How To Support The Arts From The Safety Of Your Couch


Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, theatre shows, music concerts, live performances and exhibitions have been put on hold. But, the work that artists contribute has never been more important, as it keeps us entertained, enlightened and connected during this time of isolation and fear. This is why we are imploring you, our readers, to support the arts and get behind your favourite artists, musicians and theatre makers to help see them through this challenging period. Here’s how you can show your support through online platforms and live streaming. 

support the arts

Creativity In The Face Of Adversity

Since the start of the national lockdown period, government has implemented very little means for arts organisations and self-employed artists to support themselves. This despite the fact that many of us isolating at home have relied on television, film, music and literature to keep entertained.

In light of these current challenges, arts organisations and performers have banded together to find new ways to share their talents with the world and provide much-needed positivity and hope for better days. From performing live concerts via streaming on social media, to virtual exhibitions and even free downloadables, the arts sector is proving itself invaluable during this time. So, why not get behind them to help keep the industry alive?

One way in which you can support the arts during this difficult period is by either donating tickets you have already purchased to the given artist or venue, or by only asking for a portion of a refund for your tickets. Every little bit counts towards keeping the industry and its thousands of talented freelance artists afloat. However, your contributions need not only be monetary. By simply engaging with the arts on a daily basis and sharing the joy of film, television, music, theatre or visual art with others, you can help keep the industry going through lockdown and beyond.

support the arts

Local & International Arts Projects To Support During Lockdown

Here are a few innovative arts projects to get you started on watching, listening and enjoying from the comfort and safety of your own home:

UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture is a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. Their work helps support numerous academically deserving, but financially needy students. On Tuesday, 12 May 2020, they ‘apparently’ announced the lineup for their upcoming UNFESTIVAL programme – a week-long showcase of un-events, non-happenings and general nothingness. Get your tickets here!

Joburg City Theatres

Joburg Theatre, Roodepoort Theatre and Soweto Theatre face huge losses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As three of the largest and most popular theatre venues in Gauteng, they have banded together to bring you a selection of online content. You can now watch some of their most successful productions online via their YouTube channel. From Janice Honeyman’s Pantos, to Joburg Ballet’s classical masterpieces and even famous operas, Joburg City Theatres will be keeping you entertained throughout lockdown. Not a fan of online streaming? Purchase a Joburg City Theatres voucher from Webtickets to redeem once lockdown is over.

Joburg Theatre
The Nelson Mandela Stage

POPArt ZoomProv Live

POPArt Theatre recently announced that they will be moving out of the Maboneng Precinct onto bigger and better horizons. However, due to the national lockdown and COVID-19 health regulations, they were not able to share one last goodbye with you at their former home. Nevertheless, being the crazy innovators they are, the POPArt team have gone virtual. Presenting you with their new onlinel feature – ZoomProv Live performances! Join your favourite POPArt regulars for a fun online session of rapid improvisation, wit and a possible few fumbles.

If you won’t be able to join this event, please consider donating to POPArt through their website. Even the smallest contribution will go a long way to getting them back up and running once lockdown is over.

#TheatreWillRise – The Market Theatre Monologues

The Market Theatre has been an icon of determination and perseverance against all odds since 1976. Join them for daily monologue sessions performed by some of South Africa’s most seasoned theatre professionals. The #TheatreWillRise campaign aims to keep audiences engaged, entertained and invested in the theatre, even while under lockdown.

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Warren Masemola's monologue from The Fisherman in which he performed alongside Siyabonga Thwala in 2019. @warrenmasemola This monologue is part of the #Theatrewillriseagain campaign. #TheatreWillRiseAgain is a social media campaign initiated by the Market Theatre Foundation for South African artists to share pieces of dramatic monologues and solo performances. The home-recorded videos will offer a walk down memory lane of some of the contemporary works that the Market Theatre has staged over the years. About the monologue: The Fisherman is based on a novel by renowned Nigerian novelist Chigozie Obioma. It depicts a story of two brothers who are ill-fated by the choices of their youth. The plot has been likened to the mythical tale of Cain and Abel, but this time the brothers and their entire family are rocked to the core by the eventuality of an evil prophecy. The Fisherman is one of Obioma's early works and has earned him prestige internationally, with the New York Times dubbing him “the heir to Chinua Achebe.” Adapted for the stage by Gbolahan Obisesan and directed by James Ngcobo, this production stars Siyabonga Thwala and Warren Masemola. _ #TheatreWillRiseAgain #theatre #monologue #actorslife #lifeinlockdown #lockdown2020 #lockdownsouthafrica #actors #thearts

