The Barbican announces 2018 season:
The Art of Change

At a time of significant national and international uncertainty, the Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change, announced today (17 May 2017), explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. With new world-class work across three distinct strands – Changing times, Changing perceptions and Changing society now – the season presents bold artistic responses to vital global issues including feminism, climate change and human rights, while providing a platform for voices currently underrepresented in the arts, and will feature across all Barbican stages, galleries, screens and public spaces.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican said: “The Art of Change is a timely look at the dialogue that exists between art, society and politics. In addition to showcasing work that has responded to geopolitical and social events of the past, our 2018 season will explore the current, and potential, role of artists and the arts in bringing about change. Throughout the year, the Barbican’s public spaces will host talks, debates and projects, fostering civic discussion and featuring a diverse range of voices debating the roles and responsibilities of individual citizens, the arts, and arts centres, in responding to the challenges of the future.” 

Louise Jeffreys, Director of Arts, Barbican said: “Our 2018 season weaves multiple stories and experiences together across all of the Barbican’s art forms exploring changing societal attitudes, power dynamics, relationships and the treatment of individuals and groups considered to be outside of the mainstream. With projects tackling some of the most pressing global concerns of our time to more localized issues impacting the UK today, we will be seeking to understand how culture borrows from society – and vice versa – while ultimately asking, ‘Can the arts change the world?’”

A number of projects in The Art of Change will form part of Art 50, a landmark project to commission 50 artworks that will explore what it means to be British in a post-Brexit Britain. Art 50 is a partnership between Sky Arts, the Barbican, Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Storyvault Films.

The Art of Change highlights:
Changing times

Throughout key periods of history, artists have portrayed, reflected and sometimes embodied moments of great social change. These projects show how artists have bridged divides, shone a spotlight on issues and pioneered new ways of living.

- Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde – as the notion of ‘the couple’ continues to evolve, the Barbican presents the first major interdisciplinary exhibition to explore the creative output of around 40 artist couples, demonstrating how their relationships were a significant factor in shaping Modernism and society. It includes Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt, Mary Reynolds and Marcel Duchamp, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst, Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko, Ray and Charles Eames, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson and Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.

Jazz at Lincoln Center re-creates the famous Benny Goodman 1938 Carnegie Hall concert – the first interracial concert at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall, and a watershed moment in American music history. AllMusic described the concert as "the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz's "coming out" party to the world of "respectable" music”.

- The UK premiere of The Town Hall Affair by New York’s iconic theatre group The Wooster Group is based on Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s film Town Bloody Hall, which documents a raucous 1971 debate on Women’s Liberation featuring Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston, Diana Trilling and Norman Mailer, that still reverberates today.

- In the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act and the 90th anniversary of the Equal Franchise Act, the Nevertheless She Persisted: A Century of Suffrage film season explores the global struggle for women’s political voices to be heard, female access to institutions of power, and the quest for equal rights.

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Genesis Suite, a work conceived in 1943 by conductor and film composer Nathaniel Shilkret, who wished to make a grand and shocking musical gesture, drawing attention to the horrors of the Second World War, and breaking boundaries of musical styles. Shilkret involved composers including Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Toch, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Tansman, all united in their experience of being displaced from their homelands by war and totalitarian regimes. The production is devised and presented by creative director Gerard McBurney, with visuals by award-winning projection designer Mike Tutaj.

- UK premiere of concert-staged performance of Jake Heggie’s first opera Dead Man Walking, starring Joyce DiDonato and based on the real-life story of Sister Helen Prejean, a nun who became one of America’s leading advocates for the abolition of the death penalty.

Powerplant’s The Filthy Fifteen performance is inspired by fifteen songs deemed too explicit by the committee of the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985 and which sparked debate about censorship and change in the music industry.

- Film seasons include Returning the Colonial Gaze, which showcases filmmakers from former colonies whose work came to prominence after their nation gained its independence and Generation: Russian Cinema of Change, a series documenting the changing face of Russia during the course of the last century.

Changing perceptions

Work that celebrates our differences and provides a platform for voices from communities currently underrepresented in the arts.

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins - at a time when individual rights are being contested, this major Barbican Art Gallery exhibition captures the relationship between photographers and alternative communities, highlighting how the two have often conspired to construct identity through the camera lens. The exhibition features the work of photographers including Paz Errazuriz, Casa Susanna Collection, Mary Ellen Mark, and Pieter Hugo amongst others.

- European premiere of US performance company Split Britches’s Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), a production examining ageing, anxiety and the end of the world, as well as the unexplored potential of older people. Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

Let Me Play the Lion Too sees acclaimed UK theatre-makers, Told by an Idiot, use their trademark working practices to tackle the lack of diversity on stage in Britain today. A group of twelve performers, six of whom have a disability, will devise a new piece of improvised performance that seeks to effect change in the wider arts infrastructure. The company and the Barbican, will also hold an Open Space industry event about how to support disabled artists to become agents for change within their industry. Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

- UK premiere of a new production from Australian theatre company Back to Back Theatre, Lady Eats Apple is a journey through an impressive dream landscape, conjured with the aid of headphones for every audience member. Mixing the comedy of existence with the tragedy of inevitable death, the piece is created and performed by the company's ensemble of actors with learning disabilities. Part of LIFT 2018.

The Television Will be Revolutionised - a film series focusing on Channel 4’s Film Collectives, including the 1982 Workshop Declaration, which revolutionised the British film industry by enabling new and emerging filmmakers from diverse backgrounds to enter the industry.

