7 digital distractions for families in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 12:30 10 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:12 11 April 2020

Storyteller John Row, who travels across the country and the world telling stories, is sharing some of his engaging tales online during lockdown

Storyteller John Row, who travels across the country and the world telling stories, is sharing some of his engaging tales online during lockdown

Is lockdown boredom starting to bite? Are you frustrated you can’t enjoy the spring sunshine? Are the kids starting to bounce off the walls? Here some suggestions to keep body and mind occupied

The Jive Aces will be issuing a performance online everyday and can be accessed via the Ipswich Jazz Festival web page   Photo: Jive AcesThe Jive Aces will be issuing a performance online everyday and can be accessed via the Ipswich Jazz Festival web page Photo: Jive Aces

Pride and Prejudice: The Musical

Where: What’s On Stage Facebook Live

When: Saturday April 11, 2pm

It’s a sign of the times when the premiere of a new West End musical gets its first performance via Facebook Live rather on stage in a theatre but this production deserves full marks for their invention and tenacity.

Pride and Prejudice: The Musical penned by Tony Award nominee Paul Gordon, with direction by Robert Kelley, musical direction by Bill Liberatore and choreography by Dottie Lester-White. It had its world premiere at TheatreWorks in Silicon Valley in December 2019, and was captured live by Streaming Musicals.

It will receive its UK premiere via Facebook Live and stars Mary Mattison as Elizabeth Bennett and Justin Mortelliti as Mr. Darcy. Streaming Musicals is promising that the broadcast will faithfully replicate the audience’s experience in California.

Parent Play Writing

(Left to Right) Paisley Pascal and Hayley Evenett in the original promenade theatre production of Footsteps The story of Ipswich Suffragettes has been turned into an audio drama  Photo: Karen Goddard(Left to Right) Paisley Pascal and Hayley Evenett in the original promenade theatre production of Footsteps The story of Ipswich Suffragettes has been turned into an audio drama Photo: Karen Goddard

Where: Online via Zoom

When: Four Tuesdays from April 14 at 8pm

Eastern Angles theatre company will be running a playwriting drop in session specifically for parents of children under 18. The four sessions will focus on writing techniques, how to get ideas on the page and how to create characters. This is an opportunity to flex those writing muscles for half an hour without any pressure (and to have some dedicated time to yourself)

All experiences welcome, all you need is a pen and a piece of paper.

Sessions will be led by artistic associate Scott Hurran and mother of two and new home schooler, Alyson Tipping, the company’s engagement manager. These sessions are free of charge, however if you are able to, Eastern Angles ask that you make a small donation at the time of booking, to help them to continue to provide virtual content.

All sessions will take place on Zoom. Please provide an email address when booking as the link to join the session will be emailed to you.


Where: Online Soundcloud

When: Anytime

Footsteps is a promenade play by Martha Loader, based on the book ‘A Song of their Own’ by Joy Bounds. It first found life as part of a walking tour across Ipswich taking in sites relating to the local campaign for women’s suffrage.

Thanks to help from local actor, writer and musician Pat Whymark, Martha’s play has been turned into an audio performance

All parts are played by Henri Merriam & Martha Loader with additional narration from Pat Whymark.

A booklet containing Martha’s script, and the audio trail map (designed by Sue Emmerson) is available for sale at Ipswich Tourist Information Centre. Take yourself back in time and on a mental tour around the streets of Ipswich.

The Virtual Ipswich Jazz Festival

Where: Ipswich Jazz Festival website

When: Anytime

This is a collection of links to activities now offered by some of the fine musicians who have played at or who were due to play at the festival. Using phone, WhatsApp, Facetime, Skype and/or Zoom they offer a mix of tuition, online workshops, performances and more.

If you are a young musician (or older musician) here is an opportunity to take advantage of a unique opportunity to play with and learn from some of the UK’s top jazz musicians – it’s one of the few silver linings in the cloud above us right now.

Charges for lessons and workshops are for you to agree with the musician. Group sessions will of course be cheaper per head.

If you are under 18, please check with your parents/guardians before signing up for an online lesson.

You may also want to watch:

Among the artists offering tuition are: Alan Barnes, Saxophone & clarinet; Arnie Somogyi, Bass; Derek Nash, Saxophone; George Double, Drums; Joanna Eden, Singing and Becki Biggins, Vocals, saxophone and virtual workshop on the Blues.

Headlining band The Jive Aces will be offering a daily livestream band performance at 8.30 pm on Facebook.

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage

Where: Sadler’s Wells website

When: Anytime

Sadler’s Wells have organised a wide range of dance-related treats for families to engage with during lockdown. They have daily workouts and dance classes for all ages and abilities as well a range online premieres to be enjoyed.

Take part in fun family dance workshops designed for children aged 2 to 6 years (and big kids too!)

Learn how to balance, move like your favourite animal, and dance the way colours make you feel.

There are 10 different movement activities for children and their grown-ups to follow at home. The sessions are designed for children aged 2 to 6 years but many of the activities offer a fun challenge for older primary school children too.

These workshops are specially created for families with younger children to do from home while nurseries and schools are closed. They form part of Sadler’s Wells’ ‘Take Part’ series.

For grandparents you can join The Company of Elders. A new workshop will be released every Wednesday, focusing on a different dance style, from bharatanatyam to flamenco, contemporary to hip hop.

These workshops are specially adapted for those aged 60+ but anyone in your household can join in and enjoy!

For those wanting to watch an inspirational dance performance then from April 10-17, they are screening Rain, a seminal work by choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, first performed in 2017.

With this vibrant choreography, De Keersmaeker combines two of her great loves: pure dance and the minimalistic music of Steve Reich. Delineated by a curtain of fine strings, 10 dancers display an impressive succession of virtuoso dance phrases, in jewel-toned costumes by designer Dries van Noten.

John Row: Storyteller

Where: World Storytelling Café

When: anytime

There is a world of difference between reading a book and being told an engaging story. Just as film and theatre are different art forms so reading and storytelling are similarly kept apart by a common language.

In a book you interpret the writers words but a master storyteller like Suffolk-based John Row can transport you around the world with his enthusiastic and spellbinding presentation. His command of language and his performance skills have audiences in the palm of his hand.

He cut his teeth as a performer at the Ipswich Arts Theatre in the 1970s and now is a veteran of the U.K. festival scene and a familiar figure at Glastonbury Festival, Kidz Field and Cambridge Folk Festival, where he has been performing for nearly 30 years.

To help combat boredom during lockdown he has made a number of storytelling videos available which he will continue to add to. He promises to take audiences young and old on an adventure around the world.

Thank the NHS Poster

Where: BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine

When: Anytime

Want to do something creative to support the amazing work being carried by the doctors, nurses and support staff at hospitals up and down the country? Then create a colourful poster from revered artist Michael Craig-Martin.

Michael Craig-Martin was an influential teacher at Goldsmith’s College, London from the 1970s to the 1990s where he mentored a gifted group known later as the Young British Artists, among them Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and Sarah Lucas.

For this tribute poster, he has used Gerbera flowers, known as the African daisy, as they grow in a riot of colours. This lets people apply their own palette to show their appreciation of those doing life-saving work in hospitals and care homes.

The Royal Academician said he wanted his design to be positive and hopeful.

The poster can be downloaded from the website, printed and then coloured in.

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