It will be some time before any of us can go to the theatre, an exhibition and or a live performance and so we continue our monthly series of highlighting the best of culture in London at the moment, all of which can be enjoyed from your armchair.
Creativity has always been at the heart of London, enhanced by varied cultural influences from all over the world and enriched by the many people who have made London their home. With all cultural institutions closed and artists unable to perform in public, the many innovative ways in which they have continued to bring their art to us during this time has been inspiring, enriching and uplifting.
The Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly hosts exceptional exhibitions and is home to Britain's longest established art school. Every year since 1768 it has held a Summer Exhibition, which this year is likely to become an autumn one. The largest open-submission art exhibition in the world, the show displays an eclectic collection of art in an array of mediums by Royal Academicians, household names and emerging talents. Most of the works are for sale. Join 2018's curator Grayson Perry RA for a romp through the 2018 exhibition which featured vast new works by Anish Kapoor, David Hockney RA and Joana Vasconcelos.
One of the UK's most prominent publicly funded performing arts venues, the National presents a varied repertoire programme in its three theatres. Throughout lockdown it has been streaming free productions, each available for a week. The last plays to be released include Andrea Levy's Small Island, its epic, sold-out production tracing the history between Jamaica and the UK through WWII to 1948. Also to come are A Midsummer Night's Dream with Gwendoline Christie, Lorraine Hansberry's last play Les Blancs, directed by Yaël Farber, Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea, and Peter Shaffer's Amadeus.
The Chineke! Orchestra was due to play in London, Ann Arbor, Washington, San Francisco during this time. Instead Europe's first majority black and minority ethnic (BME) orchestra joined forces with Detroit's Sphinx Organisation to present their digital collaboration Music Across the Ocean - a transatlantic concert performance by 72 musicians and 9 conductors recorded in their homes during lockdown. The two orchestras, who share the mission to champion change and celebrate diversity in classical music, played the five movements of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Othello Suite, including the bewitching Children's Intermezzo.
The Museum of London is located next to remains of the old Roman city wall, built around 200 A.D. to protect the port on the River Thames. The museum is the largest urban history collection in the world, with more than six million objects, and tells the fascinating social history of the capital from its first settlers to modern times. For a glimpse into some of the weird and wonderful stories that are a part of daily life in this vibrant city, take a virtual walk through the streets of London with their Blue Badge Guide Julie Chandler, a Londoner born and bred, and find out more about tombs, telephone boxes and tide recorders.