Virtual Picks for the week ahead 18th – 24th June 2020

It’s hard to keep up with everything that’s become available online. Fear not, we’ve done the hard work for you. 

From the free streaming of Small Island at the National Theatre, a Bjork Ballet, Jazz for Kids at the Royal Albert at Home, or to learning how to draw a Gruffalo with Alex Sheffler –  there’s lots to do, watch and enjoy this week. 

If you find it useful, please do share this and sign up to the newsletter. We’ll be sending these out every week.


National Theatre at Home: Small Island, (7pm 18th -25th June)

Filmed live during its sold-out run in 2019, the National Theatre’s epic production of Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel is streaming with National Theatre at Home to mark Windrush Day 2020.

Small Island embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.

Running Time: 2 hours 55 minutes including a short interval. Watch it here. 

Beauty and the Beast, Chichester Festival Theatre (until 19th June) 

You may think you know the story of Beauty and the Beast but director Dale Rooks has a few surprises in store in this brand new version adapted from the original fairy tale.

A visually spectacular production, it’s a tale of magic, compassion and love, full of enchanting characters, marvellous musical numbers and some deliciously scary moments, guaranteed to delight the whole family. 

There’s an activity pack to be explored and enjoyed too, scroll down to the bottom of the page for Things to do at home.  

Ages 7+ 

Watch it here. 

At Home with Radiohead

Now that you have no choice whether or not you fancy staying in Radiohead are sharing a live show from their archives every Thursday at 10pm UK/2pm PT/5pm ET.

Tune in here

The British Academy Virtual Summer Showcase (19th  – 20th June)

The annual British Academy Summer Showcase throws open its virtual doors with a free festival of ideas for curious minds. Featuring live and recorded talks, performances and demonstrations. Whether you want to learn about the psychology behind hoarding or watch a food historian make a pie fit for a king, we’ve got something for everyone. 

Tune in here to meet the brightest minds in history, psychology, music and more, and enjoy eclectic content designed to educate and inspire.

The Show Must Go On: Peter Pan ( 7pm from 19th  June for 48 hours) 

Peter Pan (rescheduled from earlier this month)  The 2014 televised version of the 1954 Peter Pan Broadway musical will be available for 48 hours.With music by Moose Charlap and Jule Styne, and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the 2014 production added new numbers and restored a song that had been cut from the show before its Broadway premiere.

It stars Allison Williams as Peter Pan, Christopher Walken as Captain Hook, Kelli O’Hara as Mrs Darling, Christian Borle as Mr Smee and Taylor Louderman as Wendy, with Minnie Driver acting as Narrator.

Watch it here

Björk Ballet by Arthur Pita, San Francisco Ballet online free until 19th June

There might be no better combination of artists than choreographer Arthur Pita and Icelandic music superstar Björk. If you’ve never seen a ballet rave—and who has?—get ready. Pita delivers that and more with his second piece for the Company, Björk Ballet, an imaginative spectacle that will make you want to jump up and dance.

Check it out here

Royal Opera House: The Magic Flute from 19th June – 3rd July

Mozart’s glorious opera is brought enchantingly to life in David McVicar’s classic production with beautiful designs by John Macfarlane.

David McVicar embraces both the seriousness and comedy of Mozart’s glorious opera, transporting us to a fantastical world of dancing animals, flying machines and dazzling starry skies. The setting provides a wonderful backdrop for Mozart’s kaleidoscopic score, from the Queen of the Night’s coloratura fireworks to Tamino and Pamina’s lyrical love duets and Papageno’s hearty, folksong-like arias.

Watch it here

The Great Get Together – Inspired by Jo Cox (19th  – 21st June)

Over the past three years communities up and down the country have come together to celebrate the life of Jo Cox MP. We’ve seen thousands of community events taking place, with people around the country showing that we have more in common. 

Here are some of their ideas for community events and activities in these new times. 

Royal Albert Home: Jazz for Kids - CHARLIE BATES – from 2pm 20th June

Albert’s Band’s jazz pianist Charlie Bates will deliver an exclusive set from his home as part of the Royal Albert Home sessions, perfect for all ages. 

Charlie will entertain with improvisation and original jazz music, which will be sure to get the whole family foot-tapping along! 

Watch it here 

Virtual West End Live, Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st June 

Virtual West End LIVE on the West End LIVE Facebook page on both Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June. The event will kick off on Saturday with a live quiz at 11am online, followed by a highlights video being streamed on the Facebook channel from 2pm. Each programme will be captioned and will be available on the page for 24 hours only, with one released on the Saturday and the other on the Sunday.