Tamasha R&D: Falling/Landing - the power of art to change the world has never been more important. Young people are at the vanguard. How they use their creativity, and how theatre companies harness it, can change lives, spark debate, launch careers and shape the world. This Barbican Theatre Research & Development programme showcases excerpts from a newly-commissioned play by the national touring theatre company Tamasha. The company’s Artistic Director, award-winning playwright Fin Kennedy, brings together diverse emerging actors with writers and directors. Tamasha will also curate the Barbican’s flagship schools programme Barbican Theatre Box in 2017- 2018.

- Continuation of the Barbican’s relationship with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which bears witness to human rights violations around the world and the Transpose series which features inspirational performances from artists from the queer and trans communities that deconstruct myths and challenges ideas on gender, sexuality and inclusion.

18x18 - a year-long project that will see artists – including three-times female world beatbox champion Bellatrix, leading theatre company Complicite, and award-winning filmmaker Eelyn Lee – work with pupils from one of Britain’s largest secondary schools Sydney Russell School to explore how the young people of Barking and Dagenham can be inspired by the borough’s rich feminist heritage to become the change-makers of tomorrow.

Changing society now

In our uncertain world, what role do artists have in shaping our present and future? These projects seek to highlight contemporary issues, spark debate and ultimately effect societal change.

Real Quick – an experimental new platform for rapid artistic responses to the state of the world, publicised no more than seven days in advance. Programmed directly in response to unfolding political and social issues, these informal talks, discussions and experiments will take place in the Barbican’s public spaces intermittently throughout the year, and will involve a diverse range of contributors.

Smack That (a conversation) – inventive choreographer Rhiannon Faith shines a light on the complex subject of domestic abuse in an empowering and participatory performance highlighting human resilience. Each member of the all-female cast, a close-knit group of non-performers and dance artists, fearlessly takes on the persona of Beverly, who is hosting a party with the audience as her guests, to convey turbulent, real experiences. Faith’s work with a support group at charity Safer Places underpins this show, which seeks to raise social consciousness around domestic abuse by supporting women to talk about it openly.

METIS’s immersive experiment for the invention of the future We Know Not What We May Be draws on cutting-edge research to ‘rehearse’ possible tomorrows. From AI and robotics to carbon taxes and universal basic income, this performance installation asks who could we be in the future. Audiences are invited to respond and can book for either UTOPIA or DYSTOPIA, exploring possible consequences of future scenarios, from the delightful to the terrifying.

- Art 50: Barbican Public Spaces Commission – a new competition to create a piece of projection-based art for the Barbican’s public spaces. Artists, collectives, and designers across all disciplines will be invited to submit proposals for projects which explore our national identity. Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

A Change is Gonna Come – Barbican Young Poets present a night of electrifying poetry and spoken word. Some of London's most talented young wordsmiths come together to express their views on the changing state of the nation, their place within it, and everything in between.

- A new Curve commission by Moroccan artist Yto Barrada, whose work investigates the subversive tactics and strategies of resistance that people develop to deal with everything from the mundanities of everyday life to shifts in power and migration, often focusing on her native Morocco.

Girls can, do and will, a creative and participatory event in partnership with Girlguiding London and South East England, which will see Brownies and Guides work with artists, musicians, writers, and performers to explore how art and culture can influence, affect and enhance the cause for gender equality with a new creative social-action badge designed by a leading artist.

- The return of Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue Entertainment’s Olivier award nominated dance piece Blak Whyte Gray, which examines themes of identity in contemporary society, combining the physicality of select hip-hop dance styles with the rhythmical groove of music and moves evoking Africa.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel perform the European premiere of American composer Ted Hearne’s Place – the story of growing up in Chicago, segregated and integrated as so many cities are, this is a modern-day oratorio – part memoir, part flash documentary. As part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s residency 50 young people from London and Los Angeles will create a Youth Manifesto that explores what young people need from the arts in the future. Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

The People’s Forest is a new contemporary visual art project by London-based artist Gayle Chong Kwan which explores the forest as a site of shared resources and competing claims, as well examining local issues and the impact of globalisation on communities, providing a voice for the people of Epping Forest. Chong Kwan’s 11m high sculpture of a pollarded tree The Fairlop Oak will be installed in the Barbican foyers.

Subject to Change will invite twelve young poets to write and perform work that speaks to our changing world, one for every month of 2018, in a project that fleetingly captures the shifting landscapes of the present through the timeless art of poetry.

Panic! 2018, a collaboration between Create, Arts Emergency and the Barbican on an ambitious research project led by sociologists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield who will investigate artistic, workforce and audience inequalities within the creative sector, resulting in a series of talks, working papers, and new art.

Young Creatives On Change – work by young creatives from our Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning programmes are presented in a new exhibition at the Barbican Library.

Artists as Citizens – addressing the key issues within music and drama Higher Education, the fifth triennial Reflective Conservatoire Conference takes place in the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Barbican Centre and will consider how artists and the arts must realise their potential more fully as leaders in society.

Applications for the Barbican’s first Youth Panel open today. Details can be found here: https://www.barbican.org.uk/education/young-people/youth-panel

Programme information

VISUAL ARTS

Yto Barrada
Wed 7 Feb–May 2018 (exact closing date tbc), The Curve
Media view: Tue 6 Feb, 10am–1pm
Supported using funding from Arts Council England

For spring 2018, Barbican Art Gallery has invited artist Yto Barrada to create her first major London commission for the Curve. Working across photography, film, sculpture, textile, installation and publications, Barrada explores the subversive tactics and strategies of resistance developed to deal with everything from the mundanities of everyday life to shifts in power and migration, often focusing on her native Morocco. Barrada traces the hidden transcripts of objects and people in her work, guiding us through the overlapping realities and fictions of their narratives.

