The best of going out: by staying in
Handpicked arts, theatre, music and entertainment online courtesy of Wells Maltings director, Simon Daykin.
Despite a few wobbles over vaccines this week, it seems that the country is progressing well towards re-opening. With the vernal equinox this weekend officially heralding spring, and more outdoor social mixing likely to be permitted from 29 March, we are all full of anticipation and hope.
Nevertheless, lockdown is still with us, and we strive to keep you entertained and delighted in your homes for the time being. My attention now is on programming work back at the Maltings from May, and we will have some exciting news to share in the coming couple of weeks on that.
Our Zoom programmes will continue into May, with the next Square Eyes Film and TV Quiz, with our friends at Screen next the Sea, next Thursday 25 March, and the return of our Strictly Speaking open mic poetry event on 15 April.
So although my focus is on programmes from May, I’ll continue to share my Lockdown Lowdown selection for a few more weeks. Thank you for all your emails and messages, and I am so pleased that you have felt inspired and entertained by what I can share. Here’s this week’s Fringey fiesta of fun.
Just a Little Off the Fringe, Please
This weekend’s highlight has to be the stunning Norwich Fringe Festival, chock-full of theatre, comedy, music and visual arts – and this year, unsurprisingly, it’s all online. Very reasonably priced day tickets will give you access to all sorts of goodies, all made locally. I have to recommend Mark Kitto’s Chinese Boxing on Saturday 20 March, which lockdown prevented us from premiering at Wells Maltings in February (it will re-appear in the summer), but also take a look at Michael Knight and Jasmine Kahlia’s Divine Beings on Sunday; and confessional comedy Natters of Life and Death from Ann Hirst on Friday.
Dream into Action
If you are quick, you can catch the final performances of Dream, brought to us by Royal Shakespeare Company, Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Philharmonia Orchestra. It’s inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: a live performance set in a virtual forest, using motion capture and other online wizardry to give audiences a unique opportunity to influence what happens. It’s a real joy, and beautiful too.
The classical music form of lieder is hugely popular amongst our audiences, and will return to our programmes later in the year. March and April marks Leeds Lieder, with a range of performance from some of the finest voices and pianists live streamed from Leeds Town Hall. This year, renowned artists including Dame Sarah Connolly, Gerald Finley, Fatma Said, Kitty Whately and Julius Drake perform with up-and-coming young artists, with concerts broadcast live and then available on demand for two weeks – so no excuse for missing a thing.
With lockdown set to lift gradually, the Without Walls arts consortium has embraced the outdoors, with a programme for 2021 from 21 artists made specifically al fresco. Appearing at open spaces across the country, including as part of the planned Norfolk and Norwich Festival from 17 May, the full programme combines established street artists with new artists, all designed to mark the recovery of the cultural sector during 2021. Take a look at the work commissioned, and then look out for it in an open space near you.
And on that note, look out for news from us on work we are creating outdoors in Wells at the end of May. Something to rekindle your performance appetites!
Finally, a shout out to our regular creative associate and contributor Susannah Self, whose lockdown has been a flurry of activity and creative wonder. Her latest commission from English Touring Opera to contribute to their SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) series of workshops exploring singing, Makaton signing and sensory play is definitely worth sharing, if only for its name. Enjoy Squawky’s Magical Makaton and Susie’s contributions right here. More from her in future Maltings programmes.
That’s plenty for now. Stay safe and well as the days lengthen and get warmer.
SEE PREVIOUS LOCKDOWN LOWDOWN LISTINGS HERE: