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Barbican announces new digital content and launches new music album made by young Londoners

Illustration of the Barbican Box young performers playing music together in front of the Barbican's three towers

Inspired by the Barbican’s international arts programme, a curated mix of podcasts, playlists, films, videos, talks and articles enables audiences to continue to enjoy the Centre’s rich and varied programme.


Highlights of new digital content announced today include:  

  • The launch of a new album of original music created and recorded by young people as part of the Barbican’s flagship schools programme Barbican Box
  • The fourth and final episode of the Nothing Concrete podcast series The Art of Change with Stephen Fry on music, art, isolation, mental health and the healing power of art
  • BBC FOUR to broadcast Ballet Black: The Waiting Game on Wednesday 27 May at 7.30pm, a programme which follows choreographer Mthuthuzeli November as he creates a new ballet, co-commissioned by the Barbican
  • Grace Banks: The Other Half – an audio recording of a talk which was part of the public programme for 2018 exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde – will be released on Mixcloud
  • A mix of ‘Coming of Age’ films curated by the Barbican’s Young Programmers; a selection of Architecture on Film titles by Justin Jaeckle; and family favourites chosen by Barbican Cinema Curator Susie Evans to keep the over 8s entertained during lockdown
  • #ThrowbackThursday continues with a focus on Le Corbusier: The Art of Architecture (2009), a major survey of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century

All digital content is available for everyone to read, watch and listen to for free at and via the Barbican’s social channels. In addition, podcasts can also be accessed by subscribing to the Nothing Concrete podcast via Acast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


New Digital Content – full details below


The Art of Change series continues on the Nothing Concrete podcast, featuring Stephen Fry

The final episode of The Art of Change with Stephen Fry – a series on the Barbican’s Nothing Concrete podcast – is live on Wednesday 27 May. In this concluding episode, Stephen Fry and journalist Chris Gunness discuss how Fry approaches social justice, advocacy, and how art can have the power to change society. All four episodes, spanning topics from Beethoven and art’s healing qualities to mental health and gay rights, will be available on the Barbican’s Read, Watch & Listen page or wherever you get your podcasts. Episodes 1-3 are available now.


Barbican launches music album

On Friday 29 May, the Barbican’s flagship schools programme Barbican Box will be launching a new music album on Mixcloud, featuring original music created and recorded by young people aged 14-16 years about their experiences growing up in east London. The launch of the music album will also be accompanied by an illustrated interview with music producer Semothy Jones, as well as a short montage film showing behind the scenes of the recording process.

Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning worked with over 100 young people from seven schools in east London, each receiving a box, curated by artists Hunt & Darton and filled with the ingredients and tools to learn about lyric writing and instrumental composition. The students explored the Box alongside their teachers and Artist Mentors: artist Bellatrix and composer Omar Shahryar. They created their own original tracks in a live recording studio with the help of Semothy Jones who has worked with the likes of Lily Allen, Professor Green, Wretch 32, Plan B and Boy Better Know. The seven songs on the album cover different music genres and take inspiration from the young people’s tastes including Jazz, Gospel, Experimental, Pop and Rap.

While the Barbican is temporarily closed the Barbican Box project has continued, providing the students involved in the programme with online sessions with Semothy Jones and Bellatrix so they can continue to learn more about the process of producing a music album.

Moog competition winner announced on International Synthesizer Day

23 May marks International Synthesizer Day, which falls on Moog Music founder Robert Moog’s birthday. The Barbican will announce the winner of our Moog competition on 23 May, which ran until 28 April and saw the Barbican partnering with Moog Music, inviting participants to download the Minimoog Model D app and create a track inspired by their favourite synth. The tracks will be uploaded to the Barbican’s Mixcloud page on the day the winner is announced.



Curators’ Picks and a post-screening talk at Birds Eye View’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always Special Event (USA 2020, Dir Eliza Hittman)

This week’s Curators’ Picks comes from the Barbican Young Programmers, the Architecture on Film programmer Justin Jaeckle, and Susie Evans, who curates films for the Barbican’s popular Family Film Club and the Family Film Weekender. All titles are available on mainstream viewing platforms (some charges may apply).

Barbican Cinema New Release Curator Sonia Zadurian will take part in a Birds Eye View (BEV) special screening of the highly anticipated Never Rarely Sometimes Always (USA 2020, Dir Eliza Hittman); preceding this is a Q&A with BEV Director Mia Bays and the film’s producers Adele Romanski and Sara Murphy. (This takes place at 7pm on Wednesday 27 May, to view please go to:

The Barbican Young Programmers (aged between 16-25) who curate the Chronic Youth Film Festival, present an exciting series of ‘coming of age’ films, championing films from an all all-female director shortlist, including gems such as: Water Lilies (France 2007, Dir Céline Sciamma), Persepolis (France/ Iran 2007, Dir Marjane Satrapi), Mustang (Germany/ Turkey 2015, Dir Deniz Gamze Ergüven), Beach Rats (USA 2017, Dir Eliza Hittman) and Atlantics (France/ Senegal 2019, Dir Mati Diop). This content goes live Friday 22 May.

