The best of going out: by staying in

Handpicked arts, theatre, music and entertainment online courtesy of Wells Maltings director, Simon Daykin.

Here we are again – all locked down and nowhere to go for the time being.
We’ll continue to do our best to keep you entertained during what we hope will be the final confinement before jabbing our way back to normality.
Here’s this week’s cornucopia of cultural confection, the first of what we hope will not be too many – for all the right reasons.


Andrea Chénier

A Right Royal Revolution
A real treat with which to begin. Royal Opera House is back on the stream wagon, with some cracking titles to relive and enjoy again. From today, 8 January, you can enjoy David McVicar’s superb and historically sublime production of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier from 2015, with internationally acclaimed tenor Jonas Kaufmann. It’s available to own for just £3, and is one of the best operatic productions I’ve seen in a while.  Check out other titles and concerts from ROH too.



Badgers, Brexit and Borders
Regular readers will know that the BFI Archive is a very rich seam, and you can easily lose a day in plundering the depths of the strange, the quirky, and the thought provoking meanderings of film makers past and present. Here’s something that rose to the top for me, that combines these three things. Astrid Goldsmith’s short animated film Quarantine is an allegory for our times: a reflection of how culture can truly be exchanged in a post Brexit world, told through a troupe of Morris dancing badgers. Yes, you read correctly. It’s quirky, it’s a little strange, but it’s certainly thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining. Enjoy its full 13 minute glory.




The Strife of Bath
Many theatre companies responded creatively to the challenges of lockdown, re-imagining and restaging their work for either virtual or – as in our case with our two collaborations with fEAST Theatre – socially distanced audiences. RoughHouse Theatre’s Unknown, written by Dougie Blaxland, focused on the plight of the homeless in one of the UK’s most affluent cities – Bath – and how faceless our society often seems. It was made for the stage, but was reworked into an audio production. It’s intimate and moving, with stunning performances.



Ears, Eyes and the East
I mentioned in November our forthcoming partnership project with Open University Sounding Out Wells, sharing the audio piece Doggerland from the OU’s earlier Sounding Coastal Change project. My background research has led naturally to the work of Eastern Ear and in particular their Ear of the Edgeland podcasts, which they refer to as an explorative and alternative look at Norfolk. It’s interesting stuff, and gives us plenty of food for thought for our own project post-lockdown.



Oh, You Know, The One That Goes …
And finally. We’ve all been there. We know the theme, the advert, even the music on hold – and it sounds very familiar. But what the heck is it? The BBC has compiled a short fun quiz to test your knowledge of those all-too-familiar classical themes, and you may be surprised at how many you know. It’s not here, but I’ll give a special prize to anyone who can remember and name the French piano piece on the Cadbury’s Bournville adverts in the late 70s.



And if cultural brainteasers are your thing, join us for two special Zoom quizzes on music, TV and film coming up soon.


So that’s this week’s lowdown. More in a week or so – stay safe and well at home during this lockdown period.




See previous Lockdown Lowdown Listings here:





Our Lockdown Zoom Programme