MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
HESTER WELCH: RICE!
I've been hearing a lot about digital performances and productions of late, of course, and it's really exciting to hear about the ways performers and companies are stretching the boundaries of how to deliver culture in lockdown.

I was particularly intrigued when I read about 'Rice!', an upcoming production which will be streamed from two countries at once, and which incorporates interactive elements.

To find out what to expect from the show, and more about the creatives behind it, I spoke to Hester Welch, director, and co-founder of producing company Wayang Kitchen.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

'Rice' is streamed for four performances, on 20, 21, 27 and 28 Feb at 12.30pm. See the Omnibus Theatre website here for information and to book.
With full-on COVID restrictions still in place, 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 ONLINE COMEDY THINGS>>

Mark Thomas - Check Up: Our NHS | 16 Feb
I heard about all the shows in this week's comedy tips section via separate means, so I was actually surprised to find out they are all affiliated with the Leicester Comedy Festival. But that's actually quite a good thing, because the festival comes to an end on 21 Feb, so you should all be making the most of it this week before it's over. As usual, loads of our fringe-found faves are aboard, including national treasure Mark Thomas, who - for this award winning show - spent a month shadowing nurses, consultants and staff at the Imperial Group of NHS hospitals. "This time Mark is going back to some of those experts to conduct live interviews after the show about the state of our health. How is the NHS doing? Where does it go next? What do we need to do?" See more here.

Just The Tonic: Working From Home | 19 Feb
As you probably know, we became big fans of Just The Tonic because of their fab work up at the old edfringe, and during lockdown we have been really happy to see them doing their online shows. This one, like previous aforementioned online events, features a cracking line up: Shappi Khorsandi, Tez Ilyas, Jayde Adams, Marcel Lucont, Rich Wilson, Scott Bennett and Tom Binns. As I understand it, there are two ways to tune in: there's a 'watch from home' option, which, well, means simply watching from home, and a Zoom option, which means you are more "in the room", as it were, even though you are, well, still at home. For the Zoom option click here and for the other click here.

Jonny Awsum: The Gag Slinging Guitar Hero | 18 Feb (pictured)
I hadn't really registered that TW favourite Jonny Awsum, purveyor of a "special feel-good brand of family friendly musical comedy", had been a semi-finalist on 'Britain's Got Talent back' in 2017, until I read the blurb for this show, our third accidental selection from the Leicester Comedy Festival. I do know that we love him, though, and that our edfringe review team have written glowing things about him on a number of occasions in the past. This, for example: "His captivating songs are infectious, filled with sharp wit and incredible warmth". Read more about it and book yourself into the show right about here.


THREE THINGS FOR THE KIDS>>

Peter Pan | Chickenshed | until 29 March
It's half term this week where I am, so I would presume it's the same for most parents. In which case, after weeks off homeschooling, perhaps it might be nice to just sit back with your children and watch a lovely show from Chickenshed, instead of grappling with KS1 maths. "Wendy Darling loves telling her brothers bedtime stories of the dastardly pirate Captain Hook and the heroic Peter Pan, and the children's imaginations become reality when Peter flies into their nursery one starry night. Together they fly to a mysterious, magical land where children never grow up, fairies truly exist and blood thirsty pirates really roam the seas". More here.

Night Tree | PDSW | 19-21 Feb (pictured, photo by Foteini Christofilopoulou)
"Every year, in the middle of winter, we go into the forest to find our tree. Our special tree. We bundle up so we're warm, with hats, gloves, shoes and coats. We travel through the trees. Among the leaves and muddy puddles. Listening to the birds sing. And watching for animals". This sounds like it will be fab for younger audiences, a "magical film about one very special tree and a family's gift to all the creatures in the wintry woods", based on the picture book by Eve Bunting. It's pay-what-you-can, and there's an accompanying print-at-home activity pack and Zoom-based dance workshop. And, if you live in the right place (the Bournemouth area) you can even order a woodland picnic to go with it. See this page here for all the info.

