Soprano Chen Reiss, Theatre Online, National Poetry Competition
To mark Beethoven's 250th anniversary, soprano Chen Reiss has released an album of rarely performed Beethoven arias called Immortal Beloved. She joins us live from her home in Vienna, and also performs a favourite aria by Handel.
With arts organisations scrambling to reproduce their output online, we discuss the dilemmas of streaming works intended to be experienced communally. Academic Kirsty Sedgman, who specialises in audience research, and theatre critic Alice Saville, Editor of Exeunt Magazine, consider the consequences for artists and their audiences.
Susannah Hart has won the National Poetry Competition for her poem Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, which draws from her experiences as a school governor - the poem is her reaction to how we support and look after children at risk.
Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Timothy Prosser
Engineer: John Boland
Image: Chen Reiss
Photo Credit: Paul Marc Mitchell
Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson plays live from Reykjavik
Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson has a new album, Debussy – Rameau, exploring the music of two very different but complementary composers. He plays live from Reykjavik, exclusively for Front Row.
Actor Jo Hartley - best known for her roles in Shane Meadows' This is England series - discusses her new TV drama, In My Skin, which is coming to BBC Three. It's the story of a Welsh teenager - Bethan - who is dealing with mental illness, friendships and her sexuality. Her mother Trina - played by Hartley - has bipolar disorder and is sectioned in a psychiatric ward but Bethan is doing all she can to hide her mother's condition from her friends and the school authorities. The part is based on the personal experiences of Welsh writer Kayleigh Llewellyn.
Musician Mik Scarlet gives his Disabled Person’s Guide to Surviving (and Thriving) in Lockdown. He passes on his top tips and argues that, although on screen disabled people are often portrayed as weak and needing help, there is a lot the able-bodied can learn from this community who are more familiar with enforced time spent at home.
The death of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki has been announced. Music critic and Radio 3 presenter Tom Service considers what it was about his music, which sounded uncompromisingly modern, that also appealed to people who felt they wouldn't normally enjoy modern classical music.
Presenter: Samira Ahmed
Producer: Oliver Jones
Gloria Gaynor, Offline Arts, film Vivarium and novel Hamnet reviewed, Culture Clinic
Disco legend Gloria Gaynor made headlines earlier this month when her TikTok video encouraging people to wash their hands to her hit I Will Survive went viral. She joins us from her home in South Carolina, to discuss winning a Grammy for her latest album Testimony, and how she's keeping busy in self-isolation.
As galleries and art centres close their doors many organisations are turning to digital platforms to reach audiences, but what about the 5 million people in the UK that don’t have access to the internet? Front Row speaks to Stella Duffy, co-director of Fun Palaces and Sally Shaw, Director of Firstsite Gallery in Colchester about the initiatives they’re setting up to reach those that are not online.
Maggie O’Farrell’s latest novel is named after Shakespeare’s only son Hamnet, who died of the Plague. It has been almost universally acclaimed as her finest work.
And a new film – Vivarium – is a study in claustrophobia and enforced closeness for a young couple who have to live in a house they can’t leave. Starring Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg it has an eerie resonance in the current world of social isolation and lockdown. Jenny McCartney and Barb Jungr join John to review the book and the film.
And Shahidha Bari joins Front Row for our Cultural Clinic. She'll be answering questions on the cultural significance of clothes - especially when we're at home and tempted to stay in our PJs all day.
Presenter: John Wilson
Producer: Sarah Johnson
Owen Sheers, Nikita Lalwani, Writing in isolation
The bestselling children’s book series The Snow Spider has been adapted for TV by award-winning writer, poet and playwright Owen Sheers. It is a fantasy drama that follows nine-year-old Gwyn as he discovers his magical powers and his family connection to the Welsh myths of the Mabinogion. Owen tells us how he adapted a much-loved classic.
Booker longlisted author Nikita Lalwani discusses her new novel You People, which tells the story of a London pizzeria that employs and supports refugees and illegal immigrants. But what happens when moral decisions are left at the hands of a man beyond the law? Nikita reveals the inspiration behind the story and her research into the refugee crisis and Britain’s hostile environment.
With book festivals cancelled, Amazon book stocks about to run out and self-employed authors facing difficult financial circumstances, book publicist Georgina Moore joins us to discuss how the literary world is adapting to the challenges of Coronavirus.
Looking for a creative project while self-isolating? Writers Nikita Lalwani and Owen Sheers give us a masterclass in how to write a novel. As well as being award-winning authors, Nikita and Owen also teach creative writing – Nikita is a Senior Lecturer on the MA Creative Writing course at Royal Holloway and Owen is a Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.
Presenter: Shahidha Bari
Producer: Edwina Pitman and Lucy Wai
Main image: Fflynn Edwards as Gwyn Griffiths in The Snow Spider
Image credit: Leopard Pictures
Eliza Carthy, Art galleries and coronavirus, Terrence McNally obituary
Singer and fiddle player Eliza Carthy, daughter of folk doyens Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy, is known as a folk musician but, while being steeped in traditional music, she has wide musical horizons. Her new album Through that Sound (My Secret was Made Known) is a collection of her own songs. It’s a collaboration with musician and producer Ben Seal, who provides arrangements for string quartet, bass clarinet and keys. Eliza and her band were all rehearsed and ready to tour this month, but that is of course cancelled. She joins Front Row live from the Waterson Carthy household in Robin Hood's Bay, to talk about being a single mother, part-time carer and professional musician, to play and sing, and offer some tips to people for whom self-isolation offers the opportunity to write songs.
As all galleries in the UK are ordered to close by the government as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus we consider the financial impact, how much can realistically move online and if the government and arts bodies are doing enough to support galleries. Kirsty is joined by director of the National Gallery, Gabriele Finaldi, Director of Spike Island in Bristol, Robert Leckie and art critic Louisa Buck to give us the picture across the UK.
Novelist Armstead Maupin, author of the Tales of the City series, pays tribute to playwright Terrence McNally who has died of Coronavirus complications aged 81. The four-time Tony winner, was known for his thoughtful chronicles of gay life, homophobia, love and AIDS.
Presenter: Kirsty Lang
Producer: Simon Richardson
Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant
Image: Eliza Carthy