Previous works include A Life Full of Holes: The Strait Project (1998-2004), which charts the harsh reality of life in and around the post-colonial city Tangier. This project addresses the complex history of the often-perilous migratory route crossing the Strait of Gibraltar – the narrow passage of water dividing Europe and Africa. Documenting the visual languages of the everyday to expose overarching structures of authority, Barrada’s projects interrogate ideas around colonialism, ethnography, archaeology, authenticity and myth-making. Hand-Me-Downs (2011) conveys the artist’s family history through a montage of strangers’ home movies from the 1960s. Barrada is attracted to the stories and performative tendencies of the bandit, the ‘faux’ guide, the magician, the underdog, the smuggler. More recent work has investigated the natural history and geology of North Africa, playfully charting the systems of classification as well as the fetishizing impulses in these fields. The fake fossil industry is the subject of the 2015 film Faux départ (False Start), which humorously follows the renegade practice of ‘preparators’ replacing the region’s export of dwindling archaeological finds with forged artefacts.

Unruly Objects (Suite for Thérèse Rivière) (2016) takes the forgotten figure of ethnologist Thérèse Rivière as its starting point; her collections of toys, audio recordings and drawings from Algeria’s colonial era provide fertile ground for Barrada’s own ‘recreation’ of her fieldwork. Barrada’s work responds to the potential for dissident forces in the world around her – whether at home, in the garden or on the street. The artist’s latest project The Sample Book (Vienna Secession, 2016) manifests her interest in Morocco’s textile industry and the traditional practice of natural dyeing. Echoing the process of textile production, Barrada views the many diverse threads of her practice as constantly interweaving.

Barrada is the founder of Cinémathèque de Tanger (2006-ongoing), a cultural centre that occupies a renovated 1930s cinema in Tangier, which aims to bring together the local community and make accessible the cinematic history of Morocco as well as international film. She was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2016 and was named Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year in 2011. 

Yto Barrada (Moroccan; b. 1971, Paris) lives and works in New York and Tangier.

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins
Wed 28 Feb–Sun 27 May 2018, Barbican Art Gallery
Media view: Tue 27 Feb 2018, 10am–1pm

At a time when individual rights are being contested and those on the fringes of society feel ever more marginalised from mainstream political and social narratives, the exhibition Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins, celebrates and explores photography’s enduring relationship with individuals and communities who operate on the margins or openly flout social conventions through the work of photographers including Paz Errazuriz, Casa Susanna Collection, Mary Ellen Mark, and Pieter Hugo amongst others.

Driven by motivations both personal and political, many of the photographers in the exhibition sought to provide an authentic representation of disenfranchised communities, often conspiring with them to construct their own identity through the camera lens. Featuring a cast of transsexuals, cross-dressers, prostitutes, hustlers, bikers, junkies, eccentrics, circus performers, street urchins and tearaways, gang members, back-street peddlers and survivalists, the works in the exhibition present the outsider as an agent of change. The non-conventional subject is here a prism through which to view the world afresh. 

Artists have historically been instrumental in presenting the image of the outsider for a wider public. Employing a diverse set of aesthetic strategies from portraiture to social documentary and vernacular to street photography, the artists in the exhibition approach their subject with a humanity and empathy that is both empowering and inclusive. 

Reflecting a more diverse, more complex and more authentic view of the world, Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins touches on themes of gender and sexuality, drugs, youth culture and minorities of all kinds and includes bodies of work from Japan to the US, and from Chile to Nigeria. By recording and documenting those on the margins, the images in the exhibition bear witness to how social attitudes change across time and space, charting how visual representation has helped shape current discourse in relation to marginalised or alternative communities.

Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde
Wed 10 Oct 2018–Sun 27 Jan 2019, Barbican Art Gallery
Media view: Tue 9 Oct 2018, 10am–1pm

As the notion of a ‘couple’ evolves with society’s changing approach to marriage, partnerships, family, parenthood and gender, Barbican Art Gallery presents Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde: the first interdisciplinary exhibition to explore the creative output resulting from the exclusive or polyamorous relationships between artist couples in the first half of the 20th Century.

Including the work of painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, designers, poets, writers, musicians, dancers and performers, Modern Couples questions the history of modern art as one largely defined by solitary genius. The exhibition also reveals how creative individuals came together to variously transgress the constraints of their time, reshaping art, redefining gender stereotypes and forging new ways of living. The intimate relationship in all its various forms – obsessional, conventional, mythic, fleeting, life-long – is ultimately revealed to be a playground for experimentation, creation, and subversion of the status quo. 

Featuring around 40 principal artist couples, with exhibits drawn from public and private collections in Europe, North  America and Russia, Modern Couples offers visitors a rich exploration of artworks, to be seen alongside correspondence and photographic documentation, revealing both the couples’ intimate spheres and the changing behaviours and ideas of these modern age protagonists.The exhibition also highlights the work of legendary couples, such as Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller and Man Ray, Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko, Lucia Moholy and László Moholy-Nagy, Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Jean Arp, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais; alongside less well known partnerships such as those between Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt, Romaine Brooks and Natalie Clifford-Barney, Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt, and Mary Reynolds and Marcel Duchamp, amongst others.

The exhibition is a partnership collaboration with Centre Pompidou-Metz, who initiated the exhibition; and is curated by Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican; Emma Lavigne, Director Centre Pompidou-Metz; Cloé Pitiot, Design Curator, Pompidou Paris and Elia Biezunski, Associate Curator, Centre Pompidou-Metz.

