Culture in Quarantine!

If there is a good side to this COVID-19 crisis, it is that so many cultural organisations have got to grips with digital distribution. The internet is just dripping with online culture! In this blog, we’ll take you through some of the keys things to look out for over the coming weeks.

Theatres & Comedy – Nationally and Locally

Leading the way was National Theatre Live with their screening of One Man Two Guvnors last week. By releasing the YouTube recording at a specific time and date, they created a real event and tens of thousands of viewers. This Thursday it is Jane Eyre and we will be tuning in! Click here for more information.

Closer to home – but till too far away to visit in current times – The Festival Theatre Chichester is screening the musical Flowers for Mrs Harris, starting on Thursday 9 April and available for a month here.

Although our friends at Guildford Fringe have had to cancel this year’s Festival, they are still helping you get a laugh with online streaming of recent comedy nights.

The Guildford Shakespeare Company have also created #AtHomeWithGSC, which is a range of entertaining online content relating to their productions and to Shakespeare in general. For more information, click here to visit their website.

Lectures Available

On the national level, The Arts Society has announced a series of free online lectures, film screenings and live Q&As by authors that will run over the coming months. First in the series is a lecture on one of the most mysterious paintings in art: the Velázquez masterpiece Las Meninas.

At the Guildford Institute, we’re running a series of online lectures, ranging from practical drawing & painting, yoga, history, art history and language courses, to name a few! Details are evolving all the time, so do click here to view the full online programme available.

Keep Your Brain Active with Crosswords

Here at the Guildford Institute, Susan Purcell runs termly popular Cryptic Crossword Solving Workshops. She’s suggested that if you’re getting bored stuck at home, why not try a cryptic crossword? You don’t need to be a brainbox or to have a wide general knowledge to solve cryptic clues – the answer is contained within the words of the clue.

The clue of a standard, or quickie, crossword consists of a definition only (Precious stone (4) is a definition of the answer, RUBY). The cryptic clue also contains a definition, but in addition there are cryptic hints leading you to the answer.

So, a cryptic clue for RUBY might read Disastrously bury precious stone (4), where ‘disastrously’ indicates that the clue is based on an anagram, and ‘bury’ is the word you need to unjumble.

Now try these! Each of them is a different clue type.

1. Plane crashed in Himalayan country (5)                                                                                                                                  

2. Tribal symbol found in Shinto temple (5)                                                                                                                      

3. Normal sort of flag (8)                                                                                                                                                                  

4. Rough route, say (6)                                                                                                                                                             

5. Blow knocks friends back (4)                                                                                                                                               

6. Surprise launch by the French (7)

Answers feature at the bottom of this article – no cheating!  


The British Library has had to cancel its exhibition of Jewish Sacred Texts, but has a full range of supporting lectures available online.

Surrey History Centre and Surrey Libraries are providing access to Find My Past. This normally pay-to-view service is available free from home here.

And for those desperately trying to entertain the younger members of the family Surrey Libraries are doing online story-time, available here.   


Our Trustee Brian Creese performs regularly at Open Mics around Guildford. With all the pubs closed, there are a lot of frustrated guitar and ukulele players around Guildford at the moment! Performers have been turning to Facebook to share their performances. For the past three weeks, Brian has been recording a song and posting it on the Facebook site of the Open Mic group. Find him singing in his bedroom here, along with many other musicians from across Surrey and Hampshire!

Crossword Answers

1. Answer: NEPAL. ‘Himalayan country’ is the definition, ‘crashed’ is an anagram indicator, and ‘plane’ is the wordplay, or the word you need to unjumble.

2. Answer: TOTEM. ‘Tribal symbol’ is the definition, ‘found in’ indicates that this is a hidden-word clue, and ‘Shinto temple’ is the wordplay, where the answer is hidden.

3. Answer: STANDARD. This is a double definition clue. ‘Standard’ means both ‘normal’ and is a ‘sort of flag’. Double definition clues have no indicator.

4. Answer: COARSE. ‘Rough’ is the definition, ‘say’ indicates that this is a homophone clue. A ‘route’ (wordplay) is a course, and ‘course’ is a homophone of ‘coarse’.

5. Answer: SLAP. ‘Blow’ is the definition, ‘knocks back’ indicates that this is a reversal clue, and ‘friends’ (= pals) is the wordplay. The answer is ‘pals’ reversed.

6. Answer: STARTLE. ‘Surprise’ is the definition. This is a charade-type clue, so there are no indicators. ‘Start’ = launch and ‘le’ is ‘the’ in French.

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