There are lots of free things you can do from home this month, from theatre performances to festivals, meditation courses to model railway shows
We're all hoping that we can go out and enjoy some real-life events again in the near future – but until then, why not immerse yourself in some of the fabulous virtual events that are happening in March.
Over the next few weeks, you can join online discussions with astronauts and stuntmen, learn amazing new skills, admire classic cars and watch some truly scintillating live performances – and all for free!
1. Be dazzled by an immersive exhibition
Thresholds, until 31 March
Credit: Catriona Gallagher / MIMA
In this online exhibition, three artists – Sonia Boué, Lindsay Duncanson and Catriona Gallagher – explore how their relationship with home has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Featuring specially commissioned photography and video, along with a new essay by writer and academic Jade French, Thresholds is a thought-provoking and challenging take on life in lockdown.
2. Witness Scotland like you've never seen it before
Scotland from the Sky, until 30 April
If you think Scotland looks spectacular from the ground, wait till you see it from the air. James Crawford's 2018 tome Scotland from the Sky takes a bird's eye view of some of the country's most awe-inspiring landscapes – both as they once were and as they are now. If you've never had a chance to look at the book, don't miss this online exhibition, which showcases Crawford's photography in all its breathtaking glory.
3. Learn how to make tasty mmm-eatballs
Cook Along with Sandy Docherty, 1 March
As a former contestant on The Great British Bake-Off, Sandy Docherty knows her way around a kitchen, and today she'll be presenting a free online cookery session, showing how to make meatballs in spicy sauce. The event forms part of the Fairtrade Fortnight, a virtual sustainable food festival that runs until 7 March. With a programme of workshops, storytelling and live food demonstrations, it's well worth a visit.
4. Revisit some more classic albums
Tim's Twitter Listening Party, 1, 2, 4-6, 8-13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26 & 31 March
Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess continues his crusade to comment on every album ever made (or that's how it seems, anyway). In case you've never experienced one of his 'Listening Parties', this is how it works: each night, you're invited to listen to a particular album while Tim (and everyone else) remarks on it in real-time on Twitter. This month's albums include Japan's Tin Drum (6 March), The Bangles' Everything (12 March) and Prefab Sprout's Jordan: The Comeback (23 March).
5. Gather evidence from a legendary crime author
Robin Stevens on Murder Most Unladylike, 2 March
Here's one for fans of the crime fiction genre: in a special online event, American-born British author Robin Stevens will discuss her Murder Most Unladylike series of 1930s-based detective novels, which have captured the imagination of young adults the world over. You'll hear about the inspirations behind her work and how she constructs her stories – you never know, she might even uncover a secret or two!
6. Improve your chill skills
Online Meditation Course, 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28 & 30 March
Living in the midst of a crisis can leave us feeling anxious, confused and insecure. If you're experiencing any of those emotions right now, then this online meditation course could be just what you need. Run by London-based non-profit organisation Jangama Meditation, the informal sessions will teach you how to calm your negative thoughts using tried-and-trusted mindfulness techniques.
7. Absorb some Middle Eastern fables
World Book Day: Arabian Nights, 3 March
To celebrate World Book Day, Arabic storyteller Alia Alzougbi brings to life some of the fascinating fables from Middle Eastern story collection the Arabian Nights (otherwise known as One Thousand and One Nights). While the two online sessions are primarily aimed at primary school children (Key Stage 1, 9.30am-10.15am; Key Stage 2, 1.30pm-2.15pm), there's nothing to say that kids (and adults) of all ages can't join in the fun.
8. Have a laugh!
The Thursday Show: Live and Online, 4, 11, 18 & 25 March
When things are looking a bit gloomy, laughter is often the perfect tonic. This free online comedy show sees funnymen Vladimir McTavish, Dave Chawner and Jay Sodagar, along with special guest stars, dissecting the hot topics of the day through banter, gags and funny videos. An hour or two of escapism could be just the lift you need!
9. Boogie to some live jazz
Katriona Taylor and her Band: Spring Fever, 6 March
To celebrate the launch of her new album, Blind Passion, London-based jazz and Latin singer Katriona Taylor presents a live broadcast from her Wimbledon studio. With her exceptional band of musicians in tow, this promises to be a memorable evening of vibrant sounds. While the concert will be free to stream, donations are welcome.
10. Hone your camera expertise
The Photography Show, 6 & 7 March
If you're the kind of person who carries a camera around with you wherever you go, then you're sure to find something of interest at The Photography Show. Taking place online this year, it will feature a wide range of talks and demonstrations, as well as giving visitors the chance to marvel at the latest kit. While some of the content will require payment, there'll be plenty of free activities to enjoy.
11. Listen to some virtual verse
StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival, 6-14 March
There may not be a lot of rhyme or reason in the world at the moment, but there's always plenty of rhyme at this brilliantly named, St Andrews-based festival. Due to the pandemic, all the events and activities will be taking place online this year – but the good news is that many will be free (donations are welcomed). With readings, workshops and competitions all on the agenda, it promises to be a treat for poetry fans.
12. Take a closer look
Photography Masterclass: Larger Than Life, 9 March
How about trying a different kind of zoom for a change? This online masterclass – available exclusively to Boundless members – will home in on macro photography, showing you how to take stunningly detailed, close-up shots with your digital camera. You'll be amazed at how different everyday objects such as plants and furniture look when captured at point-blank range – and hopefully inspired to go out and take some macro snaps of your own.
13. Watch a Shakespeare tragedy
Antony and Cleopatra, 9 March
Credit: ADC Theatre
William Shakespeare's tragic tale of love and war is brought to life by Cambridge University's ADC Theatre in this virtual production – one of a series of free online shows being presented by the company during the pandemic. To see the action unfold, you'll need to book a ticket, upon which you'll be sent an email with the necessary link.
