This Virtual Festival Scours The Internet For Art & Theatre Livestreams To Watch From Home

Charli Renken Charli Renken

social distancing festival

The Social Distancing Festival brings all the best Livestream events into one virtual fairground.

While the city isn’t officially on lockdown, many Chicagoans are spending quite a lot of time indoors amid the coronavirus crisis. With no coffee shops to catch up with friends in, no concerts to go to, and all the bars and restaurants in IL being closed, it can feel like there’s really not much to do. Fortunately, Toronto artist Nick Green has put together an online community of artists dedicated to sharing their work with all of us at home.

The Social Distancing Festival was born out of the ashes of Green’s canceled musical In Real Life, which was supposed to open this month. “Yes it was absolutely the right decision. 100%. But so, so, SO disappointing. That production was years in the making, and my co-creator and artistic team had a lot invested,” Green wrote on the festival’s website. “We didn’t just lose a chance to develop the work, but also to share it, celebrate it, and potentially connect with further opportunities.” He and the rest of his artist friends still really wanted to share their incredible work with their community, so he devised a plan.

The Social Distancing Festival is an online livestream database of a variety of performances, talks, trivia nights, and more. The festival takes submissions from artists all over the world, giving them a platform to continue to share their work. The goal is to give artists an online venue to perform, create an online community, and support struggling creators.

Through the Social Distancing Festival, you can watch all of Shakespeare plays performed by The Show Must Go Online or see dancer Tadhi Alawi from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania debut Body vs Mouth, a contemporary dance video that was supposed to be shown at the Laois Dance Platform festival in Ireland; you can also take part in online trivia nights, listen to artist talks, dance to virtual music concerts and more!


The online festival also serves as a fundraising hub, where viewers can donate to support artists all over the world. The coronavirus is hitting artists particularly hard because many IRL venues are close, so donations can help keep them afloat during this difficult time. Some of the organizations Green currently has listed for donations are The Actors Fund of Canada, The Indie Theatre Fund NYC, the Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund, and the Young People’s Theatre in Toronto. If you find an artist whose work helps you through this period of isolation, you should also consider donating to their Patreon or another online fund.


We absolutely love what The Social Distancing Festival is doing to bring people together, support artists, and keep all of us entertained during isolation. You can find upcoming livestreams by visiting the performance calendar on the festival’s website.

[Featured image: Ahmad Odeh]