Major new Culture Mile installation in Beech Street tunnel announced as part of Barbican OpenFest 17 & 18 March 2018


Highlights include:

  • Culture Mile presents Tunnel Visions: Array a free light and sound installation in Beech Street tunnel, opposite Barbican Underground as part of Barbican OpenFest.
  • Created by Tony Award-winning artists 59 Productions and co-produced with the Barbican, with music by composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the tunnel will be transformed for the first time in to an audio-visual performance space.
  • Barbican OpenFest returns for a second year welcoming everyone to explore the Barbican and its surrounding streets and Culture Mile venues.
  • A weekend of inspiring art and entertainment, Barbican OpenFest will include everything from art exhibitions, music and dance, to free tours, open rehearsals, showcases and workshops in and around the iconic arts and learning centre.
  • Highlights at the 2018 Barbican OpenFest include the return of Ballet Black to the Barbican Theatre with evening performances, a drop-in ballet lesson and an open rehearsal. Just Jam also returns, and there will be free workshops for people to attend with Let’s Roll CIC, the Royal Horticultural Society and Turning Earth.

Tunnel Visions: Array

On 17 and 18 March the City of London’s Culture Mile presents Array, a free light and sound installation in Beech Street tunnel (opposite Barbican Underground), as part of Barbican OpenFest. For the first time the tunnel will be transformed into an immersive audio-visual performance space, combining cutting-edge projection and sound technology with the Barbican’s distinctive brutalist architecture. The walls and ceiling of the tunnel will become a vast canvas for a newly-commissioned animated digital artwork inspired by composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen’s contemporary classical masterpiece, Karawane, allowing audiences to explore the work aurally, visually and spatially.

Array is being created by the Tony Award-winning artists 59 Productions, led by director Richard Slaney and co-produced with the Barbican. Karawane is a work for chorus and orchestra by Esa-Pekka Salonen, one of the Composer Focuses in the Barbican’s 2017/8 season. The work was recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in concert at the Barbican Hall on 10 December 2017 as part of a BBC Total Immersion Day on Salonen’s music. Karawane was written in 2014 and is based on a short poem by Dadaist Hugo Ball. It is in two parts each of which is divided into six movements and is cyclical. At its premiere The New York Times described it as, “...the product of a mature master, working with confidence and patience on a larger canvas. The chorus’s hypnotic incantations have the undergirding of a glistening orchestral landscape, sometimes swaying, sometimes blooming.”

Culture Mile launched last July and is an ambitious and transformational initiative that will create a vibrant cultural area in the north-west corner of the City over the next 10 to 15 years. Stretching just under a mile from Farringdon to Moorgate, Culture Mile will have creative exchange, cultural collaboration and learning at its core in an area where 2,000 years of history collide with the world’s best in culture.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation said, ‘This temporary transformation of Beech Street - the backbone of Culture Mile – is an important milestone in our plans to create a vibrant cultural area in the north-west corner of the City.

Through imaginative Culture Mile collaborations and top class outdoor programming like Array, we will redefine the Square Mile so that it becomes known as much for being a world-class cultural destination as for its position as a leading global financial centre.’

Sir Nicholas Kenyon said on behalf of Culture Mile: ‘Array is a very exciting moment for Culture Mile. This is our first big event and to be transforming the tunnel in Beech Street in to an audio-visual performance space is a great demonstration of our desire to enliven the area with outdoor programming, be more family friendly and create a leading cultural and creative destination. There will be activities happening across the weekend from Culture Mile’s core partners and the Culture Mile Network with something for everyone to enjoy.’

There will be a 30-minute performance every hour across the weekend from 3-9.30pm on Saturday 17 March and 12-9.30pm on Sunday 18 March. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance at


Barbican OpenFest

Following its successful launch in 2016, Barbican OpenFest returns in 2018 welcoming everyone to explore the Barbican and its surrounding streets and venues. A weekend of inspiring art and entertainment, Barbican OpenFest will include everything from art, music and dance, to workshops, markets, tours, talks and showcases in and around the iconic arts and learning centre.