THEATRE

Told by an Idiot – Let Me Play the Lion Too
Feb 2018, The Pit


Let Me Play the Lion Too sees acclaimed UK theatre-makers, Told by an Idiot, use their trademark working practices to tackle the lack of diversity on stage in Britain today. In an intensive two week residency in The Pit, a group of twelve performers, six of whom have a disability, work with Told by an Idiot to devise a new piece of improvised performance. The process enables artists to develop their theatre making skills, and to push their imaginations and creativity in new ways, whilst looking to effect change in the wider arts infrastructure.
To coincide with Let Me Play the Lion Too, the Barbican and Told by an Idiot will hold an Open Space industry event about how to support disabled artists to become agents for change within the industry.

Tickets for Let Me Play the Lion Too will go on sale in the autumn. Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

Barbican Young Poets – A Change is Gonna Come
May 2018, The Pit

Past and current Barbican Young Poets present a night of electrifying poetry and spoken word. Some of London's most talented young wordsmiths come together to express their views on the changing state of the nation, their place within it, and everything in between.

Tickets for A Change is Gonna Come will go on sale in the autumn.

Split Britches – Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)
Tue 15–Sat 19 May 2018, The Pit
Press performance: Tue 15 May 2018, 7.45pm

In Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), Split Britches ask the audience to consider whether we are hurtling towards doomsday. Taking inspiration from the 1964 film Dr Strangelove and its iconic War Room, The Pit stage becomes The Situation Room - a daring new forum for public discussion. Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver take on the roles of the bombastic general and the gentle and ineffectual President, as they invite members of the audience to join them in debating the current global political situation and how to look forward in a rapidly changing world.

As the performers play with the rhythms of urgency and lethargy whilst investigating current affairs, individual dreams and hidden wishes are re-appropriated as a cumulative solution to what may feel like an uncertain geopolitical landscape. Created and developed over two years through a series of residencies with elders and artists that began at the Barbican in 2016 and continued in the US, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) is hopeful, whimsical, human exploration of ageing, anxiety and the end of the world.

Part of the Sky Arts Art 50.

Rhiannon Faith – Smack That (a conversation)
Tue 12–Sat 16 Jun 2018, The Pit
Press performance: Tues 12 Jun 2018, 7.45pm

Inventive choreographer Rhiannon Faith shines a light on the complex subject of domestic abuse in an empowering and participatory performance highlighting human resilience.

Beverly is having a party and the audience are her guests. There are games, drinks, shared conversation, energetic dance and heartbreaking moments as she bravely gives a raw and honest account of surviving an abusive relationship.

Each member of the all-female cast, a close-knit group of non-performers and dance artists, fearlessly takes on the persona of Beverly to convey turbulent, real experiences. The unusual setting creates a safe space for them to reveal the challenges they have faced and celebrate their endurance. Faith’s work with a support group at charity Safer Places underpins this show, which seeks to raise social consciousness around domestic abuse by supporting women to talk about it openly.

The Wooster Group – The Town Hall Affair
Thu 21–Sun 24 Jun 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Thu 21 Jun 2018, 7.45pm

From New York’s iconic theatre group comes a mixed-media piece channelling a raucous 1971 debate on women’s liberation that still reverberates today.

In front of an audience of literary heavyweights gathered at New York’s Town Hall, pugnacious American novelist Norman Mailer squares up against a panel of prominent feminist advocates including Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston and Diana Trilling. The occasion is captured in Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary Town Bloody Hall.

The Town Hall Affair, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, features extended clips from the film and revisits that explosive night with Ari Fliakos, Greg Mehrten, Scott Shepherd, Maura Tierney and Kate Valk playing the real-life participants onstage. Layered with additional text and footage, The Town Hall Affair draws on experimental techniques to delve into the revolutionary fervour of 1970s’ feminist thinking, and is a timely look at how the struggle for gender equality has evolved, nearly 50 years after the landmark debate.

The film, Town Bloody Hall, will be screened at the Barbican to coincide with The Wooster Group's London performances.

LIFT 2018
Back to Back Theatre – Lady Eats Apple
Thu 14–Sat 16 Jun 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Fri 15 Jun 2018, 7.45pm
Lady Eats Apple
is a tale of creation and destruction in which the epic and everyday and mythic and mundane coexist. The audience enters an inflatable universe in which binaural sound design and visuals are used to ingenious effect.
Adam and Eve join an insecure God in a dark paradise, as He creates the world hoping for a little worship. But when temptation takes over, man and woman are expelled into a timeless landscape before this story of immense vulnerability, of tenderness and redemption, resumes in more familiar terrain.
One of the most exciting companies in contemporary theatre today, Australia’s Back to Back is driven by an ensemble of actors with learning disabilities who are co-authors and performers of the work.
Lady Eats Apple is a large-scale, experiential production that exposes the fragility of existence while challenging the assumptions people hold about themselves and others.
Lady Eats Apple is part of LIFT 2018, a London-wide festival of international performance taking place throughout June.

METIS – We Know Not What We May Be
Sep 2018, The Pit

An immersive experiment for the invention of the future, We Know Not What We May Be draws on cutting-edge research to ‘rehearse’ possible tomorrows. From AI and robotics to carbon taxes and universal basic income, this performance installation explores the most transformative contemporary ideas, to ask who could we be in the future.

Over several days, the METIS artistic team join with expert speakers from economics, geography and environmental science to co-imagine a collective vision. Audiences are invited to offer their responses to what it would actually be like to live in such a future and can book for either UTOPIA or DYSTOPIA, exploring several possible consequences of future scenarios, from the delightful to the terrifying.

Led by METIS director Zoë Svendsen (World Factory), this immersive experience is created in collaboration with a variety of experts and artists and asks the audience to consider what futures we could choose to have, in a dramatically changing world.

We Know Not What We May Be is presented by the Barbican and commissioned and produced by Artsadmin as part of Julie’s Bicycle’s Season for Change: Inspiring Creative Actions on Climate Change.

