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Young Barbican: The Takeover

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Discover illuminating moments of euphoria as we work together towards the possibility of a better future for us all.

Programmed in collaboration with our Young Barbican Consultants, this year’s festival focuses on ‘Euphoric Futures’. Taking place across the Barbican Centre, the four zones of activity will present performances, workshops and talks that critically engage with key issues for young people today. 

How can we create euphoric futures for ourselves?  How do we make the most of the here-and-now? And with the state of the world, can we even imagine euphoric futures? 

Our Future Self

Across Level G, you’ll find opportunities for career development, personal growth, and building your network through fun and engaging workshops, talks and performances.

Two people sat at table making a collage, one in black leather jacket and the other in a beige shirt

Chill-out Zone & Freestyle Collage

Freestage, 12pm-5.30pm

Relax, chill and connect with your friends and other Young Barbican members. There’ll be chairs and bean bags, plus a collage activity to get creative with!

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Professional Photography Portraits

Fountain Room Foyer, 12pm-5pm

Need the perfect headshot for your portfolio or profile? Come & have your portrait taken by Anthony Comber-Badu. Anthony is a writer, photographer & filmmaker who has worked with Tate, National Portrait Gallery, BBC & BFI.
Ticket holders queue on the day.

Individual wearing black suit standing against the wall

The Future of Drag Workshop

Fountain Room, 12.30-2.30pm

Join drag artists Birdcage, Cabbage the Clown and Weedle Koichiii, alongside performance artist Joy Kincaid, to explore the form(less-ness) of contemporary drag. Create different looks through makeup, design your own drag audio piece, and take part in  autoethnographic artistic explorations, all whilst discussing the future of queer performance. 
Capacity is 40 people. Ticket holders sign up on the day.

Three artists appear standing between empty picture frames.

them's the breaks Exhibition Tour

RESOLVE Collective

Curve Gallery, 1pm

Join RESOLVE Collective for an exclusive tour to consider radical ideas for organising both within and without institutions in their latest exhibition them’s the breaks.

You’re invited to become a part of the art, built on site using objects foraged from London’s cultural institutions and exhibitions. As part of the large scale installation, RESOLVE Collective use technology usually found in structural engineering to visualise what’s happening inside the Barbican's concrete structure: using the cracks that naturally occur over time in a building as prompts for how we consider the structural decline of our systems, institutions, and buildings.

Three people sat at a table, one in grey jumper and blue beanie, another in blue jumper and another in black jumper and scarf

Finding Your Support

Level G Studio, 1.30pm-4pm

Reps from organisations that specialise in offering mentoring and learning programmes for young people will be on-hand to talk to you about how they can support your career development.

Image of 3 people being helped by 1 individual in candlemaking workshop

Haute Flame Candle Making Workshop

Fountain Room, 3pm-4pm & 4.30-5.30pm

Haute Flame is known for making decadent statement candles, and in this workshop they will take you through the steps you'll need to master making your own unique candle to take home.
Capacity is 20 people per session. Ticket holders sign up on the day. 
Please note that candles will need approximately 45-60 mins to set before you can take them away.

Group of people in blue shirts participating in drumming workshop

Drum Works

Level G, 5.30-6pm

Over 50 young drummers will take over Barbican’s Level G for an epic performance, guaranteed to bring some energy to your Saturday afternoon. Drum Works uses drumming as a tool to inspire creativity, build social cohesion and empower young people to direct their own futures. The massed band will include Drum Heads alongside Drum Works participants from Tower Hamlets, Newham and Barking & Dagenham.

artist Edward is facing the camera standing against a dark red background. They are wearing a khaki t-shirt and beige vest.

Nok Cultural Ensemble

Freestage, 6pm

Nok Cultural Ensemble centres diverse Afro-diasporic percussive traditions, drawing on their own collective heritage - from Nigeria and Mauritius to St Kitt and the UK.

The Nok Cultural Ensemble builds on the legacy of cultural ensemble bands from 1960’s West Africa. Inspired by Pan- African liberation movements, these groups symbolised self determination and black pride.

The line-up includes:

Zarak (Fula Flute, Percussion)
Ras Asheber (Conch, Djembe)
Watusi 87 (Vocals, Djembe)
Dwayne Kilvington (Dundun, Congas)
Edward Wakili-Hick (Drum kit, MPC)
Joseph Deenmamode (Ravanne)

Ecological Futures

Throughout the Barbican’s Conservatory, performances and workshops will explore our relationship to nature, its importance to wellbeing, and how ecological issues intersect with gender, class, colonialism and the Climate Crisis.

Ink drawing of trees

Following the Breath

Conservatory, 12-9pm

The climate crisis and global pandemic have made us acutely aware of the air around us. Artist Sam Winston has worked with groups of young people to explore the air we breathe and where it comes from. Ink drawings created by young people were gathered together to make a large-scale piece displayed in the Conservatory alongside Sam Winston’s work.

You are invited to create your own artistic response as well. Pick up a postcard from a member of staff, watch the film to learn about Sam’s process, and listen to the audio, which will guide you through the activity. Amongst the calm of the plants, take a moment to draw, reflect, and breathe. You are advised to bring your own headphones and a smartphone to access the audio.

Person doing yoga in park

Yoga Nidra

Conservatory Terrace, 1-2pm and 3.30-4.30pm

Take part in a Yoga Nidra session, facilitated by poet and yoga teacher Simran Uppal. You’ll be gently led into a deeply restful space at the edge of sleep for a dreamy, easy, richly creative meditation experience. Yoga Nidra is a gentle practice, with minimal movement involved. Suitable for all levels. Mats, beanbags, and blankets will be provided. There is space for wheelchair users.
Capacity is 25 people per session. Ticket holders sign up on the day. 

