The best cultural experiences to enjoy virtually this April
31 Mar 2020 - 18:14 BY Holly Black
There are plenty of artistic offerings available during isolation, from stage shows to digital tours
Bring the National Theatre into your home
James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors © Johan Persson
The National Theatre is offering unprecedented access to its shows, with broadcasts released every Thursday at 7pm via YouTube with a limited playback period. Shows include the Tony award-winning One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden as Francis Henshall; Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and the Shakespearian classic Twelfth Night. But that’s not all, the theatre also offers behind-the-scenes clips showing just how the incredible productions are put together.
Tour ancient hidden art
Discover the world’s oldest rock art hidden in the Chauvet cave in France, thanks to Google Arts & Culture. The spectacular 36,000-year-old cave paintings and drawings are permanently inaccessible to the public because they are so fragile, but you can experience them virtually in a new online tour, which also features extensive 3D modelling and informative videos. For the more technologically savvy, it is possible to enjoy these Palaeolithic frescos via augmented reality, in the VR film The Dawn of Art, available for free download to HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets.
Take a walk through British art
John Singer Sargent, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
Take a virtual stroll through the 12 rooms that make up Tate Britain’s Walk Through British Art, with high-quality reproductions of pieces on display and a dynamic timeline. The tour spans 500 years of history, from the end of Henry VIII’s reign right up to the present. Highlights include William Hogarth’s The Painter and his Pug, John Singer Sargent’s Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose and Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion.
Discover great women artists
Katy Hessel’s Great Women Artists podcast features interviews with world-renowned artists, curators, writers and art lovers, all in the name of celebrating creative female figures. From historical names such as Frida Kahlo and Dora Maar to modern-day trailblazers like Shirin Neshat and Chantal Joffe, you will be sure to discover something new. For the more visually inclined, check out Hessel’s Instagram account, for which she originally garnered acclaim. Watch out for live video interviews with art world experts such as Talk Art star Russell Tovey, and even a ‘Live Art Quiz’ streamed via the platform, for those who miss the collective spirit of a pub quiz.
Experience the Vatican from every angle
Enjoy every inch of the Vatican Museums with 360-degree tours (essential for the exquisite ceilings). The seven main sites feature their own virtual tour complete with VR headset capabilities, so you can get up close to incredible sculpture, frescos and an unadulterated view of the usually packed Sistine Chapel. You can also enjoy close-ups of individual masterpieces, not to mention an interactive walk around St Peter’s Square accompanied by a digital tour guide, thanks to YouVisit.
Holly Black is The Art Society's Digital Editor
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