro Ozu’s 1953 Tokyo Story, which has been described as the best film of all time – big call, but check it out yourself and see what you think. All movies are available to rent.
- Lido cinemas has moved to the living room. Check out their slate of Australian and international cinema, including The Dry, which our critic gave four stars.
- Film buffs can tune into SBS World Movies any time of the day for a grab-bag of offerings from Hollywood to the obscure, including Killing Them Softly starring Brad Pitt on Friday and the family-friendly life story of an Indian boy adopted by an Australian family retracing his birth family in Lion on Sunday.
Brad Pitt in Killing Them Softly.
Art for art’s sake
- Frustrated by international travel bans? Take a virtual tour of some of the world’s best galleries, from the Uffizi to the Met. Prefer fashion to art? Search the more than 1.2 million objects in the V&A’s collections.
- Our very own NGV has a packed online library of stories behind their Collection works, exhibitions, virtual tours, essays, interviews and more.
- If you feel like exploring the cutting edge of Australian contemporary art, Gertrude Contemporary has an archive of interviews with current and former studio artists: visit their studio page.
The Tribuna in the Uffizi gallery, FlorenceCredit:Alamy
- Looking for more esoteric offerings? Maria Popova’s website Brain Pickings (brainpickings.org) is always worth a look – this week covering Emily Dickinson on loss and Thoreau’s ever-timely musings on the joy of nature. The latter, at least, is something most of us can continue to enjoy in real life, within a five-kilometre radius of our homes.
- If you’re a regular at book launches, book clubs and meet-the-author events, check out Literary Listings, which collates all the booky goings on around town in a handy list: including the online ones.
- You can take a virtual tour of the State Library’s exhibition, The Changing Face of Victoria, from home.
- Tiktokkers might want to check out the Rainbow History Class, which offers queer and trans history lessons. One of the latest posts reminisces about Play School’s then scandal-inducing 2004 episode featuring a young girl going to the park with her gay mothers.
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