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Spending loads of time on social media, looking at photos of the time BC (before coronavirus), back when we were free? You’re not alone – but you’re also not helping yourself get out of your lockdown funk. 

Thankfully, we’re getting more and more creative about the things we can do without leaving our homes: Instagram workouts; pub quizzes and afterparties on Zoom; video dating. The world wide web has its pros and cons, but almost limitless access to all the virtual corners of the world is currently definitely one of its advantages. 

There are heaps of resources available online – some new, and some that have actually been around for yonks and we just didn’t know about – that means we can keep our hearts and souls full of cultural inspiration from around the world. In fact, some of these resources are giving us access to things we probably would never have had the chance to visit. 

And what’s more, by streaming a production from an independent theatre or signing up for an online dance class, you’re supporting small independent businesses that could really do with our help. Everyone’s a winner. 

So get the wine, get comfy and get acquainted with this lovely lot… 

 

5 ideas for experiencing culture without leaving your living room

Stream theatre performances from your sofa

Culture at home | Shakespeare's Globe

(Photo credit: Sarah Lee)

There’s more to the world than Netflix, you know (although it is admittedly excellent). Several independent theatres or productions are streaming performances straight to your living room, and the one we’re most excited about is the on-stage version of the smash-hit Fleabag. It was near-impossible to get tickets when the show was on Broadway and the West End, but now you can watch it without even getting up from your sofa. Tickets for the real deal were going for as much as £600 on Viagogo, but you can now feast your eyes on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s theatrical genius for as little as £4 – and it’s done on a donation basis. All the money raised will be helping those on the frontline of the corona crisis and those in need, including the theatre community.


If you fancy something more old-school, you can also rent or buy plays from The Globe, or watch their premieres on Youtube for free (go on, though, give a donation). The premiere was Hamlet, and upcoming productions include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale and more. We wonder what Willy Shakespeare would have made of corona… 


Go on a virtual tour of a gallery or museum 

Culture at home | Florence, Italy

(Photo credit: Mariamichelle)

Ah Florence: its hallowed streets are an art historian’s dream… and its galleries are packed with, er, tourists. The chance to walk the empty halls of the Uffizi is rare, to say the least – unless you’re an intrepid Internet tourist. Google Arts & Culture can take you on a virtual tour of some of the world’s best galleries and museums… with no one else there. So you can finally ponder the mysteries of the Mona Lisa for as long or as little as you like. Our favourites are the Uffizi, obviously, but also Frida Kahlo’s Blue House in Mexico City, where lines are long and the crowds are… less than ideal. And it’s way cheaper than a flight to Central America, right? 

Stream a live concert

Culture at home | You can livestream concerts from your sofa

(Photo credit: ktphotography)

You’ve laughed till you cried at Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag; you’ve observed Botticelli’s Birth of Venus; what next? So clubs and concerts are a no-no, but loads of artists are turning to the internet to stream their latest work, James Blake and Years & Years among them. Many are doing Instagram or Facebook Lives, while smaller artists are turning to Tiny Desk Concert. Coldplay’s Chris Martin streamed a concert from at home on Instagram, even taking requests for music the band haven’t played live in years. OK, it’s not the real thing, but there are some perks too… 

Do an at-home dance class

Culture at home | a dance class

(Photography credit: joakant)

Get rid of your exercise mat and don your best sassy outfit: it’s time to learn how to dance. You can sign up to online salsa and other dance classes that’ll have you strutting your stuff in no time (sorry, neighbours). If you’re more the type to sit quietly and appreciate dancing than actually take part, Sadlers Wells Theatre is also sharing its most recent productions on its website. 

Join an online book club 

Culture at home | Books That Matter

Put all that reading to good use and either make a book club with your friends, or join one online (we like the one from feminist book subscription service Books That Matter). You might end up reading and enjoying something you’d never have chosen yourself, and it’s a brilliant chance for more longed-for social interaction. 

FURTHER READING

Want to make sure older friends and family have access to all this too? Here's our guide to how to get the older generation up and running on the Internet.

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