Where to ‘go out’ and have fun this lockdown Easter weekend

The National Theatre

Just because the UK is on lockdown and has shut all the theatres, clubs and restaurants, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There is a way to experience the outside world without ever actually leaving the house – through the magic of the internet. Companies unable to put on events have pivoted to the virtual world, with live streams, Zoom events and online tours. We have compiled some of the best virtual events you can attend over the long Easter weekend to stave off the monotony of self-isolation.

Go to the theatre

The National Theatre has set up a programme of plays to watch for free over the internet. At 7pm every Thursday for the next few weeks a new play will be livestreamed on YouTube. It will be available for the following seven days until the next play is screened. Last week it was the award winning production of One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden. Now Jane Eyre, adapted for the stage by Sally Cookson, is available on demand. On Thursday April 16 Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island will be screened, and on April 23 there will be Twelfth Night starring Friday Night Dinner’s Tamsin Greig as the female version of Marvolio. More titles will be announced as the lockdown progresses.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge swept up at awards season this year for the television show Fleabag. Now Soho Theatre has made the one-woman stage show it was based on available to watch online. You can rent a video copy for £4 on the Soho Theatre website, but the theatre has given options to pay £10, £25 or £100 with the extra money being donated to the National Emergency Trust, NHS Charities and two charities helping those working in the UK theatre industry – Acting for Others and Fleabag Support Fund. From April 10, the production will also be available for two weeks on Amazon Prime for £4, following the success of the TV show on the platform.

Head down the pub

A huge virtual pub quiz takes place every Sunday from 8pm to 9:30pm thanks to The Inquizition. Usually it runs pub quizzes every week in venues across London, but since the pubs were shut down the quizmasters have been continuing to create fresh quizzes for the virtual world. There is no prize but it’s free to enter – all you have to do is go to The Inquizition’s Facebook page at 7:55pm to be there in time for the start. The organiser Alex has also created a playlist of mood music he plays in the background of the quiz, made up of independent artists.

Fuller’s, the brewery and chain of pubs, has created a series of online events which it has called #TheStayInn, to keep its customers entertained and informed. Happy Hour is on Fridays at 8:30pm – industry experts, mixologists and master brewers put on masterclasses, tutorials and insider videos to tide you over while the pubs are shut.

If your travel plans have been cancelled, it isn’t just UK institutions that are offering a virtual experience. For example Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum has created a new interactive platform called Masterpieces Up Close which allows users to virtually stroll through the building and learn more about the artwork. Each piece comes with a short video, audio or text description, including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. You can zoom in on the details or view them from afar to see the scale of the art. Additionally the curators of Rijksmuseum are sharing stories about their favourite works of art through short videos under the hashtag #Rijksmuseumfromhome.

The House Of Fine Art (HOFA) Gallery in Mayfair has pivoted to VR so you can still view the pieces as if you were walking around the space. It recently opened a virtual group exhibition called ‘Here and Now’, which will run until 3 May, featuring the work of contemporary artists such as Katya Zvereva, Joseph Klibansky and Zhuang Hong Yi. Viewers are provided with a secure link to view the artwork and part of the proceeds of sold pieces will be donated to the NHS.

Go to a festival

Family festival Camp Bestival was due to take over the amusement park Dreamland in Margate this weekend, but because of Covid-19 it was forced to cancel. Instead organisers are planning a series of workshops, cooking lessons, kids activities and music with some takeovers from special guests. It’s due to take place from April 11-12, from 9am to 9pm and organisers encourage participants to set up their own blanket forts and indoor camps to create a festival feel. More information on how to get involved can be found on Camp Bestival’s Facebook page.

There is a festival of drag, the Digital Drag Fest, currently taking place with dozens of queens putting on shows. You can purchase tickets to see your favourite drag queen – each 30 minute show has a limited number of spaces for a one-of-a-kind live performance that won’t be recorded or re-released. Stars from both the US and UK versions of RuPaul’s Drag Race are performing as well as some other famous faces. Tickets cost $10 (£8) per household but time slots are catered to Americans, so make sure you hop onto your laptop at the right time.

Watch some live music

Many artists are keeping themselves and their fans entertained by streaming performances over social media. Kidz Bop, a musical group for children, is streaming a performance on YouTube today (Friday April 10) at 8pm. Pop-punk band Neck Deep are streaming at 9pm on Saturday on Twitch. Ticketmaster has compiled a list of live stream gigs so you can choose your favourite artist.

Facebook Live is hosting a benefit event called Human to Human to raise money to help those in the music industry who are struggling to make ends meet at the moment. From 4pm GMT on Saturday April 11 to 4am, a series of musicians will be performing, including Nicolas Petricca (Walk The Moon), Tori Kelly, Grouplove and Tayla Parx.

Maria Mellor is a writer for WIRED. She tweets from @Maria_mellor

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