MONDAY 8 MARCH 2021 THISWEEKCULTURE.COM
CLARE NORBURN: LOVE IN THE LOCKDOWN
When I heard about new streaming production 'Love In The Lockdown' - a nine part play about a couple negotiating the early stages of a relationship as well as working together on a creative project, all during lockdown - I was immediately interested, and we put it on the to-recommend list.

And when the opportunity arose to talk to the creative mind behind it, I jumped at the chance. Said creative mind is Clare Norburn, playwright, soprano and Artistic Director of medieval music ensemble The Telling.

I put some questions to Clare about what inspired the production, how the play came together, and her plans for the future.

CLICK HERE to read this Caro Meets interview.

Two episodes of 'Love In The Lockdown' are already available, and the remaining seven episodes will be released at intervals until 31 May. For more information and release dates see this page here.
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 THINGS FOR KIDS>>

The Musician: A Horror Opera For Children | Belfast Ensemble | 12-14 Mar
I expect most of your offspring are heading back to school this week, so the need to keep them occupied may feel less pressing. But you know, you still need to stay in most of the time, so this tip section might well help. And here's something rather cool sounding from Belfast Ensemble for you: a "darkly comic" opera that asks the questions "who was the Pied Piper?" and "why did the rats all dance to his tune?" It's happening (online of course) as part of the Belfast Children's Festival, which started at the end of last week. For more information on this show see this page here, and click this link here for other festival events.

Jina And The STEM Sisters | HMDT Music | 15 Mar-11 Apr (pictured)
This women-in-STEM musical puppetry show for eight to twelve year olds sounds fab and its run extends over the Easter holidays if you are looking for something to take in then: "Join budding scientist Jina as she seeks her way out of the forest helped by some of history's amazing female scientists and mathematicians. Digital-coder rapper Ada Lovelace, glamorous inventor Hedy Lamarr, and 'radiating' Marie Curie are amongst those empowering Jina with scientific gifts of curiosity, courage, creativity, persistence and open-mindedness, to help her get home and become the best scientist she can be!" More here.

Where The Bugaboo Lives | Little Angel Theatre | 14 Mar-2 May
"Floyd and his sister Ruby creep into the dark, shadowy valley behind their house… a valley full of all kinds of spooky, creepy creatures and the scariest of them all, the Bugaboo! Join Floyd and Ruby at every step of their journey, as you decide which path they take and what monsters they meet". This sounds super, a made-for-Zoom, choose-your-own adventure style show for five to eleven year olds, based on the well regarded book of the same name by Sean Taylor. Find out more about the show, and book yourself in, right about here.


THREE THEATRICAL THINGS>>

The Fantastical Tale Of The Boy On The Run | The Space | 12 Mar (pictured)
This one actually sounds like it could be a children's show, but no. It's written and performed by Tice Oakfield and here's what sort of thing to expect: "A boy runs from page to page, deeper into the book, his journey becoming increasingly bizarre and magical… Best described as 'Alice In Wonderland' meets 'The Wizard Of Oz', this critically acclaimed fairytale for grown-ups will absorb you into a world of wonder". It's a short piece, but it sounds like it will be very much worth setting aside a half hour for. For more information and to book tickets, see this page here.

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit | Aurora Nova and Nassim Soleimanpour | 13 Mar
You'll no doubt be more than aware of 'White Rabbit, Red Rabbit', and not just because we have talked about it in the past, I'm sure: it's been a bit of a phenomenon in the decade since it was first performed, becoming one of the most widely performed plays in the world and being translated into more than thirty languages. If you're not aware of how it works, let me explain: it's always a one off thing, in which an actor performs a script they have never seen until the show opens. On this occasion creator Nassim Soleimanpour and production company Aurora Nova have invited companies and venues all over the globe to do an online production of the play on the same day, 13 Mar, to mark the anniversary of when theatres were forced to close because of the pandemic. Here's a link to the production I found first. Others will be available.

