The show must go on-line! Westside’s virtual artistic performances

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker is to be streamed live online from The REP theatre at 7.30pm on Friday 18 December.

The magical show will be shortened to 80 minutes and will also be available to view as a video-on-demand recording from Saturday 19 to Thursday 24 December.

It’s just one example of how the artistic community in our area is living by the #WestsideStillWorking tagline that reflects the continuing hard graft despite Birmingham being subject to tough Tier 3 restrictions.

Sean Foley, artistic director at The REP, added: “In light of [in-person] performances being cancelled, we have again focused on finding solutions and decided to tackle uncertainties by enabling audiences to enjoy the world premiere of this special new adaptation from home.”

Carlos Acosta, director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, said: “By live streaming this new adapted version of our famous and much-loved production we can proceed with confidence and focus on making the event as special as possible for our wonderful audiences.

“I can’t deny it’s disappointing not to see everyone’s happy faces in the theatre, but we will plan to end the year on a Christmas high, as finding ways of celebrating is important right now.” Tickets for The Nutcracker cost £15 and can be booked here: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/the-nutcracker-at-the-rep-online

Elsewhere on Westside, the Crescent Theatre in Sheepcote Street has been streaming events on its own YouTube channel throughout recent lockdowns, including a Folkin’ Digital concert in August and the play Foxfinder in October.

Meanwhile, The Crescent’s Christmas production of Cinderella, has been postponed from December to January 16 to 24 next year.

Crescent chairman Andrew Lowrie said: “Unfortunately, lockdown and Tier 3 has forced us to close the theatre, but we are doing what we can digitally.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel our Christmas Wassail concert from December 14 to 16, but we’re trying to put together a 15 to 30 minute back catalogue on our YouTube channel.

“Hopefully restrictions will be eased on December 16 so we can resume rehearsals for Cinderalla.” More details of shows at The Crescent can be found here: www.crescent-theatre.co.uk.

Over at the Ikon Gallery on Oozells Street the online shop remains open and the gallery also continues to share exhibitions and activities via its website, www.ikon-gallery.org and social media channels.

These include the newly announced world premiere of year zero (2020), an audio-visual artwork by British artist Haroon Mirza, which can be seen on Ikon’s YouTube account at 8pm on 16 December.

Produced during the COVID-19 lockdown, this show is inspired by the phone footage of Italians singing from their balconies and windows at the start of the pandemic.

Year zero is performed by vocalist Sarah-Jane Lewis and accompanied by an electronic score by musician Jack Jelfs.

The recital was performed for Mirza’s neighbours during the second national lockdown in November. More details of what’s on at the Ikon can be found here www.ikon-gallery.org.

By Tony Collins

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