Earlier in the week, we spoke about the importance of cultural vibrancy in fulfilling our purpose of Creating Thriving Cities. Culture is at the heart of all of our communities and has a significant impact on the appeal and enjoyment of our cities. We need cultural vibrancy to keep our cities alive.
Across each of our regions, we’re proud to partner with cultural organisations and charities that are making a real difference to the communities in which they operate. They are deeply embedded in the communities, tailoring their offering to support the wants and needs of the people they serve.
From improving mental wellbeing, offering training and skills support and acting as a safe space for people to tell their stories and share their feelings, cultural organisations have the power to transform lives.
Of course, many of our cultural partners, such as the Royal Exchange, Grand Union, Leeds Playhouse, Liverpool Biennial, have been unable to provide the support that they would so desperately like to this year. But, in supporting us, many have provided fantastic entertainment and means of escape through virtual events and performances. Here’s just some of what’s on offer this Christmas.
Whether you decide to stay at home or want to visit HOME, the team is presenting a variety of festive theatre performances to help brighten up Christmas. All online shows are available free or on a pay-what-you-like basis.
12th - 23rd December
Sh!t Actually is a two-woman remake of the marmite Christmas film, Love Actually. Live songs, queer love stories and politics bring together this adults-only celebration of ‘Christmas Actually’.
16th December - 3rd January
Duckie reimagines the classic tale of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling. Acclaimed cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat adds glitz and glamour to the story, bringing the message of tolerance and self acceptance to its core.
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
18th - 24th December
Together with Birmingham Royal Ballet, The REP is bringing the magic of the festive favourite, The Nutcracker to you this Christmas with a live, digital stream of its newly adapted show.
For those not familiar with The Nutcracker, the story takes place on Christmas Eve when Clara receives an enchanted Nutcracker as a present. The two go on a magical adventure featuring a battle with the Mouse King and, of course, a handsome prince.
Audiences will also get the opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes and hear from performers in exclusive interviews.
The live stream performance will take place on Friday 18th December and then will be available on demand from 7.30pm on Saturday 19th December at 7.30pm until midnight on Christmas Eve.
Manchester Art Gallery
If Christmas isn’t for you, or you’re feeling a little more ‘bah humbug’ than usual this year, Manchester Art Gallery exhibition curators, Natasha Howes and Fiona Corridan have livestreamed a tour of Grayson’s Art Club. This is an exhibition of works selected by artist Grayson Perry during his Channel 4 TV series of the same name.
The works are personal visual representations of lockdown which have been created by members of the public, well-known artists and celebrities.
“This show is a crystallisation of the feelings and obsessions of artists from all over the country whether it is their first painting since primary school or they are world famous,” said Grayson Perry.
Find out more about the exhibition here.
As part of our Wishing Tree campaign this year, we’ve been supporting Slung Low with their mission to give a book to every child in Holbeck - which for some may be their only book this year - as they can’t provide their usual Christmas performances for schools.
But what they can still do is Next week, the team are bringing back their interactive gameshow ‘You Can Bet It’s Christmas’ which will be live streamed on Facebook and YouTube.
Plus, if you’re brave enough, there’s a chance to be part of the live show. All the details - whether you want to take part in the live show or not - are here.
Liverpool everyman & Playhouse
To get you into the festive spirit, musical director George Francis is curating an evening of ‘music, merriment and sparkle’ inspired by the glitzy underground cabaret bars of New York City.
There will be musical numbers and Christmas classics to welcome you back to the Everyman which, as a cabaret space, has tables of two and four available designed especially for intimate and socially distanced performances so you can visit and enjoy the Everyman safely.
This year the Hallé are sharing their annual Christmas concert on Youtube for everyone to watch. The concert will be released on Sunday 20th December here.