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Arts for wellbeing - listen, watch, read

At a time when most of our arts programme were on hold because musicians and artists could no longer visit our hospitals, we created a page of creative links to help us all relax and unwind.



Listen to Sir Patrick Stewart's daily readings of sonnets, delivered over social media earlier in 2020. Stewart is known to many for Star Trek: The Next Generation, but is also a longtime member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A Sonnet A Day by Sir Patrick Stewart (unofficial YouTube site)

@SirPatStew on Twitter

Actor Sam West read two new poems every day on Soundcloud earlier in 2020 - they're well worth listening to and now available via this link: - Samuel West

The Poetry Foundation has a daily podcast of classic and contemporary poems read by poets and actors, delivered every day.

Short stories

The Writers' Block has commissioned five writers to produce new short stories, read by performers and accompanied by commissioned artwork. Through song, storytelling, puppetry and illustration, they take you on an adventure from home.

The Writers' Block - The Story Republic


Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra's Tribute to Oxford vaccine teams

Following such a strange and surreal year, the Oxford Philharmonic would like to thank and congratulate the Oxford Vaccine Group and Jenner Institute for their unceasing dedication and momentous achievement in developing a vaccine against COVID-19.

This concert, featuring Abide With Me, You'll Never Walk Alone, Hallelujah Chorus, and a specially commissioned piece by John Rutter, interspersed with interviews with the scientists and soloists, is dedicated to them.

A Tribute to the Oxford Vaccine Teams - Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Music online

Royal Opera House on YouTube: opera and ballet - in full - from the archive.

NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Series features films of intimate concerts from a range of artists from Coldplay to Harry Styles. Styles sings folksy rock songs with sweet harmonies, interspersed with his explanations behind the tunes and his recording process.

Cello legend Yo-Yo Ma is sharing solo performances on social media. There's no fancy production, no accompaniment and no fanfare: just Ma alone with his instrument, performing for listeners everywhere as part of what he's calling a'songs of comfort' series.

@YoYo_Ma on Twitter

Local musician Ben Heaney from Deltaviolin is offering live music performances of popular songs on Facebook.

Patrick Dexter plays cello

Escape to a cottage in County Mayo with cellist Patrick Dexter. Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Atlantic coast of Ireland while listening to the sublime sound of cello music from Bach to Ed Sheeran

Patrick Dexter Cello - YouTube

Performers' playlists

From The Real Thing to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, don't miss videos by some of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's regular performers telling you about their playlists.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Facebook videos


For a dose of comedy and science visit the Cosmic Shambles Network - a mix of podcasts, digital content and live events that bring together the world's leading scientists, comedians, writers and performers.

Cosmic Shambles

The Dave channel's hit podcast Conversations Against Living Miserably released two special comic-led instalments to help anyone stuck indoors with tips on self isolation, hosted by Geordie standup Lauren Pattison and author Aaron 'TechncallyRon' Gillies.



For information about the best London plays to view online, visit the Time Out website.


Sadlers Wells Theatre on YouTube - dance films specially created for the screen, as well as workshops for children and older people.

One Dance UK digital calendar - live-streamed shows, classes and talks.

Galleries and museums

For those of you that are feeling (virtually!) adventurous the Google Arts and Culture online platform offers free access to over 1200 Museums and Galleries worldwide and shares highlights from their collections. You can also take virtual tours and create your own collection if you have a google account.

Google Arts & Culture - Collections

Immerse yourself in a painting

Take a deep breath and immerse yourself in a Chinese painted scroll. You can step inside and fly through the beautiful seventeenth century painting 'Reading in the Autumn Mountains' on the British Museum's Facebook page - see the post on 3 April 2020. Explore more of the collection and inventive postings on the page too.


Literary festivals

You may not be able to go to literary festivals, but you can enjoy the world's great thinkers and writers on film and audio as well as podcasts via the Hay Festival website.

The Writing Squad

Inspired by Mass Observation, the social research project that existed from the 1930s-50s, members of The Writing Squad have been recording their daily experience of the new world that began with lockdown.

Staying Home - Observations

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Wytham Woods by Paul Medley.