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Bristol's Cultural Organisations Team Up To Launch City-Wide Arts Channel

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Bristol's cultural organisations today announced that they will be coming together to present a programme of online arts experiences for audiences missing the buzz and community of Bristol's vibrant arts scene. Bristol Arts Channel will launch for a pilot season from 29 May until 30 June, in collaboration with The Space and Bristol & Bath Creative R&D.

Created with founding partners Bristol Old Vic, Watershed, Colston Hall, St Pauls Carnival, Trinity, Spike Island, St George's Bristol, MAYK, Arnolfini, Paraorchestra and Bristol Museums, the pilot programme of work will feature streamed performances, live and on demand, interactive events, carnivalesque experiments, virtual tours, playful Zoom experiences, lockdown lullabies, online exhibitions and mini-festivals, all curated by Bristol's cultural organisations to give audiences moments of togetherness from the comfort of their own homes.

Support from Bristol & Bath Creative R&D and digital commissioning and development agency The Space will enable participants to make their selected content online as accessible as possible, through captioning and interpretation.

Upcoming highlights include:

  • Bristol Old Vic's streamed season of plays, including Messiah(Fri 29 May),A Monster Calls (Fri 5 Jun) and The Grinning Man(Fri 26 Jun), with two more titles announced shortly.
  • Come the Revolution Watch Party with Watershed - Come the Revolution are hosting Sunday evening watching parties featuring some of the best Black Film & TV Netflix has to offer.
  • Colston Hall and Simple Things Festival will be broadcasting archive recordings of some of their most memorable gigs including Omar Souleyman from 2017 plus more to be announced.
  • Trinity Centre will be working with their Associate Artist Roxana Vilkto collect Lullabies from across Bristol in this time of quarantine for a digital exhibition later in the year.
  • Paraorchestra will be hosting their first Zoom performance, Paraorchestra Presents; an intimate live gig featuring solo performances from some of their talented musicians & collaborators.
  • St George's Bristol will be presenting a new twist on its popular Thursday Lunchtime Concert Series and weaving a path through all sorts of sonic possibilities in its Wednesday evening Listening Room. There'll be an invitation too to join Julian Baggini, Philosopher in Residence, as he flicks through the weekend papers and unpacks the philosophy behind the headlines.
  • Watershed will be hosting Nacho Problem: Cocktails and canapés at home - join Watershed Head Chef Chris Warren for a cook in of Watershed's famous Nachos - with details of how to recreate them in the comfort of your own home. Plus a cooking Q&A and some idea for some film-themed cocktails.
  • Colston Hall will present a broadcast of previously unreleased concert footage of John Grant performing with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, filmed in 2014.
  • Deaf Conversations about Cinema will move online - Watershed's monthly film discussion event for Deaf and hearing audience members moves online for the first time. Join an online watching party of a specially selected film, and then come together to share your thoughts and questions. Hosted by David Ellington.
  • Bristol Museums will present The World in Bristol, a festival of online activities celebrating Bristol as a global city. It will explore the diverse cultures that enrich and shape the city, as well as highlighting museum collections in new ways through presentations of artists' work and online exhibitions.
  • Colston Hall will present BristolTakeover Online Part 2. Following on from Colston Hall's hugely successful Bristol Takeover event on 23 May, which was watched by over 8,000 people and raised over £10,000 to support participating artists and venues, the team will be presenting Part 2 on Sat 20 Jun. Live streaming a line-up of fresh new talent alongside established names, from their homes to yours, in partnership with Bristol venues including The Louisiana, Thekla, The Fleece, Exchange, St George's Bristol, Trinity and more.
  • Plus so much more...

How To Get Involved

The pilot schedule has been put together by a range of organisations from across Bristol, exploring what is possible on a tight turnaround with very limited resources. If you have a clear idea for an online experience and understand how to make it, please get in touch by emailing hello@bristolartschannel.com. There is some space later in the schedule (the final week of the prototype season: Mon 29 Jun-Sun 5 Jul) for new organisations and artists to get involved. We will prioritise using our limited resources to ensure demographics and arts forms who are not already represented, can do so. At the end of the first season we will seek to share learning as widely as possible and open up again to ideas and suggestions for a possible follow up.

Tom Morris, Artistic Director at Bristol Old Vicsaid today, "Bristol Arts Channel is a testament to the collaborative spirit of Bristol. Arts organisation across the city are celebrating the strength, range and diversity of Bristol's cultural life in a way that taps into the spirit of collectivity and collaboration which has characterised Bristol under lockdown. The strength of this spirit, across the city's many communities, is one thing we in the cultural sector are determined to learn from and hang to in the future as we collectively pledge to inspire and entertain Bristol with the work of our greatest artists, now and in the future too."

Katherine Jewkes, Bristol Arts Channel Curator said today:"Bristol Arts Channel feels wholeheartedly in line with the spirit of the city, with arts organisations coming together to support each other as they showcase and champion the vibrant creative scene in Bristol, offering new ways for our communities to engage with us online during lockdown. It is a joy to be curating this pilot programme from the rich and diverse offering of our cultural sector, there should be something for everyone - from experimental digital initiatives through to day-long music festivals, some of the best theatre offering to live cinema watch parties, living room raves to more intimate conversations. We're excited to be presenting Bristol arts online."

At the end of the pilot season, Bristol Arts Channel, in close collaboration with Bristol & Bath Creative R&D will share learnings with the wider sector. As lockdown comes to an end, the Arts Channel will look to develop digital-to-physical transition points that ensure a longstanding footprint of the work already achieved and celebrated online.

In the hopes of uniting audiences and enabling ease of access, the Arts Channel will provide an overview of what is currently on offer, with plenty more to come for the upcoming weeks. An opening schedule of Bristol Arts Channel's programme will be available from 1 June at www.bristolartschannel.com.


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