Features/Music/Theatre/Visual Art

Green shoots and silver linings

1 April 2020

David Zampatti offers this week’s virtual arts guide, with some tantalising local and international offers.

Artists are restless, tough and innovative (they have to be, even in better times), and the impulse to work, and get that work out to audiences, is strong. Over the next few weeks, expect to see more and more work for and about the pandemic in the digital space. And be warned – some of it won’t be pretty.

In the meantime, there are some silver linings. Firstly, films of live performances that were either never screened or only in limited release.

The big news from the UK is that Britain’s National Theatre will begin streaming shows from their NT Live archives that have only been available in cinema release (get well soon, Luna, we love you!). Each show will stream for seven days, starting with the smash hit comedy that made James Corden a star, One Man, Two Guv’nors. It’s the funniest thing you’ll ever see – do not miss it!

You can also check out what they’re up to at Royal Opera House plus Sadler’s Wells new digital dance releases.

The view from the main stage orchestra pit at the Royal Opera House, photo Sim Canetty-Clarke.

There’s a lot out there, including things you might never be able or inclined to see.  An interesting way to start your exploration is a guide from the New York Times, or the Guardian’s Front Row Seats includes things obscure and avant-garde amongst more mainstream product.

Last week we pointed you at a subscription service with a New York focus, BroadwayHD.  While you’re at it, check out another arts platform, Marquee TV (subscription with 30 day free trial).

If you let your fingers walk around the web, you’ll soon find engrossing, entertaining and insightful live performances from across the art forms and from around the world. One thing before you start – don’t be afraid to pay for access. Remember, for these artists and companies this might be the only income they get in these hard times.

On the local front, our companies and artists are gearing up to work in the new paradigm. Black Swan State Theatre Company tell us they are “looking at a host of digital arts experience. Our teaching artists will be live streaming a variety of workshops to continue to provide enriching learning experiences”, and The Blue Room Theatre are already out of the blocks with the first in a series of on-line workshops

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra are out there with Bit o’ Bolero, a taste of what’s to come, and we’ve come across some lovely work from The Giovanni Consort, who were such a hit in Ancient Voices at this year’s Perth Festival.

West Australian Opera are making the most of the darkened stage at His Majesty’s Theatre with Ghost Light Opera. Each Sunday evening they will release a performance of a signature aria performed from the stage; the first, with tenor Paul O’Neill accompanied by Tommaso Pollio, is Vesti la Giubba from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.

Also this Sunday, Melbourne’s iconic MEMO music hall makes the transition from Dance Hall to Digital Venue. The venue has fastracked its digital streaming plans due to COVID 19 and will launch its first live streaming concert on Sunday 5 April at 7.30pm with a live stream of Kate “Ceberano & Co”. Tickets are just $10.

In a wonderful new development WA’s galleries are beginning to offer virtual tours of their exhibitions. Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery has 360 tours of The Long Kiss Goodbye, Boomerang – A National Symbol and Nikulinsky Naturally plus a video of Penny Coss’s recent performance in the gallery. The gallery is also streaming Zachary Bruce’s award-winning video work, The Wunder Years.

 Philippa Nikulinsky, Mistletoe Bird, 2014, 68 x 100cm, watercolour and pencil on Arches hot press paper. Lawrence Wilson Gallery’s ‘Nikulinsky Naturally’ exhibition.

Artsource is listing works by individual artists on their website, and Fremantle Arts Centre’s 2019 Revealed exhibition of new and emerging WA Aboriginal artists is also accessible thanks to a 360 virtual tour.

For more creative, local ideas head to Creative @ Home, a fabulous initiative by North Midlands Project which encourages people to stay mentally active and connected with others while having fun, getting creative and learning new things. Phase one of the program is now live, introduced by Famous Sharron and offering an enormous database of links to the arts and culture scene for adults and kids. Dive in and keep the COVID-19 blues at bay!

For more tips go to The Show Goes On In Isolation and A Movie a Day.

These details are correct at the time of publishing. Readers are encouraged to check venue/websites for the latest information.

Pictured top: Fremantle Arts Centre’s 360 virtual tour of the Revealed exhibition.

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Author —
David Zampatti

David Zampatti has been a student politician, a band manager, the Freo Dockers’ events guy, a bar owner in California, The West Australian’s theatre critic and lots of other crazy stuff. He goes to every show he’s reviewing with the confident expectation it will be the best thing he’s ever seen.

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