Over the next few weeks, we will be involved in the UK-wide Family Arts Festival. This festival incorporates all areas of the arts - dance, music, theatre, craft, art, you name it, there is an event for it.
In the social climate of today, we only have to click a button to receive instant entertainment. Without leaving the comfort of one’s own home, it is possible to navigate the greatest treasures of the world’s most famous museums, and to peruse the collections of the finest galleries. One can watch the full gamut of entertainment via sites such as YouTube, where you can view everything from 24 Hours With the Royal Ballet (one of my favourites, my Edward Watson obsession continues on apace), to a dog balancing stuff on its head (a favourite of our lower brass). No matter what your heart desires, there is probably an app for it.
However, is this really experiencing art? Undoubtedly, the internet, the TV, the cinema, etc are all great platforms from which we can find and nurture a burgeoning interest in an art form, but can it be said to replace the actual physical experience of standing in front of a Rodin bronze, watching Tamara Rojo fouetté across a stage, seeing Shakespeare performed live (even Henry IV Part 2 benefits greatly from an actual performance), or indeed experiencing the spectacle of a full symphony orchestra playing on stage?
The Family Arts Festival aims to address this by highlighting events across the United Kingdom, and the majority of these events range from free, to less than it would cost to take a family to the cinema.
Players from BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Image Credit: Benjamin Ealovega
We are delighted that two of our concerts have been highlighted by the festival. Firstly, our second trip to the Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts on 17th October, when we will present a concert of favourites from both the orchestral repertoire, and from stage and screen. Ahead of our UK-wide tour with the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, we will be performing both old and new Doctor Who music, as well as works included in our recent cinematic debut, Ten Pieces.
Our second event included in the Family Arts Festival is our ever popular (with both audiences and players, who always love the chance to dress up!) Halloween Spooktacular. This concert takes place on 26th October at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, and early booking is highly recommended! Here you will get the opportunity to see the Orchestra play alongside members of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, in a spooky themed concert. It is a great privilege for us to have the opportunity to work with some of Wales’ finest young musicians again.
BBC NOW's Halloween Spooktacular
These are concerts that are designed to be universally popular, but I would encourage parents not to be anxious about bringing children to our regular concert series too - it is a pleasure to see youngsters being brought along. If you are concerned about your child having a ‘moment’, you can request a seat close to an aisle or an exit for swift getaways, or just to be able to give them a little time out. Rest safe in the knowledge that we think a good deal of you for giving your little one the opportunity to hear live music, and you will be wholeheartedly welcome!
Tickets for the Orchestra’s family concerts are available by visiting the BBC NOW website or by calling the BBC NOW Audience Line on 0800 052 1812.
For more information about the Family Arts Festival, visit their website.