Keeping our distance but staying connected

At the British Council, we’re committed to ensuring people all over the world can connect through culture, and we are working hard to deliver what we can while responding to the relevant government and health authority guidance.

We’ve put together a number of resources on where you can discover virtual cultural programmes. We are updating this page every week to keep checking the page for more of the best of UK arts and culture. 

Remember: stay safe, wash your hands, keep your distance but stay connected

Tune into UK theatre and dance online

  • Tune each week to the National Theatre at Home. The National Theatre has put some of their most popular productions on YouTube, releasing one every Thursday at 7 pm UK time.
    23 April: Twelfth Night featuring Tamsin Greig as Malvolia in Shakespeare's classic comedy.
    30 April: Danny Boyle directs Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, alternating the roles of Frankenstein and his creation.
    7 May: Antony & Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo as the fated lovers.
  • Deafinitely Theatre has launched a season of their work, performed in British Sign Language and spoken English. First up Love's Labour's Lost at the Globe.
  • Fleabag is available to stream on Soho theatre’s On-Demand site and on Amazon Prime. All proceeds will go towards charities including the National Emergencies Trust, NHS Charities Together and Acting for Others, which provides support to all theatre workers in times of need.
  • Six rotating Shakespeare’s Globe productions will be available to watch for free on the theatre’s video-on-demand service Globe Player.
  • Scotland's new writing theatre, the Traverse Theatre has created Five From Inside monologues from the crew who would have been performing their new production Donny's Brain.
  • Hampstead theatre and the Guardian have teamed up to stream a series of acclaimed productions for free, first up The Arrest of Ai Weiwei
  • Created to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, Dust from the English National Ballet is “dancing full of pain and power” 
  • Actor Robert Myles has set up a reading group for professional and amateur actors to perform Shakespeare’s complete plays in the order. Tune in each week on YouTube.
  • Live Stream Archive has put together a temporary digital archive collating all of the work being shared online by UK Theatre and Performance Artists, showcasing fringe, small to mid-scale work, and experimental work.
  • Evan Placey’s Girls Like That play from Unicorn Theatre is an explosive play that explores gender equality and the pressures on today’s digital generation. 
  • Looking for more? Our theatre and Dance team has put together an excellent list of UK work that you should watch online
  • Royal Shakespeare Company version of King Lear was created specifically for younger audiences and played in schools across the UK. This version of King Lear is available to watch at any time now. 

Explore visual arts at home

  • Take a look through the British Council Collection. Since 1938 the British Council has been collecting works of art, craft and design to showcase the achievements of the very best British artists, craft practitioners and designers.
  • Watch an online-only performance by Faustin Linyekula in the Tanks at Tate Modern. In this autobiographical performance, Linyekula questions ancient knowledge stored in the body against the relatively short written history found in books.
  • “Do Remember They Can't Cancel the Spring”. Take a look at UK artist David Hockney’s latest collection of iPad paintings capturing Normandy in the Spring. In collaboration with Art UK, The Guardian has created the 'Great British Art Quiz' using the UK’s public collections.
  • Glasgow international 2020 has released a Digital platform to mark their now delayed festival. Digital Programme live from 23 April - 10 May 2020.

Listen to UK music

  • Every week The British Council’s Selector Radio is bringing you the best of UK music. Catch up now with the very cool Jamz Supernova.
  • Selector Radio has a great playlist of the London Studio "Sessions", like Rachel Chinouriri and Mama's Boy.
  • In February, London’s Barbican Hall played host to singer Lianne La Havas with contemporary rearranger Jules Buckley and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  • BBC 6 Music Festival is a line up of three days of live music and conversation – from Bombay Bicycle Club to Kate Tempest.
  • Treat yourself to the Royal Opera House’s playlist on YouTube of the Best Opera Arias and Choruses. The Royal Opera House also has a number of free broadcasts and live content that audiences can access for free at any time, anywhere across the globe. First up is Peter and the Wolf
  • Learn along with Grammy award-winning Scottish classical violinist Nicola Benedetti has been teaching the world to play Elgar during Covid-19 lockdown. 

Read and listen to some of the UK's best writers

  • The Big Book Weekend (8-10 May) is a three-day virtual book festival is bringing together the best of the cancelled British literary festivals with a line up including Neil Gaiman, Luke Jennings (Killing Eve), Juno Dawson, Bernardine Evaristo and many other literary superstars. Events are live-streamed and free.
  • Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James takes rapper, poet and author Akala on a tour of Kingston, Jamaica. They discuss gentrification, racism and the rhythm of a busy urban environment.
  • Head back to the 2016 Sydney Writers Festival opening address from Kate Tempest. In this podcast, Kate recites her poems and talks about how the stories we choose define us.
  • The Desmond Elliot Prize 2020 long list has bold new voices demonstrates the strength of UK and Irish writing.
  • Listen to Pheobe Waller-Bridge who joined host of The Guilty Feminist, Deborah Frances-White, on stage at Southbank Centre to discuss all things Fleabag.
  • Great list of books to give us hope from authors including recommendations from some of the UK’s finest – Phillip Pullman, Laura Mvula and Kamila Shamsie.
  • At 27, Daisy Johnson became the youngest ever author to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year for Everything Under. Listen to her at the 2019 Sydney Writers Festival.

Activities to make and do at home

  • Stay inspired with Firstsite’s artist-created activity packs for children, featuring contributions from UK artists including Antony Gormley, Gillian Wearing, Idris Khan, Jeremy Deller and Mark Wallinger. 
  • From making a balloon-powered car to building a bridge from spaghetti, UK Company Dyson has created 44 STEM activities for children to try out while at home.
  • While you are at it, why not try some great 'Kitchen Science' to try from the UK’s Science Museum.  
  • Paper peepshows are like pocket-sized stage sets unfolding before your eyes. The V&A have created this handy guide to make your own at home. 
  • Each week the delightful Noel Fielding is running 'Noel's Arts Club', join in on instagram via #noelsartclub
  • British architecture studio Foster + Partners is publishing a series of architecture challenges, including building a paper skyscraper and creating a city, to keep children in coronavirus lockdown entertained.

Take a virtual tour

  • Sculptural jackets, needle-worked lace, embroidery, take a deep dive into the V&A fashion collection spanning five centuries.  
  • Tour the streets with Google Street View and find Banksy works in Bristol, London and New Orleans.
  • Take a virtual tour of the Natural History Museum to check out the museum's 80 million specimens with unique, new features: encounter a prehistoric marine reptile in virtual reality
  • Why not check out the British Museum Virtual Tour. Over 6 million visitors every year experience the collection, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.