Bristol Old Vic Messiah, photographer Jack Offord
Photo credit Jack Offord

Culture in quarantine: Best virtual events in Bath, Bristol and beyond in June 2020

Online events from the two cities you can get involved with at home

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June 3rd, 2020

An online festival, art auction, film screenings, acclaimed theatre shows, creative workshops, and more! Here are the best virtual events from Bristol and Bath in June 2020.

Music and festivals

Daniel Tong, Exultate singers & William Howard, St George’s Bristol (4 June, 1pm)

St George’s may be temporarily closed but you can still Listen In with their new digital lunchtime concerts, late-night audio sessions and a live Philosophical Times event with resident Philosopher, Julian Baggini. 

The sessions, which took place in the Glass Studio at St George’s, feature a rich variety of artists performing fresh material and discussing the ideas that shape their work.

Bristol Refugee Festival (15-21 June)

This week-long festival will feature over 25 events to celebrate and value the contribution of refugee and asylum seekers to the city. Activities will include a virtual cookalong, a film and Q & A, performances by refugee musicians, online art exhibition ‘Imagine the City’ by Bristol Refugee Artist Collective and UWE Art & Design Students, a dance event with Refugee Women of Bristol, online yoga classes and lots more!

Bristol Refugee Festival

Bristol Takeover Online PT 2 Colston Hall (20 June)

Following on from Colston Hall’s hugely successful Bristol Takeover event on 23 May, which was watched by over 8,000 people and raised over £10,000 to support participating artists and venues, the team will be presenting another live-streamed festival of fresh new talent and established names, celebrating and supporting Bristol’s music scene - details to be announced soon!

Colston Hall Bristol Photo by Headbox
Colston Hall, Bristol

Big Whirl Online Festival, Theatre Orchard (20 June)

It’s time to party! The Big Whirl Community Arts Festival is the culmination of a year-long collaborative venture between the Big Worle community near Weston and North Somerset arts organisation Theatre Orchard

The event, originally planned to mark the culmination of the ‘Becoming Stories’ project in the grounds of Becket School, has been reimagined digitally to provide a flavour of the Festival and community activity through a series of short films featuring local people, drama, dance and song on 20 June (postponed from 6 June in order to give space for reflection and conversation for #BlackLivesMatter) from 1.45-5.15pm. 

Dizzy O Dare Giant Balloon Show outside Big Worle Hub Photo by Marie Dominique Demers King
Dizzy O Dare Giant Balloon Show outside Big Worle Hub

St Pauls Digital Carnival, Bristol (22 June)

St Pauls Carnival is going digital with two weeks of online events from 22 June. Join in the vibrancy of Carnival from your home with DJ sets, drumming workshops, performances, culminating in a massive celebration on Carnival Day 4 July.

St Pauls Carnival Photo by Martins Kikulis

Online Wellbeing Choir, The Edge (until 25 June)

The Edge have opened up their weekly Thursday midday choir with tutor Matt Finch for everyone to enjoy. Each week, people of all levels and abilities are invited to learn a popular song, (previous classes have included ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Fields of Gold’, ‘Perfect Day’ and ‘You Raise Me Up’).


#SHORTITOUT with Åsa Lucander, Watershed 4 June, 6pm

Join Watershed for their Filmmaker Frontroom Q&A with director, illustrator and animator Åsa Lucander. Åsa will be talking about her work directing short films and the recently-released music video for Coldplay’s upcoming album track, ‘Daddy’ which was produced by Aardman Animations. The free session will stream on Zoom, but you must register in advance.

Maeve Brennan's The Drift, Spike Island (until 11 June)

Spike Island is streaming Maeve Brennan’s 2017 film commission, The Drift, which traces the shifting economies of objects in contemporary Lebanon.The Drift is the result of an ongoing partnership between arts organisations supporting artists to produce ambitious new film commissions.  Discover the insights behind the creation of Daphne Wright’s Emotional Archaeology exhibition from the curators and makers behind the scenes of the acclaimed survey exhibition at Arnolfini.

Maeve Brennan, The Drift, Spike Island
Maeve Brennan, The Drift, Spike Island

Daphne Wright’s Emotional Archaeology exhibition, Arnolfini (1-30 June)

Discover the insights behind the creation of Daphne Wright’s Emotional Archaeology from the curators and makers behind the scenes of the acclaimed 2016 exhibition at Bristol's Arnolfini. 

Emotional Archaeology includes a number of key sculptural works alongside films, prints and newly-produced works spanning Daphne Wright’s career, and was the most comprehensive presentation of the artist’s work in the UK at the time. 

Laura Phillips’ Traces and Timbre, Arnolfini, 1-30 June

Bristol-born artist Laura Phillips’ film Traces and Timbre was created in response to the gallery’s history of presenting feminist art, and first screened in December 2019, as part of the Still I Rise Expanded Programme.

Combining archival material, interviews with women working with Arnolfini at the time, and the use of contemporary film stock, this is a personal take on a series of events at Arnolfini and their significance within cultural movements both globally and locally.