Tickets for We Know Not What We May Be will go on sale in the autumn.

Boy Blue Entertainment – Blak Whyte Gray
Wed 12–Sat 15 Sep 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Wed 12 Sep 2018, 7.45pm

The critically acclaimed Blak Whyte Gray returns to the Barbican, following its Olivier Award nomination earlier this year.

The world in flux, a need for change: the artists of Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue Entertainment give expression to experiences of contemporary life. The time is right to ask questions, to break free from the inner tension of a system that isn’t working, and to emerge on the other side to an awakening – a return to roots, a celebration of culture.

Fuelled by an emotional energy, the piece pairs the concentrated physicality of select hip-hop dance styles with the rhythmical groove of music and moves evoking Africa. Created by Boy Blue’s founders Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, Blak Whyte Gray is infused with an unexpected abstract quality, revealing a new and different side to the company’s personality.

Tamasha R&D: Falling/Landing
Oct 2018, The Pit

The power of art to change the world has never been more important. Young people are at the vanguard. How they use their creativity, and how theatre companies harness it, can change lives, spark debate, launch careers and shape the world.

The results of this Barbican Theatre Research & Development (R&D) programme showcases excerpts from a newly-commissioned play by national touring theatre company Tamasha. In 2017, the company’s Artistic Director, award-winning playwright Fin Kennedy, used a Barbican R&D to bring together diverse emerging actors from Company Three and Generation Arts with writers and directors from new talent network Tamasha Developing Artists. This 2018 R&D showcases the results of the new play which emerged. Working as facilitator and dramaturg, Kennedy harnesses his 12-year track record of inspiring young people in east London.

Tamasha will also curate the Barbican’s flagship schools programme Barbican Theatre Box in 2017- 2018.

CN Lester – Transpose: Barbican
Nov 2018, The Pit

Curated by and featuring CN Lester, activist, author and singer-songwriter, this is the third Transpose: Barbican following its debut here in autumn 2016, and return to The Pit in November 2017. An illuminating theatrical journey with artists from the queer and trans communities, they share poetry, music, video art and storytelling with a revelatory quality.

Tickets for Transpose: Barbican will go on sale in spring 2018.

FILM

Nevertheless She Persisted: A Century of Suffrage
Wed 18–Tue 24 April 2018, Barbican Cinemas
This series examines the struggle for women’s political voices to be heard, female access to institutions of power and the quest for equal rights on a global scale.

The film season includes a trio of stories on remarkable ‘firsts’; Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed (US, 2004) a portrait of Shirley Chisholm, the pre-Barack Obama, pre-Hillary Clinton Democrat who ran to be the first black female president of the United States in 1972; Georgie Girl (New Zealand, 2001) the story of Georgina Beyer, the first transgendered person in the world to be elected to national office; and Enemies of Happiness (Denmark, 2006) following activist Malalai Joya on the campaign trail in the run-up to the first democratic parliamentary election in Afghanistan for over 30 years.

Returning the Colonial Gaze
Wed 2–Tue 29 May 2018, Barbican Cinemas

Cinema has a long and unfortunate history of collusion with colonialism but, in the margins of the mainstream, there have been directors from colonising nations whose work challenged colonial logic. As former colonies gained their independence and established their own filmmaking infrastructures, new voices also emerged to offer a much-needed counter-narrative. This five-part season focuses on the relationship between French and Francophone African cinema with work by French and African directors that contests or deconstructs the colonial gaze. Some turn this gaze back on France itself, in the form of ‘reverse-ethnography’, as Africans travel to the capital of colonial power and undertake a study of the city and its inhabitants; Jean Rouch’s playful yet provocative satire Little by Little (Jean Rouch, 1970); and Afrique sur Seine (France, 1955), considered by some to be the beginning of African cinema.

Town Bloody Hall
Jun 2018, Barbican Cinemas

To complement the theatrical run of The Town Hall Affair in the Barbican Theatre, Barbican Cinema screens the original Town Bloody Hall (US, 1979), the celebrated documentary by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, which follows an impassioned and often riotous evening of feminist debate with the likes of Norman Mailer and Germaine Greer in 1970s New York.

Screenings complementing The Town Hall Affair
Wed 6–Wed 27 Jun 2018, Barbican Cinemas

A series of screenings curated by the New York Women in Film & Television Women’s Film Preservation Fund (WFPF), the only programme in the world dedicated to preserving the cultural legacy of women in the film industry. Showcasing this unique archive of films made by women, the screenings at the Barbican will focus on American filmmaking and second-wave feminism, and frame a broader topical conversation on the power and potential of archiving feminist movements and women’s film in general.

Generations: Russian Cinema of Change
Wed 26–Sun 30 Sep 2018, Barbican Cinemas

Generations: Russian Cinema of Change brings together a selection of Russian and Soviet films, both cult and landmark, and is presented in partnership with The New Social, a London-based collective which looks across Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Baltic and Russia to uncover how new social, cultural and political identities are being played out on film.

Charting periods of profound change across 20th Century Russia, these films range from 1930s Stalinism, to the dawn of perestroika and the glasnost period in the 1980s, before the anarchic turn to democracy in the 1990s.

The programme leads with films that were once banned for their supposed 'immoral' and 'anti-Soviet' portrayals of a liberated, independent youth, such as Abram Room's A Severe Young Man (1936). Generations will also showcase independent films such as Sergei Solovyov's Assa (1988), which achieved immediate cult status by bringing the underground subcultures of the perestroika-era into the mainstream.

While documenting the changing face of Russia during the course of the last century, the films in Generations: Russian Cinema of Change also stand by the shared principle of defying authority, whether parental or state, and upholding the struggle for self-expression as a catalyst for wider change.

