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Barbican announces new digital content including Cinema Curator's picks to celebrate Pride

still from pride

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:

  • Barbican Cinema Curator Alex Davidson picks five films showing queer protest at its best for Pride
  • A full video recording of Tunnel Visions: Array – the 2018 Barbican and Culture Mile installation in Beech Street Tunnel, featuring music by Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
  • An invitation to participate in Boy Blue’s #30byThursday challenge, inspired by music and dance recorded and choreographed in lockdown
  • Transpose: The Future curated by CN Lester – a powerful, captivating and affecting celebration of trans identity staged at the Barbican in 2018, available to watch online
  • Rhiannon Faith Company launches DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN, a new online prologue to the stage production of DROWNTOWN, available via the company’s and the Barbican’s Facebook pages
  • Audio of In Conversation: Ragnar Kjartansson available on Mixcloud recorded at the time of his 2016 exhibition in the Art Gallery
  • The Barbican Shop resumes taking new orders online, with items specially selected by the shop team, chosen to reflect the current situation

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


Barbican Cinema Curator Alex Davidson picks five films showing queer protest at its best for Pride

In the week when London Pride would normally take place (the Parade now cancelled due to Covid-19), and the cinema programme would usually be celebrating queer cinema from around the world, Barbican Cinema Curator Alex Davidson has selected five films, all available to view online, showing queer protest at its very best.

The fight for queer rights is as urgent as ever and film continues to be a vital medium through which to document the LGBTQ+ protests of the past, and push for greater rights in the present. The Black Lives Matter protests have united people against systematic racism, inspiring further rallies campaigning for the rights of black transgender people.

Greta Schiller and Robert Rosenberg’s documentary Before Stonewall (USA 1984) tells the history of queer resistance from the 1920s to the 1969 riots, with insights from Audre Lorde, Allen Ginsberg and more (available on Peccadillo Player).

The struggle for gay rights in 1980s England is deftly portrayed in Pride (UK/ France 2014, Dir Matthew Warchus) (BFI Player), a moving culture-clash comedy about the gay activists who joined the 1984 miners’ strike in solidarity, and blends humour and the power of protest.

In Breaking Free (India 2015, Dir Sridhar Rangayan) (Netflix), queer activists across India rally against Section 377, a law introduced during the colonial era criminalising same-sex activity. The urgency of protest is also central to 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) (France 2018, Dir Robin Campillo) (Curzon Home Cinema), which pulses with the thrill of dissent and passion, as Parisian activists combat political inaction towards the AIDS crisis.

The documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (USA 2017, Dir David France) (Netflix), pays tribute to the black trans-woman who played a key role in the Stonewall riots and explores the suspicious circumstances surrounding her untimely death.

These Curators’ Picks are available to on Read, Watch & Listen from Fri 26 Jun.
Please note that some platforms incur a rental charge for certain titles.


Tunnel Visions: Array

From Friday 3 July, a full video recording of Tunnel Visions: Array will be available on the Barbican’s Read, Watch & Listen page. Array was an audio-visual installation by the Barbican and Culture Mile (the City of London’s cultural district stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate) in Beech Street tunnel, which was part of OpenFest in 2018. The Beech Street tunnel was closed to traffic and turned into a huge blank canvas for digital projections that transformed the area into a stunning visual realisation of Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Karawane. The music is recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the installation was created by the Tony Award-winning 59 Productions. A Barbican Meets article with Esa-Pekka Salonen from our archive is also available to read on the Barbican’s website.

Beethoven’s symphonies video series with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th year, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) have produced a series of videos about Beethoven’s nine symphonies. The videos take an in-depth look at each symphony with the ORR and their founder and conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner exploring each in turn. This week’s video will be an examination of the seventh symphony in Symphony No 7: Dithyrambic Abandon which will be available on the orchestra’s YouTube channel from 5pm on Friday 26 June. Videos for Symphonies Nos 1-6 can also be found there, with the final two to follow over the coming weeks. The videos were originally intended to sit alongside the orchestra’s full Beethoven symphony cycle which was due to take place at the Barbican in May this year.

