With many concerts and performances being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, artists around the world have taken to social media platforms to ensure that hope prevails through music.
Arts, culture and theatre serve as a creative outlet, allowing us to escape the daily stress of life by simply listening to a melody or attending a performance. With coronavirus vacating concert halls and theatres, artists have found new ways to perform - virtually.
Various artists and composers are coming together by means of online performances within their own homes. Through impromptu livestreams, often joined by special guests via video chats, popular artists and celebrities are hosting free live shows on Facebook, Instagram, Zoom and other platforms for fans across the globe. Former ‘Take That’ superstar, Gary Barlow, is hosting The Crooner Sessions on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where he is seen performing with other superstars such as Robbie Williams, Queen’s Brian May, and Cliff Richard from what seems to be his living room. Fans are also getting the chance to share the spotlight, as videos of their performances are also being featured.
This initiative has also spread locally, as Maltese artists are turning their living rooms into concert stages. Bands such as Red Electrick and the Travellers are hosting streamed living room sessions, while even the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra has taken to empty streets to create a captivating performance.
Musical theatre lovers also have something to look forward to during their days in quarantine, as the legendary composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, has also been hosting live piano-playing sessions on his Facebook page. Furthermore, the impresario has announced that all his musicals will be exclusively livestreamed on the YouTube Channel ‘The Shows Must Go On!’. Every Friday at 7pm BST (2pm EDT, 4am AEST) the channel will air a full-length performance of the composer’s greatest musicals which will be available for 48hours. Musical theatre aficionados can now enjoy classics like ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ for free as musicals are transported from stage to screen. The Metropolitan Opera is also streaming over 700 classical and contemporary performances through a subscription-based service.
Theatres are also keeping their patrons entertained with online streaming of their own. The London National Theatre for one, is streaming a production every Thursday on the ‘National Theatre’ YouTube channel. Each week, a new performance is made available for free on the platform featuring classic productions such as ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Two Guvnors, One Man’.
The team behind Festival Malta is also working hard to be part of such an initiative, as plans are underway for a street festival, various broadcasts on national television, as well as online versions of the three long-awaited summer events: Għanafest, The Malta International Arts Festival and The Malta Jazz Festival. While these innovative events are still in development, we cannot help but feel excited for what’s planned for the 2020 cultural calendar regardless of the current situation.
With all the streaming options available, music and theatre can still be enjoyed from the comfort of one’s home. During such trying times we must remember that creativity and entertainment are a necessary companion which can help us to get through almost anything. The arts do not have to be
confined to a stage to be enjoyed, they can simply be experienced anywhere. As the great Shakespeare once wrote “All the world’s a stage”.