The two-day festival will see events such as Chronic Youth Film Festival, programmed by and for young people; Our Future City hosted by the Museum of London; as well as an array of free activities, events and performances for all ages inside the Barbican and its neighbouring venues, the Museum of London, the Guildhall School’s Milton Court Concert Hall and LSO St Luke’s as well as interactive installations and events in the streets and highwalks surrounding the Barbican Centre. There are also activities with partners of the Culture Mile Network including ABRSM and The Charterhouse.

Louise Jeffreys, Barbican Director of Arts, said: ‘We’re delighted to be hosting OpenFest again this year and welcoming local partners from east London, especially as it was such a success in 2016 in attracting new audiences to the Barbican. Our free workshops and performances are a great introduction to everything the Barbican does and, with the weekend spilling out across the streets of the City of London’s Culture Mile, this year’s OpenFest is set to be bigger and better than ever.’

Saturday 17 March–Sunday 18 March 2018, 11am–11pm, Barbican Centre



  • Let’s Roll CIC bring roller skating to the heart of the Barbican with free lessons for families, a roller disco for more advanced skaters and live demos (Free but ticketed, Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 March, 11am–5pm, Club Stage).
  • Barbican Blocks: Play, build and invent in a world of texture and colour for under-fives and their families. A freestanding cube unpacks to become a selection of blocks made out of all sorts of materials that young children can use to shape the space around them in a sensory adventure (Saturday 17 March, 11am–4pm, Children’s Library; Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 March, Stalls Floor, 11am–4pm). This workshop is free to attend.
  • Romp and Roll, produced by Adrenalindance and Hackney Children's Theatre is a soft learning approach to dance for adult and child, initiating the discovery of rhythm, coordination and listening. This workshop is intended for children aged 2-6 years, accompanied by an adult (Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 March, 11am, Freestage). This workshop is free to attend.
  • Prior to their Saturday evening performance in the Theatre, Ballet Black will host a drop-in ballet lesson for all the family on the Barbican foyers, followed by a short Q&A (Saturday 17 March, 12–1pm).
  • Free drop in workshops led by award-winning designer Donna Wilson, activist and founder of the global Craftivist Collective, Sarah Corbett, artist Gayle Chong Kwan and community drinks enterprise Company Drinks will be running throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, offering a range of creative activities for all ages.
  • Stitch-School's embroidery experts Aimee Betts and Melanie Bowles invite passers-by to drop in and collaborate stitching a huge piece of printed fabric. Under their guidance, participants work together to create something unique (17–25 March, Barbican Shop). Free to attend.



  • Royal Horticultural Society On Tour will be putting down roots on the Barbican Lakeside with plant sales, free workshops and tours of local flora and fauna. Experts will be on hand with free advice and to answer questions about creating and maintaining house plants and urban gardens (Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 March, Lakeside).
  • Turning Earth community ceramics studios will be bringing their Makers Market to the Barbican’s famous Conservatory on the Sunday of Barbican OpenFest, selling handcrafted work by 60 makers based at the studios, alongside interactive demonstrations giving people the chance to have a go themselves. Wildcard Brewery will also be serving a range of beers (Sunday 18 March, Conservatory).



  • Unticketed open rehearsals will take place during the afternoon for the Just Jam Reloaded (Saturday 17 March) and PLAY! concerts (Sunday 18 March) in the Barbican Hall.
  • Ballet Black will be preparing for their evening performance with an open on-stage rehearsal for audiences to watch for free in the Barbican Theatre (Saturday 17 March, 5.30 – 6.30pm).
  • Barbican Young Songwriters is a Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning programme for 14–18 year-olds. Over four months, the young musicians are supported to develop their songwriting and composition skills and cover a wide genre of music from classical to pop, jazz to electronic dance music. Their final performance takes place during Barbican OpenFest (Sunday 18 March, 4pm & 6pm, Milton Court).
  • Barbican Young Poets, a sixth-month programme and community for writers aged 14-25, end their 2017-18 programme with the Barbican Young Poets Showcase 2018 where young people will take to the stage to share their poetic talent (Sunday 18 March, 6-7:30pm, Milton Court). Both Young Songwriters and Young Poets celebrate the work of the Barbican’s Young Creatives.
  • Rosas danst Rosas: Join dancers from MovE17 to perform iconic dance work, Rosas danst Rosas by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. This piece, commissioned by the Barbican for OpenFest, brings dancers of all ages and abilities together, to have fun learning and celebrating this contemporary dance classic (Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 March, Foyers & Lakeside).



