The best of going out: by staying in

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


Welcome back to the final Lockdown Lowdown, keeping you up to date with the best of online arts and entertainment in the final few days of the current lockdown.

Wells Maltings reopens on Wednesday 2 December at 10am, with our programme of events for December starting with National Theatre Live’s astonishing WAR HORSE on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 December. We have a truly packed schedule of festive entertainment back in our venue throughout December – take a look here: https://www.wellsmaltings.org.uk/month-by-month-listing/

But until then, here’s this week’s web of wonder in the comfort of your home:

Watery but Nice

We hope to be able to welcome the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists back to the Handa Gallery in February, with their annual and extremely popular open exhibition.  As all of us, they have adapted to circumstances, and have hosted this year’s selected Autumn exhibition online. An array of beautiful work, and a few interviews with the artists and award winners. A chance to purchase too. The selected exhibition runs to Sunday 6 December.


Best of British

I fell over this gem by accident, and it’s a must for any jazz fans, no matter how fringe or incidental your interests. The BBC has made a special edition of the iconic Jazz 625 programme from the 1960s (which featured jazz greats such as Art Blakey, Cleo Laine and Thelonious Monk), which celebrates some of the newest and brightest in the UK jazz firmament playing presently. An amazing line up, featuring the likes of Sons of Kemet and the wonderful Ezra Collective, with short films that explore the huge jazz scene in this country. It’s a musical joy, but also a voyage of discovery.


Jazz fans also note that the Latin jazz fusion ensemble TRYPL, featuring trumpet supremo and Maltings associate Ryan Quigley, will be appearing with us live on 9 December. Tickets available here: https://www.wellsmaltings.org.uk/shows/trypl-3/


Bought and Sold

Amantha Edmead appeared in my recommendations last week, as one of the storyteller’s in Tales from the Woodshed. She’s here again this week, with one of the most powerful performances I’ve seen for years. The play SOLD, presented by Black theatre collective Kuumba Nia Arts, was one of the highlights of the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, and told the forgotten real story of the enslaved Mary Prince, and her first hand account of the brutality of the slave trade in the 19th century. Combining music and drumming, this is Black British theatre at its absolute best, and is now available on demand to see at home, from performances at Oxford’s Old Fire Station Arts Centre. The experience of being up close and personal with this amazing show is faithfully reproduced – a must see.


Fast, but not so Furious

Another offering from the prolific and extremely busy Susannah Self – this time, one of her pieces forms part of this year’s Spitalfields Festival, with a live online concert this Saturday 5 December at 3pm under the title Fast Food, Fast Music. Her piece FAST is one of nine commissions from women composers, a collection of bite sized premieres. Tuck in here:



End of a Civilisation

The Finborough Theatre in west London has a reputation for hard hitting and innovative drama, often dealing with topics and subjects off the beaten track. Thinking of the harm that humans can do to each other and the rejection of and intolerance to ethnic groups and cultures after re-watching SOLD, I was reminded of this controversial piece written by Finborough’s director Neil McPherson, on the centenary of the Armenian genocide in 1915, with 1.5 million deaths and the end of a 3,000 year old civilisation. Much like SOLD, this documentary piece I WISH TO DIE SINGING lifts the lids on the lasting impacts of human atrocity – and how these things are never quite over.



Spoons, Biscuits and Scars

I simply must mention DaDa Fest’s International Festival, which runs until 3 December, with an array of free online events and activities by disabled artists. DaDa Fest has been running for over 20 years now, championing the work of d/Deaf and disabled artists, and under this year’s theme of Translations, presents work as diverse as a podcast series, digital art, a board game and even a fitness video. Don’t worry if you miss the end of the main festival on Thursday, as much of the work will still be online for a while after.



Simply Divine!

It’s hard to imagine, but the music of The Divine Comedy has been with us for 30 years now. Neil Hannon’s work has been a soundtrack to my adult life, with his searing and quirky social commentaries, his baroque musicality and his humour, so I was delighted to see that one of the concerts from his recent 30th anniversary residency at The Barbican is now available to watch on demand. Hannon is nothing short of a national treasure, so this comes highly recommended. Hurry though, as you only have a couple of days to download the concert, and a further 48 hours to watch it. To quote the man himself from 1996 – go on; you know you want to!



So that’s this week’s recommendations everyone. We’ll be turning our attention to our own programme during December, but I’ll probably share some further online snippets with you for Christmas: I have heard that Sophie Ellis Bextor will be hosting a special festive kitchen disco …

Stay safe, be strong and be kind – and don’t forget to book those tickets for December HERE



See previous Lockdown Lowdown Listings here: