A new play by David Greig that was due to open at Pitlochry Festival Theatre will now premiere on BBC Radio 3, as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine programme.
Originally commissioned by the venue in association with Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre, Greig’s play Adventures With the Painted People is set in Pitlochry two thousand years ago.
The creative team, led by director Elizabeth Newman, will produce it remotely to obey the parameters required during national lockdown.
The BBC’s virtual arts festival aims to keep culture alive in people’s homes while the nation is on lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Other programming announced for Culture in Quarantine includes BalletBoyz’s Deluxe on BBC4, which was previously touring the UK before theatres were forced to close.
There will also be six Shakespeare works from the Royal Shakespeare Company on BBC4, featuring actors including Christopher Eccleston and Hugh Quarshie, as part of an education initiative aimed at children studying the plays. The productions will be Hamlet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice.
In collaboration with Arts Council England, the BBC has also announced the Culture in Quarantine fund, which will be used to commission about 25 new works by independent artists in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Commissions do not have to be about the pandemic, but they are required to adhere to the principles of self-isolation. Depending on their nature, each work will be hosted by the BBC online and/or on air.
Further information about how artists can apply will be released on the Culture in Quarantine website.
Additionally, the BBC has announced that Mary Beard will host a new series of Front Row Late from her study, with special guests including Margaret Atwood, who has created her own puppet show in isolation to accompany her narration of a story by Edgar Allan Poe.
BBC director general Tony Hall said: “It’s important during this period that we maintain access not just to news and information, but to the arts and culture.
“For many people, they are a valuable part of their lives and a way of stimulating imagination, thought, and escapism. It’s a vital part of who we are as individuals and part of our identity as a nation.
“So I’m delighted that we have been able to work with organisations up and down the country to deliver everything from virtual access to exhibitions and book festivals, through to performances.”