14. Find out about some female heroes
Agents for Change? Women and Protest in the National Archives Collections, 12 March
Hosted by the National Archives in London, this online talk examines – with the help of the Archives' documentary evidence – how women through the ages have fought to be heard. Following the discussion on Microsoft Teams, there will be a 15-minute Q&A session, giving members of the audience the chance to have their queries answered.
15. Marvel at miniatures
World of Railways Virtual Exhibition, 13 & 14 March
While we wait for our lives to get back on track, why not enjoy some relaxing online entertainment courtesy of World of Railways? Held over two days, its Virtual Exhibition will feature a range of stunning model railway layouts, built by some of the UK's most talented enthusiasts. As well as this, you'll be able to watch interviews with the industry's leading lights, learn new skills via practical demonstrations, and take part in competitions. Sounds like a first class weekend!
16. Gear up for a thrilling motorsport talk
A Victory Lap for Silverstone, 16 March
Silverstone in Northamptonshire is one of motorsport's most renowned race circuits, hosting not only the British Grand Prix but also a wide range of Sports Car, Touring Car Championship and World Superbike events. In tonight's fascinating online talk, Silverstone's Rob Jainer will regale Boundless members with some of the track's rich and colourful history – from the race rivalries to the off-grid celebrity stories – as well as filling you in on what the future holds for the legendary venue.
17. Discover how the world is changing
Climate Change: The View from Space, 16 March
Advances in space flight have enabled us to track the effects of climate change on our planet like never before. That's the topic of tonight's online discussion between astronauts Helen Sharman and Tim Peake, The Sky At Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock and UNOOSA's Simonetta Di Pippo. Hosted by London's Science Museum, the talk is free to stream but booking is essential.
18. Practise your dance steps
Tea Dances, 17 & 24 March
Even though we're in lockdown at the moment, we can still enjoy a good old party. These Zoom-based interactive workshops invite you to dress up in your finest gladrags (it's not compulsory) and learn new dance steps to some old musical favourites. You can take part standing up or sitting down – just remember to bring along a pot of tea and a slice of cake to enjoy inbetween routines.
19. Enjoy a fine vintage or two
Classics for Carers, 20 March
You may recall that we ran a story last May about Classics for Carers, a virtual motor show (actually two motor shows) that saw owners of vintage cars and bikes showing off their vehicles to online visitors during lockdown – raising £17,500 for NHS charities in the process. Well, the event is back and once again hoping to score a few bob for our healthcare heroes. Whether you want to parade your pride and joy or simply relish the relics on display, head to the Classics for Carers website.
20. Go gaga for a free theatre show
Bump, 20 March – 1 April
If you've ever been pregnant, or close to someone who has, then you'll be well aware of the challenges faced by mums-to-be. Recorded live at London's Half Moon Theatre, Bump is a brilliantly comedic one-woman show that homes in on some of those trials and tribulations, from bizarre cravings to precarious emotions. Infused with tango music and madcap physical theatre, this online show is guaranteed to raise a smile. (Bump is free to book from 20 March to 1 April, with the link being available to watch for 14 days after booking.)
21. Rock out for charity
Oates Song Fest 7908, 21 March
Along with Daryl Hall, John Oates enjoyed a string of hits in the '70s and '80s, including Maneater and She's Gone. And now, he's using his clout in the industry to organise a virtual music festival to raise funds for US families hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting at 1am UK time, Oates Song Fest 7908 will feature performances by the likes of Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl, Michael McDonald, Sammy Hagar and Jewel. While it's free to stream, donations to the cause will be most welcome.
22. Meet an action hero
A Day in the Life of a Hollywood Stuntman, 23 March
'Danger' is not Jim Dowdall's middle name, but it might as well be. The British-born stuntman has spent years risking life and limb on movies such as the James Bond series, Indiana Jones and Star Wars, as well as co-ordinating action sequences for TV shows Top Gear and The Grand Tour. In this exclusive Boundless member event, Jim gives an online talk about his amazing escapades, and what it takes to mentally and physically prepare for stuntwork. Try this at home!
23. Treat yourself to some proper escapism
The Balloonist Masterplan: Forgotten Lives, 23 March
Credit: ADC Theatre
Another free online show presented by Cambridge University's ADC Theatre (see also Antony and Cleopatra, 9 March), Jonathan Powell's The Balloonist Masterplan: Forgotten Lives focuses on a man who, armed with a bowler hat, a paintbrush and a very ambitious ploy, aims to escape the extraterrestial 'prison' in which he finds himself. Spanning multiple worlds and universes, this sci-fi fantasy is a feast for the senses.
24. Take a trip back in time
Interwar Radio Programmes for Women, 25 March
In this free online talk hosted by the LSE Library, Dr Kate Murphy from the University of Bournemouth will take a trip back to the early days of the BBC. Using period illustrations, she will examine the challenges the broadcaster faced in making programmes that catered for all kinds of women, from modern mothers to lonely spinsters.
25. Have fun on the farm
Babe, the Sheep-Pig, 25 & 26 March
Dick King-Smith's novel The Sheep-Pig – about an orphaned piglet that learns to perform like a sheepdog – gained worldwide recognition in 1995 when it was made into a Hollywood movie. Now you can see the story unfold on stage, thanks to this stunning online adaptation by final year students at the Guildford School of Acting. Featuring music, movement and positive messages galore, it's sure to leave you snorting with joy.
Photos: Getty Images, unless otherwise stated