Monday, 4 May 2020

Where to get your cultural fix while at home

Music and Dance

Miley Cyrus bright minded
Opening scene of Bright Minded

Miley Cyrus: Bright Minded

Pop star Miley Cyrus’ quirky Instagram Live series featured a star-studded list of guest stars, including Reese Witherspoon, Elton John, Hailey Bieber, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Filmed from the comfort of her own home, the daily show (Mondays to Fridays) had a raw but intimate feel and ran between 30 to 40 minutes. The homemade opening credits came with a catchy theme song (crooned by her, of course) to boot. After its launch in March, Cyrus moved on to “highlighting heroes” and shining the spotlight on individuals who have been working tirelessly during the pandemic. The last episode aired on April 19 but you can still catch episodes on her Instagram account.

Jason Mraz’s La La La Livestream

The folksy American singer-songwriter has been putting on a live show once a week on Wednesdays. Filmed against a backdrop of musical equipment, Mraz’s first few episodes on Youtube, all under 50 minutes, feature the 42-year-old casually strumming a guitar as he chats about everything under the sun, such as his thoughts about the Covid-19 situation, in between belting out some of his best-loved tunes. Watch if you are a fan of Mraz’s spontaneous creativity.

James Bay’s guitar lessons

The English singer, known for his gruff emotional vocals and messy mane, is giving weekly lessons on how to play some of his best hits (“Let it Go”, “Hold Back the River”) on the guitar. He starts off his Instagram Live show by playing the whole song, before he breaks it down into the technical stuff, covering finger work and more. Great for budding musicians or if you just want to see the crooner in a laid-back setting.

Billboard Live at Home
Enjoy intimate concerts as stars partner Billboard for a cause

Billboard Live at Home

Billboard has been holding a series of mini at-home concerts since late March. There are dozens of shows up already, and artists have included Jewel, Hozier, Echosmith, Tori Kelly and Hailey Reinhart. The effort also serves as a fundraiser, where artists work with Billboard to raise money for a non-profit of their choice.

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts

Fans of Tiny Desk Concerts know that they typically involve big names (think Adele, Coldplay and Taylor Swift), often with their bands, playing acoustic sets while huddled close behind a desk at the National Public Radio offices in Washington DC. Making the most of the current working-from-home situation, NPR has launched Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts series, which strips things down even further, with musicians performing from their own homes. Guests so far have included Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee, Laura Marling and King Princess.

Huayi 2017 Eli Hsieh Esplanade
Taiwanese musician Eli Hsieh at Huayi festival. Photo credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay/Lee Chang Loong

Esplanade’s The Show Goes On…line

Shows at Singapore’s esteemed performing arts theatre might have been postponed but it has been releasing special highlights and never-before-seen footage from old performances every week since March. Called The Show Goes On…line presented as part of Esplanade Offstage, you can now view musical performances from local artists such as Kelly Poon, Jeremy Monteiro and Fredo, the frontman of legendary ’70s Singapore band The Flybaits. Expect performances from Eli Hsieh, Imran Ajmain and more in its May line-up.

Ailey All Access
The dance company is offering dance resources online for free

Ailey All Access

From virtual dance classes to original short films from the dance community and full-length performances, this new streaming series by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater hopes that dance aficionados can “still find comfort and joy in the beauty of dance” while staying at home.

Metropolitan Opera House
The Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Photo credit: Sean Pavone/

The Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera in New York has rolled out the Nightly Met Opera Streams, showcasing encore presentations of its Live in HD series daily. Free for the duration of its closure, each production will remain available for 23 hours after it’s been aired. Kickstarting the series on 16 March was the 2010 HD performance of Bizet’s Carmen, conducted by Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Upcoming shows include Puccini’s La Rondine and Anthony Minghella’s production of Madama Butterfly.

Paris Opéra Ballet

The French ballet company is streaming classic ballets and operas from the archives for free on its website. Productions on its line-up include Don Pasquale, Cinderella and Carmen.


National Theatre at Home
From Jane Eyre to Twelfth Night, UK’s National Theatre is offering excellent theatre productions you can watch from your living room

National Theatre at Home

Enjoy world class theatre from the comfort of your home, as the English National Theatre releases plays that were previously filmed live on stage. Each production will be free to watch for the duration of one week. Past plays include One Man, Two Guvnors featuring James Corden as Francis Henshall, a bold reimagining of Jane Eyre and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Also available are behind-the-scenes clips on the set design and cast interviews.


The online streaming service for contemporary performance, theatre and dance is offering free access to all content on its platform for the month of April. To view, choose a performance, pick the 48-hour rental option and add it to your cart. Check out and use the code ARTATHOME20. Artists featured on include Ahamefule Oluo, Beth Gill, Okwui Okpokwasili, Pat Graney, Young Jean Lee, Crystal Pite and more.

Theatre Without Theatre

This new Instagram account hopes to “fill the current artistic void at curtain time” with contributions from theatre artists. These include song recordings, theatrical performances, interviews, rehearsals of halted productions, conversations and more. Its first production featured a monologue from Nicholas Podany, who plays Albus Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 

Leave a Light On

This initiative, launched by Lambert Jackson Productions and the Theatre Café, features West End stars performing a 45-minute live piano set from the café, and you can stream it online for a small fee. Not only does it give artists a space for expression, it also provides them a source of income as proceeds will be split between the artist, the production company and the café. Several concerts take place each day and performers include Laura Baldwin from Waitress, Sophie Evans from Wicked and Dean John-Wilson from Aladdin.

BBC culture in quarantine
An extensive schedule of cultural activities can be found in BBC’s initiative

BBC’s Culture in Quarantine

This expansive virtual festival of the arts by the BBC hopes to keep culture alive in people’s lives by bringing music, drama, dance, visual arts and even a virtual book festival to those at home. Running across the platforms of radio, television and digital, it will include screenings of Mike Bartlett’s hit play Albion and Emma Rice’s Angela Carter adaptation, Wise Children.


Save With Stories

Hollywood actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner are behind this Instagram initiative which sees celebrities – at home and sans make-up – reading children’s stories aloud to provide fun for kids (and respite for parents) who are stuck at home. Expect big names such as Laura Dern, Chris Pratt, Brie Larson and Jake Gyllenhaal. Donations are welcome and proceeds will go to Save the Children and No Kid Hungry.

Book Depository’s #readtogether

The online book retailer has organised a series of book readings that will thrill bibliophiles. Encompassing genres from fiction and poetry to children’s literature, hear authors such as include Jeffrey Archer, Heather Morris, Will Dean and Lang Leav read excerpts from their latest works.

Julia Donaldson
An entertaining series by the beloved children’s book author

Julia Donaldson

The English writer of classic children’s books such as The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom launched a weekly series on Facebook called Julia Donaldson and Friends. Guests include long-term collaborator Axel Scheffler, who has illustrated many of her most famous books, playing the guitar. The first instalment highlights her book A Squash and a Squeeze, and it involves singing, puppets and a drawing lesson, all with Julia’s soothing, quirky neighbour persona.

Mac Barnett

Known for children’s books such as Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, the American author is reading from his picture books on Instagram in a series he named Mac’s Book Club: Chapter Books After Dark. Like a cool, much-younger uncle, the author delivers gently irreverent readings of his works, such as the Mac B Kid Spy book series and I Love You Like a Pig.

SEE ALSO: 6 creative spaces in Singapore for an artsy afternoon

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