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Joburg Ballet’s Chair Barre Classes

Just a few weeks before the national lockdown was implemented, Joburg Ballet was due to perform their first season for 2020. They were only able to run two out of five shows, subsequently losing over R1 million. Thankfully, all ticket holders donated their tickets to the company rather than ask for a refund. However, the cost of keeping the company afloat during the lockdown and beyond is going to prove a challenge for Joburg Ballet. You can show your support by becoming a Friend of the Ballet or by swiping your My School, My Village, My Planet card at Woolworths, Engen or various other partnering retailers. 

Joburg Ballet’s dancers are also working hard at home to keep fit and in top form for their return to the stage. You can now join principal dancers Shannon Glover and Chase Bosch for thrice weekly chair barre classes online, too! All you need is a little courage, some ballet pumps and a good sense of humour.

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You asked and we listened! LOCKDOWN “CHAIR BARRE” – Classes start tonight! Join our Company Manager Chase Bosch and Principal Dancer Shannon Glover as they alternate for a 40 minute Adult Ballet Begginers class. The class will take place on ZOOM so download the app and join in for fun-filled class. Schedule for classes is as follows: *Monday’s at 5:15pm (@shanglover07) *Wednesday’s at 5:15pm (Chase) *Saturday’s at 9:30am (@shanglover07) They will also be recording the classes so if you happen to miss the class you can do it at a later stage. For any further info and to be added onto their WhatsApp group, please e-mail chase.danceandmassage@gmail.com and/or shanglover07@gmail.com HAPPY DANCING💃🕴💃🕴

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Goliaths Go Live

Goliath and Goliath, in collaboration with Skyroom Live, present the Goliaths Go Live daily feature. Every day at 14:00 during lockdown, your favourite comedy trio will be live, chatting to a celebrity guest about their lockdown experiences, challenges and advice for their fellow South Africans. Tune in for a much-needed dose of giggles and to feel less alone during this difficult time.

Google Arts & Culture Live Gallery Tours

Seeing that travel bans are unlikely to be lifted any time soon, why not visit the world’s top museums and galleries from right where you are? Google Arts and Culture have partnered with over 2500 museums and galleries to bring you a series of fantastic online exhibits. From London to Seoul, you can traverse the globe’s most famous arts and culture centres without moving an inch. In addition, a few of these galleries will be posting their most zen art works under the hashtag #MuseumMomementOfZen on social media to help keep you calm during these trying times. The collection includes the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim in New York City, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul and many more. Click here for more information.

Norval Foundation Virtual Tour

The Norval Foundation is a newly opened centre in the Western Cape for the research and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and beyond. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the foundation announced that it would no longer allow visitors to its sculpture garden and restaurant. Instead, you can tour the garden, Skotnes Restaurant and the on-site gift shop from your own home using their virtual tour function! You can also check out their current exhibitions on their website.

If you would like to make a donation to the Norval Foundation, please follow this link – https://www.norvalfoundation.org/donate/. Funds go towards sponsoring arts education for underprivileged schools in the area.

Social Distancing Festival

The Social Distancing Festival is both a celebration of artists and their dedicated work, as well as an acknowledgement that social distancing is imperative to curbing the spread of COVID-19. This online platform seeks to create solidarity among global art communities, while still bringing in audiences to see the work they have tirelessly developed over months or even years. The Social Distancing Festival will not be hosting any live streaming events, but instead acts as a directory for artists to post notifications, short video clips and streaming links to their work. Check out upcoming streaming events from across the globe here.

#MOCAAFromYourCouch

The Zeitz MOCAA museum in Cape Town temporarily shut its doors to promote social distancing and self-isolation in March. However, this does not mean that you cannot still enjoy their vast collection of contemporary African art. Zeitz MOCAA will be posting daily to their social media accounts, bringing you a glimpse of some of their most popular exhibitions. Use the hashtag #MOCAAFromYourCouch to see their daily updates and to engage with fellow art lovers online.