The Television Will be Revolutionised: Channel 4’s Film Collectives
Thu 13–Sat 15 Sep 2018, Barbican Cinemas

A film series focusing on Channel 4’s Film Collectives and the effects of the 1982 Workshop Declaration, which revolutionised the British film industry by enabling young filmmakers from diverse backgrounds to enter the industry. This enabled the work of such collectives as Black Audio Film Collective, Amber Films, Ceddo, Red Flannel, Frontroom Productions and the Belfast Film Workshop to be recognised via avenues that had previously been inaccessible.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival
Mar 2018

As part of The Art of Change, Barbican Cinema is delighted to continue its longstanding partnership with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Bearing witness to human rights violations around the world, the Festival creates a forum for courageous individuals on both sides of the lens to empower audiences, with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. The film festival brings human rights abuses to the fore through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathise and demand justice for all. In addition to the screenings, films will be accompanied by a series of screen talks and panel discussions.

MUSIC

Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (UK Premiere)
Concert-staged performance
Tue 20 Feb 2018, 7pm, Barbican Hall
Produced by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Barbican

The Barbican and the BBC SO co-present the UK premiere of Jake Heggie’s first opera Dead Man Walking (which had its world premiere in 2000) – one of the most political and most widely-performed operas in the US – in a performance directed by Leonard Foglia. The opera is based on the narrative book by Sister Helen Prejean, about the real-life journey of a nun who becomes the pen-pal and, later, spiritual advisor to a convicted murderer on Louisiana State Penitentiary’s death row. The murderer Joseph De Rocher refuses to take responsibility, portraying himself as the victim. Through meetings with him, the heartbroken parents of the murder victims, and De Rocher’s own family, Sister Helen, who went on to become one of America’s leading advocates for the abolition of the death penalty, makes an extraordinary journey through pain, conflict and grief to help Joseph find his way to the truth, and to the redemptive power of love. Joyce DiDonato stars as Sister Helen in this concert-staged performance.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis
Mon 26 Feb–Thu 1 Mar 2018, Barbican Hall
International Associate Residency

The world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis returns to the Barbican for its fifth International Associate residency in 2018. A highlight of the residency will be a re-creation of the famous Benny Goodman 1938 Carnegie Hall jazz concert – the first interracial concert at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall, and a watershed moment in American music history.

Goodman was a classically trained Jewish clarinet prodigy from Chicago who became a jazz and swing musician and bandleader, known as the "King of Swing". In the mid-1930s, against a backdrop of racial segregation, Goodman led one of the first well-known racially integrated jazz groups. On 16 January 1938, Goodman's big band plus guest soloists were invited to play a jazz concert in New York's Carnegie Hall, which has been described by AllMusic as "the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz's "coming out" party to the world of "respectable" music”.

The residency provides an opportunity to experience fifteen of America’s finest soloists, ensemble players, and arrangers in jazz music today in concerts, workshops and masterclasses. Further details to be announced.

Powerplant  – The Filthy Fifteen
Tue 1 May 2018, 7.30pm, Milton Court

Nicole Lizée’s The Filthy Fifteen was commissioned by Joby Burgess in 2016 and is inspired by fifteen songs deemed too explicit by the committee of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1985. The committee made a playlist of what it deemed the most offensive music at the time, including songs by megastars like Madonna and Prince. The list, dubbed the "Filthy 15", was to serve as an example of how the PMRC thought albums should be “rated”. But instead of issuing general "PG" and "R" designations, the committee suggested content-based ratings: "X" for profane or sexually explicit lyrics, "O" for occult references, "D/A" for lyrics about drugs and alcohol and "V" for violent content. Ultimately, the Record Industry Association of America convinced labels to affix potentially offensive albums with the warning stickers that are still in place now: “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.” At the time, the stickers became such a talking point that the Senate's Committee on Commerce held a hearing on the "Contents of Music and the Lyrics of Records", at which Frank Zappa, John Denver and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider testified. The musicians were worried that the stickers would lead to record stores refusing to carry albums, a fact that came true with Walmart.

The Filthy Fifteen incident indicates how the arts can change society by challenging and redefining the boundaries of taste, thereby changing the limits of what is acceptable. It is an example of arts changing boundaries, and the record industry responding and changing by introducing its new Parental Advisory categories. Nicole Lizée’s work, in turn, has its own artistic take on this historical episode, looking critically at it from the point of censorship.

The performance is part of a concert by dynamo percussionist Joby Burgess and his sound and video trio Powerplant – with Matthew Fairclough and Kathy Hinde – which celebrates bold new approaches to composition with works by Nicole Lizée, Will Gregory, Graham Fitkin and the world premiere of a Barbican commission by Linda Buckley.

Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel
Wed 2–Fri 4 May 2018, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall
International Associate Residency

The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel arrive for an International Associate residency in May 2018 with a programme including the European premiere of American composer Ted Hearne’s Place, which will receive its world premiere in LA in April 2018. Set in a country at a crossroads where the intersections of manifest destiny and gentrification meet history and personal experience, Place explores the complex and contentious map of the place we call home. The New York Times has praised Hearne for his “topical, politically sharp-edged works” and this performance is part of Green Umbrella, the LA Phil’s acclaimed series of new music. It will be performed by the LA Phil New Music Group.

As part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic residency, 50 young people from London and Los Angeles will be brought together to share ideas and create a Youth Manifesto that explores what young people need from the arts in the future. Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle
Genesis Suite
Sat 13 Jan 2018, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall

On 13 January 2018, Sir Simon Rattle conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in Genesis Suite, a musical interpretation of the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis. Made up of seven movements, each written by a different composer, the work was conceived in 1943 by Tin Pan Alley and film composer/conductor Nathaniel Shilkret. Shilkret wished to make a grand and shocking musical gesture, drawing attention to the horrors of the Second World War, and breaking boundaries of musical styles.

