In short, we envisage a virtual festival of the arts – Culture in Quarantine – rooted in the experience of both voluntary and involuntary isolation
– Jonty Claypole, director of Arts, BBC
With coronavirus forcing the closure of Britain's arts institutions, the BBC has offered a way for isolated citizens to get their cultural fix – a festival to show how the sector is responding to the global panemic.
Announced by the BBC's director of Arts, Jonty Claypole, the festival will be distributed through TV, radio and online, and will feature guides to closed exhibitions or permanent gallery collections, as well as music and comedy performances, filmed recordings of plays and archive footage.
"As a public service organisation, it has always aimed to be more than a broadcaster but a stage, gallery and cultural platform in everybody’s homes," said Claypole.
"For a sector that thrives on bringing people together to share live and shared experiences, and that brings benefits for us all, it raises the urgent question: what is culture in a state of quarantine?
"In short, we envisage a virtual festival of the arts – Culture in Quarantine – rooted in the experience of both voluntary and involuntary isolation. All this will be done hand-in-hand with the wider arts and cultural sector through coverage and collaboration. Some things we will be able to do directly, others we will support in different ways or simply just put a spotlight on."
The BBC is working closely with Arts Council England (ACE) on the project, which is part of a wider programme to keep the nation "informed, educated and entertained in unprecedented times".