They’ll be online activities to engage and interact with, tune into live piano requests, test your musical theatre knowledge in their bespoke quizzes and lots more.

Join in here 

Father’s Day, Sunday 21st June

Check out our blog with tons of ways to make the day special during Lockdown. 

Make Music Day, Sunday 21st June 

Make Music Day aims to turn the country into a stage and offer a full spectrum of performers the opportunity to display their musical skills. Join online events including a high energy workshop exploring the use of the body as a percussive instrument, led by x-STOMP cast member Ollie Tunmer or head straight to Keeping Creative At Home and learn how to Bash the Trash! 

Find out more here  

Little Angel Theatre – Don’t Worry, Little Crab (from 11am Sunday 21st June)

For those who like: Chris Haughton’s picture books (A Bit Lost, Oh no, George!, Goodnight Everyone), Little Angel Theatre are extremely excited to be broadcasting an adaptation of Chris Haughton‘s picture book, Don’t Worry, Little Crab.

The show will be created and performed remotely from their own homes and studios to design, make, perform and film the show, in line with government restrictions.

For other Little Angel Theatre productions – see here. 

A Cautionary Tale Musical 

A new musical about growing up and growing glum

The team working on Cautionary Tale has been cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic so they’re sharing the script and score online and asking folk to help make it happen by acting it out in their own homes and sharing it on social media using #CautionaryTaleMusical. Check out some of the responses on their social media feeds or join in yourself here… 

Free tickets available. 

Explorer Stories at Royal Museums Greenwich 

Search RMG’s collections , discover epic stories of sea, space and exploration, and get expert insight from their museum curators and specialists. There’s a whole universe to discover online at Royal Museums Greenwich.

Upcoming : Windrush Day, Monday 22nd June, Learn about the summer solstice,

Watch Ships, Sea & the Stars

Plus check out their anytime activities for families here 

Celebrate International Olympic Day with Travel to Tokyo 22nd June 

What better way to kick off your summer than holding your very own Team GB and ParalympicsGB sports day!

Travel to Tokyo aims to help children aged 5–11 to develop healthy, active habits by encouraging them to try new things, get active and have fun. Travelling in teams, children follow a virtual journey of athletes heading to Tokyo, exploring Japan, discovering more about the Games and finding new ways to enjoy getting active together with their families.

Find out more here. 

The Great Walrus Tea Party at The Horniman Museum  – 24th June

From the comfort of your own home, gather your family and round up your friends and colleagues virtually and raise donations for the Horniman with your virtual Great Walrus Tea Party.

On the day, the Horniman walrus will be tweeting ‘live’ from his iceberg to celebrate the Great Walrus Tea Party. There are some prizes to give away and he will be reviewing his favourite cakes, bakes and makes. To be in with a chance of winning make sure you share your pictures, tagging @HornimanMuseum and using #walrusteaparty.

Register your virtual Great Walrus Tea Party with them to receive your fundraising pack full of great ideas and fundraising materials.


British Library – How to Draw a Gruffalo with Alex Sheffler

Follow Axel Scheffler’s process from pencil to paint, as he shows you how to draw your very own Gruffalo. We’ll give you a hint… start with the horns! You’ll be perfecting your own characters in no time.

Create animal characters for your very own stories and learn how to make a miniature book, invent your own superhero, make a pop-up book and much more. Find ideas and inspiration for all ages  here 

National Galleries Stories 

Discover the stories behind The National Gallery paintings; from female art heroes to dragon-slaying saints. There is a self-portrait guide using different techniques,  5 minute meditations and an indepth look at Gainsborough’s paintings. 

Read more here

National Portrait Gallery – Drawing Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’

Learn how to take your pencil for a walk, and other ways of drawing nature, with Bethan Durie. Recreate Van Gogh’s famous ‘Sunflowers’, or draw something you find on your daily walk or lying around the house with a How to video class. 

Watch it here

The Barbican – James and the Giant Peach Animation

Kids can make their very own animation with this workshop by artist Shelly Wain, inspired by Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.

Watch it here

Save our Music Venues 

There is a National campaign to save smaller music venues.  Without these venues the opportunities for artists and audiences to connect in a meaningful way at a local level will simply disappear in a lot of cases.

If you want to check out how to help grassroots music venues to survive this unprecedented threat go here

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