  • Satellites is a new performance for the Barbican Highwalks created by Andy Field in collaboration with performers from the Guildhall School’s Performance and Creative Enterprise programme, commissioned by the Barbican and the Museum of London. Audience members are invited to wander across walkways and spaces around the Barbican, through a constellation of encounters with over a dozen young artists. (Free but ticketed, Saturday & Sunday, 5–8pm).
  • Walking Tour: The Crafty City - Materials and Making in the Square Mile: This walk, led by writer and lecturer Chris Rogers, takes you through centuries of making in the Square Mile. The Brutalist architecture of the Barbican, itself a masterclass in the potential of a single medium, introduces a neighbourhood whose varied, mostly small-scale buildings reflect a history of craft, industry and materials (Saturday 17 March, begins at Barbican Shop).



  • The City of London’s Culture Mile will present Tunnel Visions: Array, a free light and sound installation in the Beech Street tunnel (opposite Barbican Underground). As part of Barbican OpenFest, the tunnel will be transformed for the first time into an audio-visual performance space which puts the audience inside a piece of classical contemporary music allowing them to explore the work aurally, visually and spatially. (Free but ticketed, Saturday & Sunday; booking at



  • The London Symphony Orchestra will be performing brand new music by six different young composers as part of the Panufnik Composers Workshops (Sunday 18 March 10am–1.30pm and 2.30–6pm, LSO St Luke’s).
  • Members of the Orchestra will also be performing alongside Salena Godden, Laurie Ogden, Sophia Thakur and Solomon O.B in Jasmin Kent Rodgman’s HUH, a concert looking at migration, movement, gender and identity through rhythm and rhyme. Set within an interactive sound installation controlled by audience movement, it fuses new music, rap, poetry and song. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance (Saturday 17 March, 3.00 – 4.30pm, LSO St Luke’s).



  • On Saturday 17 March, 5-8pm, Our Future City takes a look at London: what it is, who shapes it and what it should be like in the future. This event will be run by young people from London highlighting the opinions, creativity and actions of young Londoners through music, performance, interactive workshops and collective art making.
  • On Sunday 18 March, 1.30pm & 4pm, there will be two hour-long productions of Horrible Histories: More Best of Barmy Britain highlighting some of London’s gross past. Both productions are free to attend.



  • Guildhall School activities during Barbican OpenFest include Junior Guildhall: Big Gig (Saturday 17 March, 12.30 – 1.30pm, Silk Street Music Hall), a free, fun music workshop for people of all ages and abilities led by Lincoln Abbotts, ABRSM, part of the Culture Mile Network, and conducted by Spencer Down, Junior Guildhall.
  • Junior Guildhall holds an open rehearsal (Saturday 17 March, 2.30 - 4pm, Milton Court Concert Hall) offering insight in to a classical music rehearsal, as talented young musicians from Junior Guildhall rehearse an exciting programme of Russian music by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov ahead of their evening concert, conducted by Julian Clayton and Dominic Wheeler.
  • On Saturday 17 March Guildhall School artists and established artists at the cutting edge of experimental live performance present Unfinished, responding to one of London’s most extraordinary historic sites, The Charterhouse, part of the Culture Mile Network.
  • On Sunday 18 March, family music workshops will introduce a range of classical music to people through storytelling, led by acclaimed wind quintet Concrete Winds. Families can find out more about the fundamentals of musicianship at the Kodály and Rhythmics music workshops, delivered by music education specialists from the Junior Guildhall Kindergarten programme.
  • Also on Sunday, Drama workshops will be led by teachers and alumni from the Guildhall School’s acting department throughout the day.
  • Activities on Sunday also include flautist Lindsey Fillingham and postgraduate musicians from the Guildhall School demonstrating how fun improvisation can be using ideas, tunes and stories from audience members to create completely new music in the moment. Using their ‘Secret Music Lab’ audiences will share in and help the different stages of the creative process.
  • All events listed above are free to attend.