Film Curator and writer Justin Jaeckle for the Architecture Foundation
celebrates Architecture on Film, a popular strand in the Barbican Cinema programme that explores how architecture and the city are represented in film. Justin’s selection (available from Tuesday 26 May) includes: Dark Days (US 2000 Dir Marc Singer 94 min), about an underground community living in the tunnels beneath NYC, Code 46 (UK 2003), Michael Winterbottom’s love story set in a world of locked down ‘megacities’; and Koolhaas House Life (France 2008 Dir. Ila Bêka), a behind the-scenes tour of Rem Koolhaas’ design icon, Maison à Bordeaux, through the eyes of its cleaner.

For those juggling with keeping children entertained at home, Barbican Cinema curator Susie Evans recommends the best films for children aged 8 years plus; these include: Danny the Champion of the World  (UK 1989, Dir Gavin Millar) (U), the faithful adaptation of the much loved Roald Dahl story, Spirited Away (Japan 2001) (PG) a good way to introduce your children to animé through Hayao Miyazaki’s fantastic visuals, and Ron Howard’s Willow (USA 1988) (PG), an exciting adventure in which a young farmer is chosen to undertake a perilous journey. This content will be available from Saturday 30 May.

The Barbican’s Creative Learning team also offer the regular Family Film Club Workshops online now. These workshops are designed by guest artists specifically to do at home.

This month we’re releasing a James and the Giant Peach Workshop (going live Saturday 30 May) which is inspired by the much-loved children’s book, and which will show viewers how to make their own animation with a ‘how-to video’ by the artist Shelly Wain.

All Barbican cinema content is available here.


Theatre and Dance

Ballet Black: The Waiting Game available to watch

On Wednesday 27 May at 7.30pm BBC FOUR broadcasts Ballet Black: The Waiting Game. The film features interviews with the company’s artistic director Cassa Pancho and follows South African dancer and choreographer Mthuthuzeli November as he creates a new ballet, The Waiting Game. After the broadcast, the programme is available on BBC iPlayer for one month.

The Waiting Game was originally co-commissioned by the Barbican. It was scheduled to receive its world premiere in the Theatre in March 2020 as part of a double bill with William Tuckett’s newest work, Then Or Now. A special edition podcast featuring the score for Then Or Now with poems by Adrienne Rich, voices including Natasha Gordon and violin played by Daniel Pioro was released last week by The Poetry Exchange. The Barbican is working on plans to reschedule the double bill in the future. November’s first full-length choreographic debut for Ballet Black, Ingoma (2019), was co-commissioned by and premiered at the Barbican, receiving an Olivier Award nomination this year for Best New Dance.

The Encounter available to stream

Complicité’s award-winning production of The Encounter (2015), directed and performed by Simon McBurney, which was co-produced with and filmed at the Barbican, is now available to stream here until Monday 25 May at 10pm, its availability having been extended due to demand.

Visual Arts

From the archive

On Tuesday 26 May, the Barbican releases an audio recording of Grace Banks: The Other Half on Mixcloud. Part of the public programme for 2018 exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde, editor and writer Grace Banks explores the women artists ahead of their time – including Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf and Barbara Hepworth.

Every Thursday the Barbican Instagram channel @barbicancentre delves  into the archives to look at some of the standout exhibitions of the last 15 years. This week focuses on Le Corbusier: The Art of Architecture (2009), a major survey of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century whose radical ideas for reinventing modern living still resonate today. #ThrowbackThursday


Other digital content now available

The Barbican has just been announced as one of the partners supporting Our City Together, a new collaborative campaign and online platform showcasing inspiring art, culture and London history from cultural organisations and attractions in the City of London. Launching during Mental Health Awareness Week (18 - 24 May 2020), the free programme will feature an exciting mix of archive and contemporary digital content that supports mental health and well-being, including podcasts, playlists, artworks, photography, films, talks and museum collections.

Also, Culture Mile, the City of London’s cultural district stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate will go hyper-local during the lockdown with Radio Local – a daily live broadcast, bringing the sounds and stories of the City into people’s homes. Radio Local, created by performance artists Hunt & Darton, will be an hour-long show streamed live every day from 1 – 2pm, Saturday 30 May – Friday 12 June on Radio Local and on community radio East London Radio. It will be built with, by and for residents of Golden Lane and Barbican estates in the City of London. The Barbican is a core partner in Culture Mile, alongside Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, and led by the City of London Corporation.


Previously announced digital highlights include:

  • Various playlists are available on the Barbican’s Read, Watch & Listen page - from a tribute to the late drummer Tony Allen, to Music for Healing and Head Space, to introductions to the works of some of the greatest composers
  • Two short films commissioned for the cancelled The Lark Ascending: People, Music, Landscape concert
  • How Do We Build a New Masculinity?, a BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking panel discussion prompted by the Barbican exhibition Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, is available on the BBC website. The conversation features exhibition curator Alona Pardo, photographer Sunil Gupta, authors CN Lester and Tom Shakespeare and host Matthew Sweet
  • Michael Clark Company’s Olivier Award-nominated to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll . . . song. (2016), filmed at the Barbican in 2017 is still available on BBC iPlayer for another month


The Barbican is temporarily closed until further notice due to UK Government advice on Coronavirus/Covid-19. All events taking place until Tuesday 30 June 2020 have now been cancelled or postponed. Everyone who has booked a ticket for a Barbican event during this period is eligible for a full refund. Information on how to claim this is published here. Anyone who has tickets up until the end of June has been contacted by the Box Office.

The Barbican is encouraging audiences to make a donation so it can keep investing in the artists and organisations with whom it works. Audiences are also being asked to consider donating to the Centre’s Resident and Associate companies to support them through these difficult times.