Laura Phillips’ Traces and Timbre, Arnolfini

Empty Metal Film Screening and Live Chat Q&A: Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer, Spike Island (18 June)

Join an online screening of Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer’s 2018 feature film debut Empty Metal followed by a live chat Q&A with the artists. Set in a world of mass surveillance, pervasive policing, and increasing individual apathy, Empty Metal weaves together the lives of several people, each inhabiting poles of American social and political consciousness, as each attempts to achieve some kind of forward motion, sometimes in contradiction, and always under the eye of more controlling powers. 

Empty Metal Film Screening and Live Chat Q&A: Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer, Spike Island

Deaf Conversations about cinema: Da 5 Bloods, Watershed (22 June 8pm)

Join the first online edition of Watershed's monthly film discussion event for Deaf and hearing audience members. They'll be watching Spike Lee's latest Da 5 Bloods - about four African American Vietnam vets - and talking about it afterwards. BSL interpretation throughout. 


Festival in the Clouds, Discover Clevedon (13 June)

Check out 19 specially-prepared videos and podcasts of some of the events planned for Clevedon's first ever literary and arts festival, which would have been held around the town in over 20 venues. 

Take a master class with a graphic designer, hear from the man who gave J.K Rowling her big break, discover the fascinating history behind the Curzon Cinema, hear poets read selections of their writings and much more! 

More information can be found on the Discover Clevedon website.

Clevedon Pier


Fringe Arts Bath Festival Online (until 7 June)

Fringe Arts Bath will be bringing art and events into your home. Discover online exhibitions, virtual galleries, live performances, discussions, events and more.  

Secret Postcard Auction, RWA, 15 - 25 June

Now a major event in the national art calendar, the Secret Postcard Auction offers collectors and first-time buyers the chance to buy unique works of art by leading figures from the art and cultural world, from as little as £40. 

This year’s event will take place online and includes over 300 postcard-sized original artworks to choose from by famous faces such as Harry Hill, Dame Joan Collins, Turner Prize winner Sir Richard Long, Maggi Hambling, Bristol’s own Luke Jerram and Magnum Photographer Martin Parr.The event is a key fundraising event for RWA. 

RWA Secret Postcard auction

Being Human: an online exhibition of modern sculpture, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (8 June-8 July)

Being Human is a powerful visual feast that explores how sculptors have tackled the human form. Featuring work from Bristol Museum’s collection that focuses on themes of beauty, identity, sexuality and existential angst in the aftermath of war, the exhibition features early modernist experimentation by Antoine Bourdelle to 20th century modernism from Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Jacob Epstein and Willhem Lehmbruck.

Online Theatre 

Messiah, Bristol Old Vic (until 5 June)

Exploring the dramatic heart of Messiah, this acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production directed by Tom Morris (War Horse, Touching the Void) is a powerful dramatisation of Handel’s profound masterpiece.See and hear Messiah as Handel controversially intended – performed for the people in a theatre, rather than in a sacred space.

Bristol Old Vic Messiah, photographer Jack Offord Photo credit Jack Offord
Bristol Old Vic Messiah, photographer Jack Offord

A Monster Calls, Bristol Old Vic (5 June, 7pm)

Bristol Old Vic have teamed up with The Old Vic to bring A Monster Calls to the comfort of your home. Adapted from the critically acclaimed bestseller by Patrick Ness, and directed by Sally Cookson (Peter Pan, La Strada), this Olivier Award-winning production offers a dazzling insight into love, life and healing. 

A Monster Calls, Bristol Old Vic


Bath Festivals Virtual Quiz (5 June, 7pm)

Dust off your thinking caps, grab yourself a comfy seat and join in with the Bath Festivals Virtual Quiz, returning on 5 June with three special guests. The family-friendly quiz will be introduced by Isobel Holly, winner of Bath Introduces in 2018, the literature round will be led by Mr B from festival booksellers Mr B’s Emporium and another guest round will be curated by Bath BID. Expect to be questioned on literature, music, kids books, festivals and more.

Storytelling sessions with Lizzy Cummins, The Edge, (6, 20 June)

Throughout June, The Edge are launching a series of live storytelling sessions with creative learning specialist Lizzy Cummins. The virtual workshops explore creative approaches to science for young inventors (ages 4-12) and will be safari-themed (6 June) and plankton-focused (20 June).

Interactive Storytelling with Lizzy Cummins - The Edge online
Interactive Storytelling with Lizzy Cummins - The Edge online

INVENT with Victoria Willmo, The Edge (13 and 27 June)

In celebration of The Edge’s Visions of Science, young minds are also encouraged to get involved through activities led by Victoria Willmo which fuse art and science. Look out for live videos on creating a Cardboard city (13 June) and a glasshouse blueprint (27 June).

Read more:

TV shows filmed in Bristol, Bath and beyond

Virtual tours of attractions in Bristol, Bath and beyond to enjoy from the sofa

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