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April 2nd, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has meant the doors to many attractions in the South West are temporarily closed. Until they re-open, the region's venues have been getting imaginative in ways they can share their history, heritage, galleries, performances and special offering with the world. There are currently tons of ways culture lovers, homeschoolers, locals and enthusiastic future visitors can experience Bristol, Bath and beyond from the safety of home!
From online exhibitions, to online courses, live-streamed performances, virtual tours and downloadable activities, here's how you can be a creative tourist from the comfort of your own sofa (keep checking back as we'll be adding more as we hear of them!)
For details of virtual tours of attractions in Bristol, Bath and beyond to enjoy from your sofa, check out our blog! Includes The Roman Baths, Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and more!
Creativity and wellbeing
The Weston Arts & Health Weekender Online Convention (3 April)
Mindful of the ways that the arts can support health and wellbeing at this challenging time, organisers of the Weston Arts and Health Weekender are bringing elements of the event online in a re-configured programme with free digital content.
Creative tasters will include singing for lung health, with singer songwriter Kate Dimbleby; creative writing with author Bob Walton; armchair movement with dance practitioner Vic Hole; breathing exercises for relaxation with drama practitioner Angela Athay-Hunt and easy digital media skills with Nick Sutton. Details of how to join, via a simple link, will be posted at cultureweston.org.uk on 3 April.
Other parts of the original ‘Weekender’ programme are also being reimagined. The team behind the ‘Bubble Schmeisis’ are instead creating free ‘Nights on the Tiles’ film shorts.
Holburne’s virtual Creativity 4 Wellbeing weekly art group
Join in with the Holburne’s #Creativity4Wellbeing virtual art group every Wednesday from 2-3.30pm. Make something amazing, share a photo and see what others have made! Make and create at home, inspired by objects and paintings from the Holburne and partner Bath Museums. Send in your art work and they’ll create a gallery of as many of your creations as they can on their Instagram @changing_lives_through_art.
The Edge, Bath
All The Edge’s Wellbeing Classes have moved online. While originally programmed to fit around staff and student timetables, these classes are now open for everyone to enjoy for free.
Bristol’s oldest art gallery will be holding their popular Secret Postcard Auction (15-25 June 2020). They’ve already got some superb contributions from artists including Nick Park, Sir Richard Long, Dame Joan Collins and many more, so look out for announcements.
RWA will still be calling for submissions as usual for the popular 168 Annual Open Exhibition - planned for September 2020.
The Charlotte Price RWA: Of Soil and Sea (25 Mar - 30 April 20) exhibition planned for the rolling exhibition schedule in the Academicians Gallery is now online. Artworks are available to buy and proceeds go towards supporting the RWA in their ongoing work.
44AD online exhibitions
Keep an eye out for 44AD's online exhibitions featuring a collection of artwork that responds to a word, starting with a different letter of the alphabet running through A-Z.
Brunel’s SS Great Britain virtual archives
Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre
During lockdown, Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre will be adding new content to their YouTube channel a couple of times a week and sharing links through their social media channels - make sure you’re following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all kinds of fascinating information.
100 Years of Knowle West Style at Knowle West Media Centre
The latest exhibition from the South Bristol arts centre explores 10 decades of life on the Council-built estate. From Knowle West's ‘Garden City’ ideals to its ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) culture, musical memories and its architecture.
Listen to the exhibition audio guide online, watch films about the past, present and future of Council housing, and explore some of the exhibition displays here.
Use Google Expeditions app to virtually tour Bristol Museums' wider collection. Once downloaded, search for ‘Living as a Georgian’, ‘Blaise Castle House Museum’ or ‘Elizabethan life in Bristol’ to find tours of Georgian House Museum, Red Lodge Museum and Blaise Castle House Museum and select yourself to be a leader. With one tour per house, you can access all areas with 360° images of each room!
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
Although the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) is temporarily closed, some of their exhibitions are available to view online. Discover Crimean relics, find out more about Charles Darwin’s fishes, and browse Major Arthur Inglefield’s nineteenth-century collection of African artefacts.
Theatre and performance
The Bristol Improv Theatre
Bristol Improv Theatre have started producing online content, including live streams of shows to their Twitch account and online drop-ins via Zoo. Grab a drink and curl up on your sofa for free online performances, including improv, storytelling and comedy.
The Snow Mouse, via The Egg, Bath
Worried about your little ones watching too much TV? Well put on a theatre show and it’s culture right?! Get cosy with your little ones and watch the family-friendly recording of the wonderful Snow Mouse show from The Egg, Bath.
Live storytelling, Somerset Storyfest
Somerset Storyfest are launching LIVE family storytelling on their Facebook page every Monday and Friday at 11am.
