young girl stands in front of illuminated outlines of musical instruments

The Interval 35

Welcome to The Interval, edition no. 35 of our weekly listings of accessible arts and culture. December is here and there are plenty of events and Christmas festivities to enjoy.

Today only

Candoco Dance Company, Let’s Talk about Dis, audio-described, YouTube, duration: 32 minutes. Available until Thursday, 3 December, 7pm

Created in 2014 by visual artist and choreographer Hetain Patel, this humorous and intimate work explores the slippery notion of political correctness and continues to resonate today. Let’s Talk About Dis builds on an exploration of the dancers’ personalities and bodies and probes us to think beyond surface appearances. Listen to the programme notes (16 mins) before watching the YouTube video.

This week

Chichester Festival Theatre, A Merry Little ChristmasLivestream on Friday 4 December, 7.30 pm, 3-5 December at the theatre. Approximately 2 hours + interval. Tickets from £10.

A delightfully festive evening of seasonal words and music featuring Simon Callow, West End singers and a special surprise guest each night. Join this show for a range of traditional carols and festive favourites.

Virtual tour: Radical Women of the East EndFriday 4 December, 7pm, virtual tour with Q &A, Zoom, £6-£12

Join Oonagh Gay, Footprints of London on this virtual tour of the east End to virtually retrace the steps of Sylvia Pankhurst and Minnie Lansbury, the most famous radical women associated with Bow. Booking via Eventbrite.


The Rose Playhouse, Greenmatthews Drive the cold winter away: Carols, songs and tunes from the 16th century, Tuesday 8 December, 7pm, Zoom, £12

Experience Christmas sixteenth-century style. Featuring a host of midwinter songs, festive carols and rousing tunes played on a variety of authentic period instruments. Book on TryBooking.

V &A MuseumOnline Talk: Patchwork, Wednesday 9 December, 4pm, Microsoft Teams Live

Join senior fashion curator Claire Wilcox for an afternoon of recollection and reading, as she looks back at A Life Amongst Clothes.

Watch/listen throughout December

Sadlers Wells presents Candoco Dance Company, Cuckoo, audio-described film (YouTube, duration: 4mins).

This short dance film is a reflection on our changing experience of time passing, set to a poetic musical score. inspired by a bespoke prosthetic leg. Programme notes (7 mins).

BBC Scotland, Dundee V&A: The Museum You Can Touch, 2019 YouTube, duration: 3 mins.

Find out about student Chloe Nash who has created 3D printed replicas of exhibits that visitors can touch, helping blind and partially sighted people experience museums.

BBC Arts, Be Different Today by Juliana Capes and Ruth Barrie. A film describing an entire sunrise for the visually impaired.

Juliana Capes began her artistic career studying painting before embracing other media. It was during a sculpture project at the City Arts Centre in Edinburgh around 15 years ago that she became interested in the idea of verbal descriptions of art.

She says: “The project paired a visually impaired person with a sighted person. They would describe a part of the collection and then the visually impaired person would reinterpret it in a sculptural form. “I was on board as the sculptural technician to help them with materials. But I actually found myself far more interested in the descriptions and how it affected the way the object was made.” This led Juliana to begin running visual description tours, guiding groups including people with visual impairments around exhibitions.

Barbican podcast, Nothing Concrete, duration: 25 mins.

Delve into The Barbican archive with this podcast, reliving a 2012 conversation between Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and Jon Tolansky about the piano work of Beethoven.

Sense Active, Exercise through dance, weekly class, Wednesdays, 10.30-11.15am on Zoom.

Follow easy dance routines to modern popular music, seated or standing in these free, inclusive sessions. Zoom link sent after booking.

Look-UK: Young Musicians, Youth Music Forums, free, fortnightly on Wednesday, 6pm

For all visually impaired under 18s + families. Music fans can talk, play, and share all things music. The forum includes musical games and discussions, leading up to a virtual Christmas show.

Look-UK: Festive Open MicSunday 20 December, 4-6pm, Zoom, £5 per household.

Celebrating a diverse and talented community, all musical abilities, soloists, duets, bands, and family groups are welcome. If you don’t want to perform then just join the audience to watch the show. You can relive the summer virtual open mic LookFest performers here (duration: 1hour 30 minutes).

Christmas events

Durham Cathedral, Evensong with lighting of the Christmas tree, Sunday 13 December, 3:30pm. Livestreamed on Facebook.

Watch live online as the lights on the magnificent 20 feet tall Norwegian spruce are switched on by representatives of the NHS in celebration of the work they do especially at this challenging time, and the Crib is blessed.

Donmar Warehouse, Looking a Lot Like Christmas, festive concert, From Wednesday, 16 December, 7:30pm.

Enjoy a festive concert of music, sketches, and poetry, bringing you joy and reflection at this special time of year. Includes performances from Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Minnie Driver, Giles Terera, Rosalie Craig and Sharon Rose. Streaming for free on YouTube with VocalEyes audio introduction and captions available.

Live from The Barbican, A Choral Christmas, Tuesday 15 December, 7-9.30pm, Online £12, Live at The Barbican from £20.

Join a perfect concert to sing in the festive season with the BBC Singers and special guests Jess Gillam and Katie Melua.

Live from The Barbican, Handel’s MessiahSaturday 19 December, 7pm, Online £12, Live at The Barbican from £20

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Handel’s Messiah, presented by the Academy of Ancient Music and Richard Egarr.

Royal Albert Hall, Handel’s Messiah, Thursday 17 December, 7pm. Available to watch on demand until 30 December. £16.

The annual performance of Handel’s sacred oratorio Messiah returns to the Hall featuring the sublime voices of the Philharmonia Chorus, accompanied by majestic sounds of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, combined with special guest vocalists Francesca Chiejina, Katie Bray, Trystan Llŷr Griffiths and Dingle Yandell.

Royal Albert Hall, Carols at the Hall, Sunday 20 December, 7:30pm. Available to watch on demand until 30 December. £16.

Watch from home as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Richard Cooke, along with the Royal Choral Society and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain sing the world’s favourite carols, with organ accompaniment on the Voice of Jupiter – the 9,999-pipe organ.

Pantoland at The Palladium, audio-described performance, Wednesday 30 December, 7pm.

Book your tickets to join Julian Clary to take you on a magical trip to Pantoland at The Palladium this Christmas, joined by Elaine Paige and many other theatre stars. There’s comedy in abundance and big show-stopping numbers in this fun packed panto extravaganza!

Christmas Cheer

Manchester Actors Platform (MAP), Christmas Time, audio-described, YouTube, duration: 3mins.

Get ready for Christmas with this uplifting video.

Waitrose and John Lewis, Christmas 2020 Ad, audio-described, YouTube, duration: 2 minutes

If you haven’t seen this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert yet, here’s the audio-described version for you.

Christmas Quiz

How well do you know your Christmas songs? Can you name these famous ones from their first lines? Answers next week.

  1. I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there’s just one thing I need
  2. Said the night wind to the little lamb
  3. It’s Christmas time there’s no need to be afraid
  4. When the snowman brings the snow, well he might like to know
  5. Who’s got a beard that’s long and white
  6. Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible said
  7. Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
  8. The child is a King, the caroller sing
  9. Welcome to my Christmas song, I’d like to thank you for the year
  10. Oh, the weather outside is frightful