Standard Bank Arts – Lumieres d’ Afriques

The Lumieres d’ Afriques exhibition at the Standard Bank Art Gallery was due to take place between 21 February – 9 April 2020. Unfortunately, the gallery has had to temporarily suspend the exhibition to comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations. But, there is hope for all you art lovers out there – Standard Bank Arts announced on Wednesday, 18 March 2020 that they will be bringing you a virtual Lumieres d’ Afriques art fair! Take a tour around the gallery, admiring the art works of over 54 artists from 54 countries across Africa. It’s the perfect way to wile away a few hours when you’re stuck in self-isolation.

The Standard Bank Art Gallery also recently introduced an interactive online feature called Home Studio Live. Offering art and music lovers a window to the arts from the safety of their own homes, this platform will see various Standard Bank Young Artist award winners perform live from their own home studios to keep you entertained and connected with the arts at large over the course of the lockdown. Follow Standard Bank Arts on Facebook to keep up with their live streaming events.

The Metropolitan Opera

Have you always dreamed of travelling to New York to visit the Metropolitan Opera House? Well now you can! Join the Met for their nightly opera streams – a free series of encore Live in HD presentations available to stream via the company’s website or the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple devices and Samsung Smart TV, during the coronavirus closure. Sit back and indulge in the delicious sounds of Carmen, La Traviata, Eugene Onegin and many more. All nightly Met opera streams stay open for 23 hours, so you will most likely only be able to access them from morning until early afternoon in South Africa. But, let’s be honest, what better way is there to wake your neighbours and spread a little joy than by pumping world-class opera through your speakers? Happy listening!

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In tonight’s free Nightly Met Opera Stream, soprano @sonyayoncheva sings the title role of Puccini’s grand melodrama Tosca. @emvillaume is on the podium to conduct the 2018 Live in HD transmission of Sir David McVicar’s vivid staging, available tonight, April 21, starting at 7:30PM EDT until tomorrow, April 22, at 6:30PM EDT. Access the stream, with subtitles, via the link in our story or through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV. The Free streams are available on the apps without logging in by clicking “Browse and Preview” in the apps for connected TV, and “Explore the App” on tablets and mobile devices. Photo by Ken Howard / Met Opera #MetOperaStreams #MetOpera #Opera #Tosca #Puccini #MetOperaonDemand #MetHD #MeetOpera #StayHome #StayatHome

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National Theatre At Home

The National Theatre in London is expected to remain closed to the public until late June. As such, the theatre debuted their At Home live streaming series, bringing their quintessential blend of classic and contemporary British theatre to the world under lockdown. Each Thursday, they post a new event to stream from the comfort and safety of your couch. Click here to see what’s on this week.

The National Arts Festival Makhanda

A 969km annual pilgrimage from Joburg to Makhanda takes place each June as theatre lovers, art fundis and music aficionados flock to the National Arts Festival. In light of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, and subsequent travel bans, the NAF seemed likely to be cancelled. However, proving that innovation and the arts have a steadfast relationship, their stakeholders and CEO have come up with a daring solution – the first ever virtual National Arts Festival, bringing you 11 days of amazing directly from Makhanda. The festival is set to take the format of virtual tours, online workshops and panel discussions and possible live stream performances. Keep an eye out for updates on the NAF 2020 festival here.

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Ok, so here's the thing: the National Arts Festival 2020 won’t be cancelled, but it will be different. From 25 June to 5 July 2020, the National Arts Festival will be going completely virtual for the full 11 days of Amazing. By going virtual, the Festival can continue to support artists and the arts in 2020 by presenting work within a digital space. We will be able to share some magic and hope with those who may still be confined to their homes, offering an opportunity to connect when we are being asked to distance ourselves from one another. . Here’s to a whole new and exciting experience for the National Arts Festival because if anyone is resilient, agile, creative and extraordinary – it is our artists. . We're very excited about this – and can't wait to hear what you think! . 📸: Birthing Nureyev by Mark Wessels . #NAF2020 #VirtualNAF #arts #coronavirus #covid19 #creativethinking #virtual #digitalart #creativity #agility #southafrica #artsfestival #magic #socialdistancing #connection

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Do you know of any other local or international organisation streaming theatre productions, live music or arts festivals? Let us know about them! 

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