The Town Mouse And The Country Mouse Workshop | Polka Theatre | 18 Feb
"Join Mark, our Polka storyteller and musician, on a jam-packed journey inspired by the wonderful Aesop's fable, 'The Town Mouse And The Country Mouse'. Meet two mice - one urban and one rural - and experience the different sounds, noises and smells when they visit each other's homes. Will you prefer being in the breezy, farmyard landscape of the countryside or enjoy the buzzing hustle and bustle of town life?" Another event for small fry, specifically those aged three to seven, one of a number of different workshops taking place this week, all aimed at the same age group and based around Aesop's tales. For more information and to book, head to this page right here.


THREE THEATRICAL THINGS>>

The Colour Purple | Curve Theatre/Birmingham Hippodrome | 16 Feb-7 Mar
Leicester's Curve Theatre presents this digital version of their award winning production of 'The Colour Purple', in association with the Birmingham Hippodrome. And I'd hazard a guess that most of you know exactly what this show is about, given it's based on the globally famous novel by Alice Walker. As you may be aware, this is a musical adaptation, which was first produced in the US back in 2004: "Drawing inspiration from jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, a band of incredible musicians will combine with the company's soulful vocals in bringing the score to life". See this page here for more info and to book.

All On Her Own | Jack Maple & Brian Zeilinger-Good and Stream.Theatre | 16-21 Feb
I probably say this every time a Rattigan play comes up, but I have always had a bit of a soft spot for his work, beginning with an early love affair with the 1948 film of 'The Winslow Boy'. But that partly explains why this digital production of 1968 TV play 'All On Her Own' caught my attention - that, and the fact that it looks really good: it tells the story of Rosemary - who "alone at midnight in London, has a secret burden to share that is both heartbreaking and sinister" - and is played by two time Olivier and Evening Standard Award-winner Janie Dee. Click here.

Outside | The Space | 18-20 Feb (pictured)
"Willa hasn't ever left her house until now. For 30 years, each moment of her life has been controlled, and she spent every night locked in her room. Now, she finds herself in a witness questioning suite, searching for evidence of her existence. She has slipped through the cracks of society and her only reality outside the house exists between the pages of the books her semi-absent father publishes. But she can't be hidden away anymore. A dark secret is about to come to light". The latest show from The Space's fab digital line up, this solo play from Gabrielle MacPherson sounds rather intriguing doesn't it? Details here.


THREE MORE INTERESTING ONLINE THINGS TO TAKE IN>>

Breabach | King's Place | 22 Feb
This digital stream from Scottish folk music band Breabach features a collaboration with Scottish Bafta winning animator Cat Bruce that takes the form of an animated film with original score. Its story is based on 'The Sea Maiden', a folkloric tale collected by John Francis Campbell, and the soundtrack features five new pieces of music, each composed by one of Breabach's five members, composed and recorded at home during the pandemic year. The presentation also includes behind the scenes footage, unseen live performances and a Q&A hosted by BBC Radio Scotland's Anna Massie. More here.

How Do We Tune Into Sensation? | The Place | 18-21 Feb
You may remember a few weeks ago we recommended 'How Can We Care For Each Other' at The Place. Well, this week they present another, similarly structured weekender featuring five fascinating looking online events. "In this period of global and societal change, collectively we are spending more time than ever apart and online. Given the shift to experiencing the world digitally, how do we stay connected to our senses IRL (in real life)? What have we lost and what have we found in this shift of being? How does this differ from person to person?" Read more about it here.

The Scene Podcast | Get Over It Productions
I missed this earlier, but Get Over It Productions have turned their new writing festival The Scene into a podcast, meaning that you can aurally absorb a swathe of short and no doubt perfectly formed plays. There are five available which were posted over the last few weeks, but also a bunch from last summer for you to catch up with. They deal with a wide variety of themes and topics, and I suspect there may be a few more to come as we progress towards the spring. Plenty to keep you busy, in any case: you can find them on AppleSpotify and YouTube.
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