Shilkret involved some of the most famous composers of his time for the project, including Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Toch, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Tansman, who all wrote music in very different styles. They were, however, all united in their experience of being European émigrés in America, displaced from their homelands by war and totalitarian regimes. Shilkret also asked Béla Bartók to take part but unfortunately Bartók was already gravely ill at that point and not able to participate. To honour his planned participation, the Barbican performance includes Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. The production is devised and presented by creative director Gerard McBurney, with visuals by award winning projection designer Mike Tutaj.


FOYERS AND PUBLIC SPACES

Real Quick
Throughout 2018

Against the backdrop of a fast-changing social and political landscape, cultural institutions are now, more than ever before, grappling with the question of their own civic responsibility. We believe part of this questioning requires us to experiment with new models of artistic production.

Real Quick is an ambitious attempt to build a new platform within an established arts institution for rapid responses to the state of the world, publicised no more than seven days in advance. Programmed directly in response to unfolding political and social issues, these informal talks, discussions and experiments will take place in the Barbican’s public spaces intermittently throughout the year, and will involve a diverse range of contributors.

Girls can, do and will
Autumn 2018

During the recent worldwide women’s marches, many young girls had their first experience of campaigning and protest, some of them learning for the first time about the continued fight for gender equality, how it is relevant to their lives, and that it is not relegated to the past.

Given this, and inspired by the Girlguiding Girls Attitudes survey, Girls can, do and will, is a creative and participatory event for Brownies and Guides, who will work with a range of artists, musicians, writers, and performers at the Barbican. They’ll explore how art and culture can influence, affect and enhance the cause for gender equality and talk about what matters to them. Afterwards they will be able to undertake their own social action projects for which they will receive a new Girlguiding London and South East England and Barbican badge designed by a leading artist.

In partnership with Girlguiding London and South East England.

Art 50: Barbican Public Spaces Commission
Spring 2018

A new competition to create a piece of projection-based art for the Barbican’s public spaces. Artists, collectives, and designers across all disciplines will be invited to submit proposals for projects which explore our national identity. We’re interested in projects which have something to say about what Britain will look like, feel like, and be like to live in when we are no longer members of the EU. Dates and details on how to apply will be published in Autumn 2017. Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

Gayle Chong Kwan
The People’s Forest: The Fairlop Oak
Oct 2017–Mar 2018

The People’s Forest is a new contemporary visual art project by London-based artist Gayle Chong Kwan which explores the forest, and in particular Epping Forest (described by Queen Victoria as ‘The People’s Forest’). Chong Kwan’s new installation explores the forest as a site of shared resources and competing claims, as a threshold between the rural and the urban, the tensions between capital and common, private and public, as well examining local issues and the impact of globalisation on communities, providing a voice for the people of Epping Forest.

Through two years of research and running creative participatory activities, Chong Kwan is developing a significant new body of work, which explores the forest, its history, and its culture. Central to the project is the tree as a site for celebration and protest and Chong Kwan’s ambitious new large-scale 11m high sculpture of a pollarded tree The Fairlop Oak, will form the centre-piece of the Walthamstow Garden Party in July 2017 before being installed in the Barbican as part of the Barbican’s foyer commissions programme - a diverse range of adventurous arts and learning projects, all free and accessible to everyone.

The project is funded by William Morris Gallery, the Barbican, and public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England with additional support from Waltham Forest and The View, Epping Forest.

Panic! 2018
It’s an Arts Emergency!

Research throughout 2017–2018
Foyer commission and talks, Mar–Jun 2018

Who makes and consumes art? Who works in the arts? How do they get in, and get on? And what are the consequences for culture in the UK?

These questions form the basis of an ambitious research project led by sociologists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield, investigating artistic, workforce and audience inequalities within the creative economy and the arts and cultural sector. For the first time in a decade, researchers will compare large-scale national datasets on social mobility with industry-specific information, including almost 300 hours of interviews with creative professionals collected following a national survey in 2015 as part of the first Panic! project.

The Barbican is partnering with Create London and Arts Emergency to share the outcome of these investigations with the wider sector and the public. Over the next year, a series of concise working papers will be published, exploring a range of themes, including: meritocracy; unpaid work; the ‘London effect’; cultural consumption; attitudes and values of cultural workers; and the meaning of class in the arts and cultural context, all of which aim to provide a timely opportunity for reflection and discussion on issues of exclusion and inequality.

As part of Panic! 2018, an artist will be commissioned to make a new piece of work for our public spaces taking the project’s findings as its starting point. Additionally, Panic! 2018 will also comprise talks, a creative careers project for young people, and a publication on research findings. Panic! 2018 is a continuation of a nationwide survey and events programme in 2015. Find out more here.

Delivered by Create London, Arts Emergency and the Barbican. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with support from Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.

CREATIVE LEARNING

Subject to Change
Throughout 2018

What do we know today, and what are the unknowns of tomorrow? Subject to Change invites twelve young poets to speak to our changing world, one for every month of 2018. Created for Barbican digital and online channels, the Barbican will issue a poem for the month written and performed by young, emerging spoken word artists. In our fast changing times, Subject to Change aims to fleetingly capture the shifting landscapes of the present through the timeless art of poetry. 

2018 Reflective Conservatoire Conference
Theme: Artists as Citizens
Tue 20–Fri 23 Feb 2018
The 5th triennial Reflective Conservatoire Conference (taking place at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Barbican Centre) brings together leading performers, teachers and researchers from all over the world to address key issues in Higher Education within music and drama, explored through a series of performances, practical workshops, keynote speeches, curated sessions, seminars and round-table discussions.

