Cultural quickies

Mar 27 2020 | By More

Edinburgh’s responses to Covid-19

With everyone having to stay at home, and all the theatres and TV studios dark, it seems that every actor and their cat has started up a daily YouTube or Facebook Live show.

Not all are created equal. But there is certainly a lot of enthusiasm. PE with Joe Wicks’ morning fitness routines, for example, have proved that YouTubers can be a lot more than light-hearted diversions.

Kevin Quantum is committing to a daily magic lesson until the craziness ends. Pic: Kevin Quantum

The likes of Maddie Moate and David Walliams are fun – but not really in or remit. However Patrick Stewart reading through Shakespeare’s sonnets, one every day and posting them on his social media, can certainly stay in!

Mostly, however, we would like to concentrate on Edinburgh-based companies and individual performers who have dedicated their time to create a brief daily or weekly broadcast.

Here are a few for starters. Nice and brief – easily watchable over coffee – and all likely to remain online so you can catch up if you come in late. It’s early days yet, so do let us know of any others.


We Need Some Light
Room 29 Theatre’s Musicals Moments
Neil Lavin and Ailsa Mackintosh of Room 29 Theatre say: “In these difficult times, we wanted to use our platform to spread a little bit of light to the musical theatre community by hosting a digital cabaret in place of the fundraising concerts we were aiming to plan this springtime.”

The company is aiming to stage the musical comedy First Date at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, should it still go ahead. It will be sharing a range of musical performances from Room 29 alumni and the #FirstDateFringe cast.
Online: daily at about noon on Facebook: @room29theatre.

Quantum Magic Lab
Daily magic lessons with Kevin Quantum
Edinburgh-based magician Kevin Quantum, founder of the Edinburgh Magic Festival, is teaching his viewers how to do a different magic trick every day at noon on his YouTube channel “for as long as this craziness lasts”.

Mr Quantum says he will not just being showing how to do the tricks, but go into the science behind them, too. This is good, basic level stuff – no need for special equipment. He kicked off with an elastic band transposition trick then a vanishing coin, and on to a finger illusion showing how to take your finger off “in a new way”.
Online: Noon, daily, on YouTube: @kevinmcmahonmagic.

Can You Solve It?
Richard Wiseman poses a daily puzzle.
Not theatre but we like the tease! Edinburgh-based psychologist, author and magician Richard Wiseman is posing a free puzzle on his website every day. He posts the answer the following day along with the next day’s question. And formats it so you can still test yourself with yesterday’s question, if you’ve not seen it, before you read the answer.
Online: Follow Richard on Twitter (@RichardWiseman) or check his website: about 9am.

Keep-Going Together
Perth Theatre posts a daily cultural musing:
A daily moment of culture and community to brighten people’s days, curated by Perth Theatre’s artistic director Lu Kemp. “Keep Going Together is our way of keeping the theatre community together as we all face this challenging situation. It’s a bite-sized bit of escapism that can fit easily into everybody’s day.”
Online: Posted daily on Perth’s dedicated website:

Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s dailyYouTube entertainment for people of all ages…
An online series for the people of Scotland and beyond: “#PFTLightHopeJoy aims to engage, entertain, inspire and comfort audiences. You will experience demonstrations, activities to do at home, performances of short plays, poetry, songs, stories and other performances, and the opportunity to learn new skills, and do some fun arts and crafts. Mostly on , but also on , Facebook and Instagram.
Online: Posted daily. Best on PFT’s YouTube channel, but also on Twitter, Facebook. and Instagram.

A Sonnet A Day
Captain Picard reads Shakespeare’s sonnets
Patrick Stewart is recording himself reading Shakespeare’s sonnets and posting them on his social media.

He says: “When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me (there wasn’t much) and as she put it in front of me she would say: ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ How about, ‘A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away’? So…here we go.”

This project has a nicely haphazard splendour to it. It’s not actually every day – Sonnet 5 was too hard and Sonnet 6 only appeared on Twitter – and there’s no regular time slot. But this is strong stuff and hopefully he will get through all 154 (or is it 160?). Stewart finds the meaning and rhythm to every line, the cadence of every word, with a luminous musicality that will bear many, many listenings.
Online: Daily on Facebook (@patrickstewart) and Twitter (@sirpatstew).

We will add more daily and weekly listings to this little lot as they start, or we become aware of them! So please do contact us with anything which you think could be added to this list.


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