The initiative follows the U.K. government’s social distancing advice to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the closure of most cultural spaces across the country.
The initiative, which will be spread across BBC radio as well as channels BBC Two and BBC Four and catch-up service iPlayer, will include guides to shuttered exhibitions or permanent collections in museums and galleries; performances from musicians and comedians; new plays created especially for broadcast; the experience of book festivals with access to authors; and quarantine diaries from creative visionaries.
New filmed recordings of writer Mike Bartlett’s “Albion,” director Emma Rice’s “Wise Children,” realized by digital agency The Space, and choreographer Crystal Pite’s “Revisor” will be among the content available. In addition, BBC Radio 3 is looking at setting up a series of chamber studio recordings by freelance musicians.
“In supporting this activity, there is a clear role for the BBC,” said Jonty Claypole, director of BBC Arts. “As a public service organization, it has always aimed to be more than a broadcaster but a stage, gallery and cultural platform in everybody’s homes. Our commitment to artists has only increased in recent years with greater space given to music, performance, spoken word, the visual arts, creative documentary and new or emerging multi-disciplinary talent. This puts us in a strong position to deliver and deliver quickly.”
Claypole added that “Culture in Quarantine” is rooted in the experience of “both voluntary and involuntary isolation.”
“All this will be done hand-in-hand with the wider arts and cultural sector through coverage and collaboration. Some things we will be able to do directly, others we will support in different ways or simply just put a spotlight on.”