Bristol Old Vic and National Theatre production of Jane Eyre
Bristol Old Vic and The National Theatre’s smash-hit collaboration of Jane Eyre will be shown on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel on 9 April at 7pm BST as part of National Theatre at Home.This acclaimed re-imagining of Brontë's masterpiece was directed by Bristol-based Sally Cookson. It was first staged by Bristol Old Vic in 2015 and transferred to the National in the same year with a revival in 2017.
Games and crafts
Full Steam Ahead Brunel-style
Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the Science Museum and Aardman Animations joined forces to create the Full Steam Ahead Game, an addictive ship-building puzzle game.
Bristol colouring sheets
Visit Bristol have collated downloadable colouring sheets created by local illustrators, featuring some of the city's most recognisable scenery and attractions. Ideal as a homeschooling activity, or as a way to take your mind off things for a while.
Bristol games and activities
Visit Bristol have also pulled together this guide to games and online activities offered by Bristol attractions and other local businesses. Have a go at crosswords, word searches, arts, crafts, photography challenges, language lessons and more!
Roman Baths online games
During the COVID-19 emergency the Roman Baths is offering ‘Learning for Life’ online for all. Discover more about the world of the Romans and try out themed online games, create your own Roman coin, play Roman numeral bingo, be a Roman science detective, have a go at Roman numeral sudoku and more!
Fashion Museum Bath
Do you know your appliqué from your tambour, and your Dior from your Emanuel? Test your fashion knowledge in Bath Fashion Museum’s online quiz.
If you’re after activities for kiddos, keep an eye on this page, which will be added to over the coming weeks. Learn how to finger knit, create something from buttons, download colouring sheets and more.
Fancy flexing your creative muscles over the weekend? Why not have a go at colouring in these tile designs, taken from the Alhambra palace, reflecting on William Gibbs' extensive travels in the Hispanic world. Don't forget to share your designs!
Victoria Art Gallery
Print off the template and create your own dancing figure inspired by Victoria Art Gallery’s Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition.
The Bell Inn, Bath
While the pub is closed Bath’s The Bell Inn are inviting artists to record a song and send it to them. They will post one a day over the coming weeks.
Bristol music on Spotify playlists
Bristol is well known for its rich music heritage and you can listen to some of the city’s greatest bands and musicians on this Spotify playlist. Rediscover some of Bristol’s iconic sounds, or discover new ones here.
The Bath Festival Finale weekend playlist
The Bath Festival Finale might not be going ahead anymore, but whack on their Spotify playlist in your living room and imagine yourself rocking out in Bath Recreation Ground. From infectious pop and 80s floorfillers to chart-topping legends like McFly and UB40 and hotly tipped rising stars including Lauran Hibberd, Josh Gray and Hannah Grace.
Colston Hall playlists
Colston Hall asked for input on this collaborative Unity & Joy Spotify playlist. Give it a listen for some lockdown motivation! They’re currently working on other ways to make your quarantine lives a little brighter, so stay tuned.
Free film subscriptions
MUBI have offered all FilmBath fans 90 days FREE subscription - click this link to make the most of this great offer!
While you can't currently catch a flick on the big screen at Bristol’s independent cinema Watershed, you can still enjoy great films from one of its partners, as MUBI is offering three months of free access to their streaming site. The programme includes Bacarau, which was screening at Watershed before they had to shut.
Bristol Old Vic foyer video
Aardman, the genius minds behind Wallace and Gromit and Limbic Cinema developed a motion mapped video for Bristol Old Vic’s new foyer wall, titled "The House is Open", which is projected every night before the show. You can watch the whole thing right here.
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
While visitors won’t be able to marvel at Westonbirt’s spectacular springtime trees, browsing the vibrant photos in their springtime Flickr album is the next best thing.
Bath On Screen
Bath features in a number of films and television programmes. See where you can view the eye-catching city on the big screen by reading Visit Bath’s blog post.
Royal Photographic society On-Demand Digital Workshop
This on-demand workshop is ideal if you want to gain valuable insight and skills in macro and art photography including concepts, lighting, equipment, technique and post processing. It contains over 4 hours of video from the sell out Royal Photographic Society Macro & Art Lecture by RPS Fellow, Educator and Author; John Humphrey.
At Home with Aerospace Bristol activities
As the museum is currently closed, Aerospace Bristol are bringing you lots of fun activities and videos to enjoy at home. Visit their website for Alfie Fox colouring and dot-to-dot, Design a supersonic jet, rocket building ideas, balloon Concordes and more!
Jane Austen Centre Free Membership
While the Jane Austen Centre doors are closed for the time being, you can still keep in touch by becoming a Jane Austen member for free on their website. Membership will give you full access to their online magazine and popular quizzes.