A Student guide to “Theatre-going” in Lockdown
Online Editor, Maddie Baker, investigates the rise of virtual theatre- starting with Exeter Phoenix
Cinema outings, physical exhibitions and in-house plays may be postponed, but that does not mean that film studios and theatres have stopped keeping us students entertained during lockdown…
Here in Exeter, the Phoenix has released a schedule of online options to indulge students’ cultural side while we cannot explore our theatre venues in person. One of the most exciting listings is Kill The Cat: The House Always Wins on 13 May – an interactive theatre piece where we, as viewers, are invited to respond to a fictional crisis ourselves.
Exeter Northcott Theatre
The Northcott Theatre on campus, meanwhile, has responded in its own way to lockdown. At the start of April, the Northcott put out a call for artwork, with the release of The Time is Now competition. The successful commissions had to find a way to adapt to a digital reality and tackle the challenges we are facing at this time in a creative way. On 27 April, five winning artists were selected: Burn the Curtain, Jump Fall Fly, Scratchworks Theatre Company, Thomas Johnson and Undivided Attention. All the artists share their roots in the South-West region and are developing in their fields. There will be a variety of entertainment that students and Exeter-residents alike can enjoy – ranging from an Exeter-based online game to a short film about circus performance, all of which will be available via the Northcott’s website and social media under #TheTimeisNow.
The successful commissions had to find a way to adapt to a digital reality and tackle the challenges we are facing at this time in a creative way
Across the country, many other theatres have been making their performances accessible online for eager audiences. One of the best-suited options for students is the National Theatre, which launched National Theatre at Home on 2 April. On Thursday evenings, students, families and friends can share in a free production online for over a week via the National Theatre YouTube channel. Most recently, in the height of escapism, the National Theatre has released Antony & Cleopatra at its marathon length of three hours.
This is not to mention the endless options available on the Barbican Theatre website, branching out into playslists and long-read articles, or The Royal Opera House’s #OurHousetoYourHouse streaming service. All of the mentioned virtual theatre performances and offerings are free – but, as with many charities and small businesses, theatres are encouraging viewers to donate a small sum.