BBC Arts announces new programmes for Culture In Quarantine
March 25, 2020
Virtual Festival of the Arts includes:
- Extraordinary access to shuttered exhibitions and performances around the country
- Emergency fund with Arts Council England to support independent artists
- A virtual book festival curated with Kit de Waal
- A puppet show from Margaret Atwood for Front Row Late
- Bac Beatbox Academy’s hit show Frankenstein
- Classic Shakespeares with the RSC
- A brand new play from David Greig
Beginning this month, Culture In Quarantine across television, radio and online, will give the nation access to the arts at a time when we need it the most. Providing extraordinary access to shuttered exhibitions, performances and museums, a virtual book festival and much more besides. The BBC mission is to increase access to the arts, at a time when the buildings that support them are closed, and to support artists and arts organisations in the process.
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says: “It’s important during this period that we maintain access not just to news and information, but to the arts and culture. For many people they are a valuable part of their lives and a way of stimulating imagination, thought, and escapism. It’s a vital part of who we are as individuals and part of our identity as a nation.
“So I’m delighted that we have been able to work with organisations up and down the country to deliver everything from virtual access to exhibitions and book festivals, through to performances. There is something for everyone. By working together, we can still have a vibrant period of culture to brighten our lives.”
Culture In Quarantine features innovative ways to connect with the country, including:
Culture In Quarantine Fund
As part of a wider collaboration between BBC Arts and Arts Council England, a new fund will be launched to commission and distribute around 25 new works by independent artists, in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. This will be reflected throughout the nations.
Access to Exhibitions
Audiences will get extraordinary access to shuttered exhibitions and closed museums in a four part series, Museum In Quarantine.
The Big Book Weekend
A three-day virtual books festival co-founded by the authors Kit de Waal and Molly Flatt, with support from BBC Arts and publishing start-up MyVLF, The Big Book Weekend is a virtual festival that brings together the best of the cancelled British literary festivals. Video interviews, panel discussions, and in conversation sessions will be broadcast as live across three days over the first bank holiday weekend in May.
A repertory theatre service across platforms, with productions from the best of the BBC and the UK dance and theatre scene’s recent output; including a brand new play by David Greig on Radio 3 and new work from the Balletboyz on BBC Four, alongside six classical Shakespeares with the RSC as part of an education initiative for BBC Four, featuring stars like Christopher Eccleston and Hugh Quarshie, and with educational tools online for children learning these plays on the school syllabus.
Online Culture Resource
BBC Arts digital will be repurposed as Culture In Quarantine to support and showcase the work of the wider culture sector.
Front Row Late
Playing the part of presenter and chief engineer, Mary Beard will host the new series of Front Row Late on BBC Two from her study. Special guests include Margaret Atwood, who has created her own puppet show, in isolation, to accompany her narration of a story by Edgar Allan Poe.