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Coventry's Belgrade Theatre has launched an online programme of activity to inspire and entertain its audiences during lockdown.
The theatre's Between Stages initiative features an online content hub with a range of shows to watch remotely. There are also craft activities and education projects to try at home, behind the scenes podcasts, blogs and videos. There's even a virtual exhibition.
Highlights so far include the critically acclaimed Wise Children (main image and below), which is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer as part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine programme. Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre with Wise Children, the Old Vic, Oxford Playhouse and York Theatre Royal, this “big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartache” sees director Emma Rice bring her exuberantly impish vision to Angela Carter’s last great novel. Following its opening in London, the show was staged at the Belgrade in Spring 2019 - the only venue to see Rice herself step into the role of Nora Chance.
From Wednesday 22 April, audiences will also be able to enjoy the recent adaptation of YA novel Crongton Knights, which premiered in Coventry in February this year before embarking on a UK tour, sadly cut short by the lockdown. Co-produced by the Belgrade Theatre with Pilot Theatre, Derby Theatre and York Theatre Royal, the show was co-directed by the Belgrade’s 2021 Co-Artistic Director Corey Campbell (Club 2B, Freeman, Noughts and Crosses).
Using beatboxing, physical theatre and original songs, it tells the story of the Magnificent Six, a group of teenagers living on an inner-city estate who band together to help a friend in need. Co-directors Corey Campbell and Esther Richardson and writers Alex Wheatle and Emteaz Hussain will deliver a special “opening night” introduction from 6.45pm. The show will then be available to watch for free until Saturday 9 May.
Other shows available to watch online include Original Theatre Company’s productions of The Habit of Art and The Croft, the latter originally scheduled to be performed at the Belgrade this month, as well as family-friendly Shakespeare retellings from the zany and always hilarious Oddsocks, whose production of The Comedy of Errors was previously due to take place at the Belgrade in June. Currently available productions include Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing, with new shows being added every Friday.
For little ones, Honalee Media are streaming a number of their popular preschool shows for free on YouTube, including Marty MacDonald’s Farm, while Belgrade panto stars Iain Lauchlan and Craig Hollingsworth are presenting an original online children’s series called Cheeky Chimps TV. B’Opera are continuing to share live singing sessions and regular song videos via Facebook, and every Tuesday at 2.30pm, the Belgrade will be sharing new Storytime videos featuring a mix of Belgrade staff and guest storytellers.
For full details of what's available via the Belgrade's online content hub, visit belgrade.co.uk/between-stages or alternatively follow the theatre on Facebook Twitter and Instagram
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