Line drawing

The Space We Hold In Our Lungs – A Drawing Workshop

Conservatory Terrace, 2-3pm and 4.30-5.30pm

Drawing is a great way to deal with complexity without the need to control it. For millennia, artists have moved questions out of their heads and into their hands. In this workshop artist Sam Winston will offer new ways to explore our built environments as well as sharing some creative strategies he employs in the studio. No prior artistic experience necessary, these workshops are relaxed and playful.

Capacity is 25 people per session. Ticket holders sign up on the day. 

Alice Boyd wearing headphones and orange jacket

Alice Boyd

Conservatory Well, 3pm-3.30pm

Alice Boyd presents her debut EP From The Understory, an exploration of our evolutionary journey and interconnectedness with the biosphere. Created as part of Alice's artist residency at the Eden Project - the world's largest indoor rainforest - this collection of songs tells the story of civilisation at a tipping point.

Alice Boyd’s work uses vocal harmony, field recordings and electronics to tell stories about the world around us. She has worked with Eden Project, Wellcome Collection, Donmar Warehouse and more. 

Alice will be joined by musicians Dazey, zha and Jacob Norris and writer Natasha Kaeda.

Image of DJ she is wearing headphones, and standing in a red lit room


Garden Room, 7.30pm 

Zakia is a broadcaster, writer and DJ from London with a passion for music, arts, mental health and history. She regularly produces and presents radio documentaries and podcasts for platforms including BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, Tate, and Boiler Room and has explored a wide range of topics, from Caribbean ancestral drumming, to schizophrenia and intergenerational trauma, to improvisation in the arts.

Alongside audio production, Zakia is an enthusiastic and respected collector and sharer of music. Zakia has a 
weekly and widely popular show on NTS Radio, called Questing w/ Zakia, where she interviews
guests and plays cosmic music from across the globe. As a DJ, Zakia has performed at esteemed clubs
and festivals in London and abroad, including the likes of Dekmantel, Dimensions, We Out Here, GALA,
XOYO, Brilliant Corners, Gorilla, Jazz Cafe and Maiden Voyage.

Side profile photograph of artist Faisal. He has curly hair and speaking into a microphone.


Garden Room, 9pm 

Faisal Salah, known by his stage name FACESOUL is a London-based Somali artist. His spellbounding album YRSA is raw and honest account from a period of personal grief and solitude after the passing of a dear friend in an accident during the recording period. It transformed the project into a creative documentation of his emotional reconnection himself and the journey home after losing a loved one. It celebrates and honours vulnerability, exploring themes of grief, sorrow, joy, love, family and the human experience.

FACESOUL is one of those rare artists whose words and sounds speak directly to your soul. 

 “For me authenticity has to be the first step. Always. And that’s why I decided to just use my voice, to symbolically display my truth bare; in a way that’s not hidden behind any scaffolding or props, I was always taught come as you are to life as it is and, in that you are enough.”

Future Ensembles

Take part in movement-based workshops that will culminate in a collective public performance in the heart of the centre. 

Artist JUM3E wears a red top and blue jeans and looks into distance

Movement/Dance Workshop

Clubstage, 2.30pm-4.30pm

UK-based home and grown Singer/Dancer JUM3E is bringing energy and vibes by supporting the youth in their exploration of achieving mindfulness and wellness through movement. You can expect a day of fun and positive vibes for all people of all abilities and from varying backgrounds. This extravaganza will culminate in a Movement Workshop for All and then participants will be given the opportunity to share their expression in a Flash Mob-esque style performance! All moving to music in one accord. Come and join us, we want you to experience the Euphoric Future Feeling of Movement. Beginners are welcome!

Capacity is 50 people. Ticket holders sign up on the day.

Blurry image of people rollerskating

Flash Mob-esque Style Performance

Clubstage, 5.30pm

Come and witness a public flashmob, movement-based performance in the heart of the Barbican!

The Future of Performance

Who are the movers and shakers leading the way in the future of performance? Join us for an evening of live performance showcasing some of the hottest up-and-coming talent. 

Artist Chagall is standing against a skyline background looking up to the sky


by Chagall

Pit Theatre, 7.30pm

Advaita is a synergy of movement, music and visual effects performance by artist and performer Chagall. Using a motion capture suit and sensor enabled gloves she turns her full body into an instrument and creates a harmony between live music, technology and movement. The show will be followed by an audience Q&A.

About Chagall

Singer/producer/computer nerd Chagall pushes the boundaries with tech-heavy live shows that add a captivating physicality and human intimacy to electronic music. Every performance by Chagall is a spectacular audio-visual experience that inspires and connects. Her upcoming album ‘Unlocked’ brings together 80s synth pop, alt-R&B and swelling basses in a digital yet poetic dream world.

Image of artist Reeta singng. They are standing

The Remedy

by Reeta Loi

Pit Theatre, 9pm

The Remedy takes you on a journey spanning 15 years, told through comedy, poetry, story and song. It is a story of hope, against the odds. This is a powerful and breathtaking one-person show, with a unique approach to storytelling.

The show will be followed by an audience Q&A.

About Reeta Loi

Reeta Loi is a Storyteller. You may have heard their powerful latest track Remedy, seen their ground-breaking VICE documentary, watched their transformative TED talks or read their work in GAY TIMES. Now see them live bringing together comedy, poetry, story and song in their uplifting new show The Remedy.

Sponsored by

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