  • Just Jam returns to the Barbican Concert Hall for Just Jam Reloaded, featuring a cast of afrobeat, grime, electronic, rap and further talents showcasing some of the most vital sounds from the UK and beyond, including Nottingham MC Mez, Belly Squad, Brixton rap duo Skengdo x AM and Tottenham’s Headie One (Saturday 17 March).
  • PLAY! promises a symphonic rollercoaster ride of classic computer game soundtracks such as Final Fantasy and Tetris themes, alongside well-known orchestral masterworks, including music from Holst’s The Planets and Strauss’ tone poems. Internationally renowned Charles Hazlewood will be conducting, with music performed by the Army of Generals and members of the British Paraorchestra in the Barbican Concert Hall (Sunday 18 March).



  • Ballet Black returns to the Barbican Theatre (Thursday 15–Saturday 17 March) for a double bill consisting of Cathy Marston’s new narrative ballet inspired by Can Themba’s South African fable The Suit and Arthur Pita’s Olivier Award-nominated A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Led by Artistic Director Cassa Pancho, the company celebrates dancers of black and Asian descent, showcasing technique, precision and grace in specially commissioned pieces. These performances are intended for audiences aged 7+.
  • Studio Three Pit Party: Meat Raffle: Two nights of electric entertainment recreate the live buzz, subversive energy and community spirit of working-class clubs, providing the perfect antidote to a hard week of graft. Based in Barking and Dagenham, Studio 3 Arts make outstanding art that is accessible, exciting and transformative.



  • Framed Film Festival: A double helping of Framed Film Club for Barbican OpenFest weekend. On Saturday 17 March there’s magical storytelling from distant lands with Tales of the Night . Then, on Sunday 18 March, Molly Monster must find her new place in her family with the arrival of a younger sibling (Cinemas 2 & 3).
  • Chronic Youth Film Festival: From short films by African filmmakers, to feature-length stories that range from Occupation-era France to modern-day Missouri, this year’s selection – brought to you by the Barbican Young Programmers – explores the restless, exciting and fraught nature of childhood and adolescence, and is a refreshing take on coming-of-age stories (Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 March, Cinema 2).



  • Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins looks at the continuing fascination of artists with those on the margins of society through the work of 20 exceptional image-makers, including Bruce Davidson, Paz Errázuriz, Casa Susanna, Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, Boris Mikhailov, Daido Moriyama and Dayanita Singh.
  • Yto Barrada transforms the sweeping form of the Barbican’s Curve with a dramatic site-specific installation entitled Agadir, which considers how a city and its people might address the process of reinvention following disaster. She takes as her starting point the hybrid novel-play by Moroccan writer Mohammed Khaïr-EddineAgadir (1967) – which reflects on the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of the modernist city of Agadir, Morocco, in 1960. Free admission.



  • Unfinished features Guildhall School artists and established artists at the cutting edge of experimental live performance responding to one of London’s most extraordinary historic sites, The Charterhouse.
  • Nell Catchpole and Jan Hendrickse have curated a series of live performance interventions that subtly change the perception of this historic building. Working with its sense of permanence, peace and seclusion in contrast to the surrounding urban environment, the artists make use of the natural light, material and acoustic properties of the site. Paying attention to time and duration, the event will evolve throughout the day and into the evening, alongside the regular routines of The Charterhouse residents. You are invited to encounter these contemplative and playful interventions in your own time as you journey through the site’s many spaces. (Saturday 17 March, 11am–7pm).
  • The Charterhouse is an extraordinary historic site that has been living the nation’s history since 1348. In that time it has served as a monastery, private mansion, boys school, and an almshouse, which it remains to this day. 
  • As part of Culture Mile Network, The Charterhouse represents one of sixteen organisations based in and around the area that is playing a critical role in realising the ambitions of Culture Mile alongside the five core partners.


Notes to Editors

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

Culture Mile

Rebecca Driver Media Relations
+44 20 7247 1894
or ruth@rdmr.,

Barbican OpenFest

Tom Vine, Communications Officer
+44 20 7382 7321 

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