MONDAY 11 JANUARY 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
ROSS DURY: THE LIVING RECORD FESTIVAL
January's often a quiet month when it comes to culture, and this year feels like no exception. Indeed, if anything it's more so, given many planned performances had to be cancelled as the new COVID restrictions were put in place.

There are, however, a number of web-based festivals taking place over the next few weeks, and one of those is The Living Record Festival, staged by Living Record Productions, which begins on Sunday and sounds amazing.

To find out more about what to expect from the festival, and how we can make the most of it, I spoke to Artistic Director Ross Drury.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

The Living Record Festival takes place from 17 Jan - 22 Feb. See the festival website here for all the info.
With full-on COVID restrictions still in place in London and around much of the country, this week we are tipping the best in digital culture from across the UK - including online shows from performers and companies we first discovered at the Edinburgh Festival.


THREE FROM [email protected]>>

Half Baked Alaskan | Sally Ann Hall | Until 31 Jan (pictured)
Following the success of their first season - which happened as part of summer 2020's 'virtual edfringe' - theSpace are staging another programme of online accessible culture for you to access. Many of the pieces available to view are short, so you may wish to take in a few during any one sitting. Which is why I thought we'd recommend three of them. Starting with this one, from NYC comedian Sally Ann Hall, whose contribution is a stand-up/cabaret show about "growing up religious in Alaska, then glowing up into a bold woman of substances". See this page here.

Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland And The Golden Age of Hollywood | Melanie Gall | Until 31 Jan
This one jumped out at me for more than one reason. Firstly, it's by Melanie Gall, who we've interviewed in connection with work she's presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and we know how great she is. Secondly, I spent half my sickly childhood at home suffering from various illnesses, working my way through about a million black and white afternoon films on the telly, many of which featured the late great Deanna Durbin. I am not sure I know anyone personally other than me and my dad who remember her, so I was really interested to hear about this show, which focuses on the rivalry and friendship of Durbin and Judy Garland. See it here.

Alive | Flying Solo | Until 31 Jan
If you were reading our output back in July, you may remember a Q&A with Penny Cole, whose production company Flying Solo! was presenting six events amongst theSpace's previous online offerings. Well, Flying Solo! are back for season two with another clutch of shows, and 'Alive' is one of them. "Jacob can't resist a good antique store - but his latest treasure horrifies his wife, Ashley. The pretty - but definitely used - urn opens a hilarious and heartbreaking Pandora's box about their relationship, their dreams and what makes us truly alive". More here.

Oh, and if you're interested in surveying the whole [email protected] Season 2 programme, see this page here.


THREE FROM UNLIMITED AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE>>

Augmented | 13-15 Jan (pictured)
And another three-from-the-same-line-up section for you now, this time focused on Unlimited 'at' Southbank Centre, a fifth festival of dance, performance, comedy, music and visual art, celebrating the artistic vision and creativity of disabled artists, this year happening online, of course. 'Augmented' sounds really interesting: "After going deaf in her twenties, Sophie, aged 39, was activated as a real-life 'cyborg'. She was welcomed back into the hearing world and even able to stream music directly to her brain. As we begin to understand her journey, Sophie invites us to consider the transformative power of technology. Is her experience a blueprint for the future of humanity?" More here.

Artificial Things | 15-17 Jan
Our next choice from the line up is one for dance fans, a film that sees an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled dancers exploring human interdependence, strength and vulnerability in a derelict suburban shopping centre. A reimagining of the stage work of the same name, it features Amy Butler, Laura Jones, Chris Pavia, David Willdridge and Dave Toole, who devised the original piece. Expect a work that resonates with our current, pandemic afflicted uncertainty. Details are here.

Abnormally Funny People | 17 Jan
Before we talk about this one, I would just like to make it clear that we didn't mean for every selection from Unlimited to have a name that started with 'a', it just happened accidentally when we chose three great sounding events. The final of which is a comedy night that I know we have recommended before, in both our London and edfringe focused publications. The fab line up includes Gareth Berliner, Steve Best, Don Biswas, Laurence Clark, Tanyalee Davis, Spring Day, Steve Day, Cherylee Houston, Melissa Johns, Rosie Jones, Simon Minty, Tim Renkow, Kiruna Stamell and Goz Ugochukwu. See this page here.

You can see everything that's happening as part of this digital edition of Unlimited right here, so take a look.


THREE MORE THINGS TO TAKE IN ONLINE>>

Public Domain | Southwark Playhouse | 15-16 Jan
"A dark, funny, verbatim musical about the internet: Those who own it; those who live in it; and you". This is a fascinating sounding work - made entirely from the words of YouTube vloggers, Instagram influencers and everyday internet users, spoken and typed in the last year. It seems like a very natural and apt topic to be focusing on after our year in pandemic, not least because many of us will probably be feeling as though we couldn't have survived it without the internet. Though I am not sure they'll be singing its praises, given that the blurb promises "a unique portrait of the digital world that is every bit as mesmerising as it is terrifying. It's like 'Black Mirror' but real, and set to music". For more information see the Southwark Playhouse website here.

A Beautiful Way To Be Crazy | Genevieve Carver & The Unsung via The Cockpit | until 7 Feb (pictured)
This is another really interesting show, one which sadly had a national tour cut short by the lockdown in early 2020, following success at Vault and edfringe. It's based on interviews with women working in the music industry, and combines spoken word, live music, verbatim audio from the interviews, and a few genuine teenage diary entries from its creator, award-winning poet Genevieve Carver, appearing alongside her multi-instrumental live band The Unsung: Tim Knowles, Brian Bestall and Ruth Nicholson. "An innovative piece of gig theatre exploring what it means to be a girl in the business of music, with a soundtrack moving seamlessly between pop, rock, folk, soul, classical and electronica". More here.

Thinking On Sunday: Being Human | Conway Hall | 17 Jan
"What does it mean to be human? And what, if anything, does it have to do with being a member of the animal species Homo sapiens? Giving a talk based on their acclaimed and dazzling book 'Human', Amanda Rees and Charlotte Sleigh get to the very heart of our (rather unscientific) motivations and prejudices about humanity, showing how, by understanding them, we can go some way to resolving the world's biggest problems. From beasts to aliens, widespread but often problematic links with six other beings are explored. Deep philosophical questions are tackled, including humanity's common purpose, life's meaning and what it means to be accepted as part of a community". Another fab sounding online talk from Conway Hall, see this page here for the details and to book in.
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