Economic, social and political landscapes are transforming in unparalleled ways across the globe. However bewildering this may be, one thing is certain: we are living in a time where artists and the arts must realise their potential more fully as leaders in society. Responding to this, the theme for the 2018 Reflective Conservatoire Conference is Artists as Citizens and will consider how artists, arts organisations, and specialist higher education in the performing arts in particular, can and are already engaging with artistic citizenship within contemporary societies. What are the possibilities for practitioners individually and collectively? How is specialist higher education changing in response to this agenda; what are the implications and opportunities for organisational development and leadership?

Barbican Young Poets – A Change is Gonna Come
May 2018, The Pit

Past and current Barbican Young Poets present a night of electrifying poetry and spoken word. Some of London's most talented young wordsmiths come together to express their views on the changing state of the nation, their place within it, and everything in between.

Tickets for A Change is Gonna Come will go on sale in the autumn.

Youth Manifesto Project
Fri 4 May 2018
Barbican Centre

What could the arts be offering young people?  What could arts buildings of the future look like?  What performers do young people want to see on stage?  What skills do they want to learn now, that we should be providing? What might emerge through an exchange of ideas between young people from the UK and the US?

Bringing together young people aged 14–18 from London and Los Angeles, the Barbican will be asking students to think about what they need from the arts in the future as part of the LA Philharmonic’s Barbican residency. Creating a manifesto in one day, young people will join us for workshops, talks, debates and open rehearsals on 4 May 2018, in partnership with the LA Philharmonic’s education team. Ideas will be captured through an interactive workshop process, ultimately resulting in a published book for distribution in the UK and the US.  Part of Sky Arts Art 50.

18 x 18
Sep 2017 - Jul 2018
Sydney Russell School, Dagenham
18 x 18
is a year-long artistic residency in one of Britain’s largest secondary schools, Sydney Russell School in Barking and Dagenham. Marking the 100 year anniversary of suffrage and the Representation of the People Act in 1918, the residency will celebrate the rich feminist heritage of Barking and Dagenham, exploring the female heroes that have come to define the borough’s past and present and boldly imagining how its young people will go on to define its future and become the change makers of tomorrow.

Working with eighteen different classes from Sydney Russell School for a whole academic year, eighteen artists/companies including leading theatre company Complicite, beatboxer Bellatrix and award-winning filmmaker Eelyn Lee, will work with students and teaching staff at the School to deliver an ambitious and wide-ranging programme of creative projects. Taking inspirational female figures and activists from the borough as their starting point, students will create films, performances, sculptures and photographs to explore the question: “what is the legacy of this heritage, and what does it mean to be a leader of change, today?”

Barbican Theatre Box
Sep 2017–Jul 2018

Flagship schools project Barbican Box returns in 2018 with a Theatre Box curated by Tamasha, one of the UK’s leading theatre companies putting the diversity of the 21st century centre stage.

This year’s Box will create two characters, Leila and Justice, two east London 18 year olds who set up a detective agency. Students will receive a range of cases for Leila and Justice to solve and instructions for creating their own cases. Like the best detective stories in literature – from Sherlock Holmes to Chinatown – the heroes don’t only investigate mysteries, but also the society they take place in.

Led by Artistic Director Fin Kennedy, this year’s Box will be developed by the culturally diverse Tamasha Playwrights group and be accompanied by a unique package of learning resources, teacher training, artist mentor visits and theatre tickets.

Fin Kennedy, said: “Barbican Box is a fantastic opportunity to inspire a new generation of theatremakers and to showcase Tamasha’s unique approach to making work. The detective story archetype encapsulates Tamasha’s belief in theatre – that at its best it’s an investigative tool for exposing the fundamental human truths which connect us all.”

The programme will work with 26 east London and South Essex schools and colleges, culminating in performances at the Barbican.

Young Creatives On Change
Wed 3–Mon 29 Oct 2018

Work by young creatives from our Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning programmes will be presented in a new exhibition at the Barbican Library from 3 – 29 October 2018. Tying in with National Poetry Day for the month of October, the exhibition will include work by our Young Poets and Young Visual Artists on the theme of change.

This exhibition will link to the 2018 Pit theatre programme, where Barbican Young Poets will perform repertoire from this exhibition at a live public event in The Pit, mc’d by Jacob Sam La Rose.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Press Information
For further information, images or to arrange interviews contact:

Jess Hookway, Senior Communications Officer
+44 20 7382 7237 / +44 7803 377 406
jess.hookway@barbican.org.uk  

Public information
Box office: 0845 120 7511
www.barbican.org.uk    

Barbican newsroom
All Barbican Centre press releases, news announcements and the Media Relations team’s contact details are listed on our website at www.barbican.org.uk/news/home  

About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company. International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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Sky Arts’ Art 50
A number of projects in The Art of Change will form part of Art 50, a landmark project to commission 50 artworks that will explore what it means to be British in a post-Brexit Britain. Art 50 is a partnership between Sky Arts, the Barbican, Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Storyvault Films.

There will be staggered commissioning rounds over the next two years, with an open call out for submissions across all disciplines including the visual arts, theatre, music, dance and spoken word. Deadline for submissions for the first commissioning round is 29th May 2017. More information and details of how to submit a project can be found through the dedicated Art 50 website: http://www.skyartsart50.tv/











Press enquiries:

Press Information 
For further information, images or to arrange interviews contact:

 Jess Hookway, Senior Communications Officer
 +44 20 7382 7237 / +44 7803377406
 jess.hookway@barbican.org.uk