Hello | Camden People's Theatre | 15 March
This is a very fascinating sounding thing from Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas: "Combining snippets of real phone conversations with pictures, texts and music, 'Hello' is a cross between a video diary and a series of postcards sent between two friends. It is a rumination on creativity, melancholia and what it takes to maintain connection at distance. Every day for seven days you will receive text messages from Bert and Nasi with a link to a different film. All the films will be available until the end of the week, then once they're gone, they're gone". More info right about here.


THREE FESTIVAL EVENTS>>

FemFest | Sweet Venues/Girl Code Theatre | 8-14 Mar
Those of our readers who are big fans of edfringe will be more than familiar with long term festival stalwarts Sweet Venues. And they've got a woman-focused treat for you this week, as - in conjunction with Girl Code Theatre - they present a second instalment of FemFest, a collection of very interesting sounding events that I would struggle to choose between. But go on, I'll admit I am rather intrigued by 'Elizabeth Bathory: Vampire Queen', not least because I read about her when I was about fourteen years old and would now like a refresher. Oh, and 'On Wednesdays We Drink Gin', because I like gin. There's lots of stuff to consider, though, so take a look here and make your choices.

What Does The Future Look Like? | The Place | 11-14 Mar
This is the third in The Place's series of three 'weekenders', so I am not sure whether it should really be in a festival tips section. Hang on, though, I've just read their blurb and it literally says it's a "festival of online works", so I can definitely put it in this section. Hoorah! There are six events including audio works, short films, panel discussions and workshops, all of which look at how to move forward in a truly progressive way when facing so much global adversity. For more information and links to all the different sessions, see this page here.

CAN Festival 2021 Comedy Night | CAN & Soho Theatre | 12 Mar (pictured)
If you don't know it, CAN stands for Chinese Arts Now, and its festival - featuring a wide range of different events and performances - is on until the end of April. One of its events is this comedy night featuring TW favourites who also happen to be of Chinese heritage, delivered via Zoom and promising "a raucous night of comedy and conversation". The TW faves we are talking about are Evelyn Mok, Ken Cheng and Phil Wang, and you can read more about all three of them here, as well as booking your tickets. And if you'd like to take a look at the other shows on offer via the CAN Festival, head to the website here.


THREE MORE ONLINE TREATS>>

Thinking On Sunday: Gender Revolution And The Domestic Labour Gap | Conway Hall | 14 Mar
"While women are making slow gains on gender disparities in the workplace, at home the gap is widening - in the UK, the average heterosexual British woman puts in twelve more days of household labour per year than her male companion, while young American men are now twice as likely as their fathers to think a woman's place is in the home. And when 'having it all' so often means hiring a nanny or cleaner, is it something to aspire to?" This is definitely something that angry women talk about a lot, in my experience. I wonder if it can ever be changed? Why don't we see what Sally Howard - author of 'The Home Stretch' - has to say about it? I'd disagree that it's "feminism's final frontier' (see blurb) though. There's still loads of other stuff that needs sorting too. Anyway, click here.

Things I Am Not | Legal Aliens Theatre (pictured)
"Recognising the stereotypes often projected on migrant women, ranging from 'exotic seductress' to 'benefit scrounger', Legal Aliens Theatre asked ten female artists to respond to the theme 'Things I Am Not', starting from a first-person point of view, but free to combine personal experience with fiction, drama, and comedy, in a style that truly represents them". This sounds great, doesn't it? A series of ten short podcasts featuring audio-stories written and performed by female artists who have migrated to the UK. The first episode is released on 8 Mar, with the remaining nine to follow every Monday for the next nine weeks. Available via Apple, Spotify, Google, and this page here.

Knock2Bag Comedy Night | 12 Mar
And finally, another comedy night to cheer you through the week, getting ever closer to things like spring and the freedom to go out for things other than food supplies. Like the team behind 'White Rabbit, Red Rabbit', Knock2Bag are also celebrating an anniversary - that of their last live show at London's Moth Club. The line up consists of Tim Key, Lou Sanders, Ellie White, Sam Campbell, Johnny White Really-Really, Phil Dunning, Touissant Douglas and MC Ray Badran, and if you would like to sort yourself a ticket (who wouldn't, with that line up?) head right this way.
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