New plays written especially for broadcast and recorded live performances will be made available for free by the BBC to “give British culture an audience that can’t be there in person”.
It is proposing an arts and culture service, Culture in Quarantine, which promises to keep the arts alive in people’s homes.
The plans include new plays written specifically for broadcast transmission, as well as poetry and book readings, and pre-recorded performances of productions including Mike Bartlett’s Albion and Emma Rice’s Wise Children.
BBC director of arts Jonty Claypole said the BBC had a clear role in such unprecedented times.
“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,” he said.
“We will also be offering jewels from the archive, ensuring that new theatre and dance performances will join with modern classics to create a repertory theatre of broadcast.”
“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,” he added.
Available on television, radio, iPlayer and BBC Sounds, Culture in Quarantine will be focused across Radio 3 and Radio 4, BBC2 and BBC4 as well as digital platforms.
Radio 4 will also be broadcasting more plays from its archive, while newer podcast dramas will be made available on BBC Sounds.
The BBC said it is working closely with Arts Council England to deliver these plans, as well as with other funders and national producing bodies.
The plans are part of a wider BBC package, intended to keep the nation “informed, educated and entertained in unprecedented times”.
Other programming includes exercise classes and food advice for older people, broadcasts of religious services and educational offerings for children, should schools close down.
Director general Tony Hall said: “We all know these are challenging times for each and every one of us. As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a special role to play at this time of national need.
“We need to pull together to get through this. That’s why the BBC will be using all of its resources – channels, stations and output – to help keep the nation informed, educated and entertained. We are making a series of changes to our output to achieve that.”