Serious Livestream Sessions

Barbican Associate Producer, Serious, are hosting the Serious Livestream Sessions on their Facebook and YouTube pages; from album launches to live event replacements and beyond. Sessions have included Abel SelaocoeRob Luft and Elina Duni, Stubbleman, Teddy Thompson, Lisa O’Neill and Julia Biel. Previous sessions are still available to watch, and the next new live Session featuring Justin Adams with special guest Mauro Durante will stream at 8.30pm on Thursday 9 July.

Theatre and Dance

CN Lester - Transpose: The Future

Available on YouTube and on Read, Watch & Listen from Friday 26 June at 7pm is CN Lester’s - Transpose: The Future, recorded in 2018 from The Pit, Barbican. A new interview with CN about the production is also published to coincide with the streaming.

A spirit of hopefulness characterises this third edition of Transpose performed at the Barbican, as trans voices look to the future.

This powerful, captivating and affecting celebration of trans identity features Danielle Braithwaite-Shirley, Nicholas Bonadies, Robin Gurney, Jamie Hale, Holden Madagame and Rebekah Ubuntu – talented performers from the trans community. Through opera, poetry, dance and electronica this show considers what gender, identity and individuality might look like tomorrow.

Curated by CN Lester and directed by Kate O’Donnell, two of the trans community’s leading lights and multi-talented performers, it’s a space in which, in the words of CN, ‘we can show you our vulnerabilities, our strengths, and – most of all – our authenticity.

Boy Blue: #30byThursday

During lockdown, Boy Blue Co-Artistic Director Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante challenged himself to create 30 new tracks in only four days, sampling 30 different songs to create new beats.

Using this new musical material, Asante and fellow Boy Blue Co-Artistic Director Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy commissioned eight Boy Blue dancers to create choreography to one of these tracks. During the last two weeks of May, the company, an Artistic Associate at the Barbican, shared a dance a day online. Buoyed by its popularity on social media, Boy Blue has been showcasing pieces from others who have also been inspired by Asante’s #30byThursday music challenge.

Now the company is encouraging anyone to film themselves dancing to their favourite #30byThursday track and post the video on Instagram Stories using @boyblueent and #30byThursday.

Rhiannon Faith Company – DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN

On Thursday 9 July at 8pm Rhiannon Faith Company launches DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN, a new 15-minute film available via the company’s and the Barbican’s Facebook pages.

DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN is a new online prologue to the stage production of DROWNTOWN which was scheduled to be performed in June and July in The Pit, Barbican. Instead of going to the theatre, audiences now virtually meet the play’s characters in their own homes before they leave for the beach depicted in DROWNTOWN. Loneliness, involuntary isolation and the difficulty of leaving the house are all sensitively explored in this poignant, specially created complementary show.

The launch screening of DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN is followed by a trailer for the stage show and a Q&A discussion with Rhiannon Faith, the film’s director Adam Sheldon and cast members. DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN will then be available to watch at and on the Barbican’s Read, Watch & Listen page.

DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN also includes a series of creative task video workshops available to the public. Entitled #VIRUSVULNERABILITIES, they will guide and support people to make their own digital contributions around the themes of the show.

Visual Arts

On Tuesday 30 June, the Barbican releases an audio recording of In Conversation: Ragnar Kjartansson on Mixcloud, based on the 2016 exhibition of the acclaimed Icelandic artist. As part of this In Conversation, the exhibition curator Leila Hasham joined Ragnar Kjartansson to talk art, film and the multi-sensory experiences of this major UK retrospective.

Every Thursday the Barbican Instagram channel @barbicancentre delves into the archives to look at some of the standout exhibitions of the last 15 years. On Thursday 2 July the focus is on Ragnar Kjartansson (2016), a survey of the work of the internationally acclaimed Icelandic artist through live performance, music, film, painting, sculpture and drawing. #ThrowbackThursday

Barbican Shop resumes taking online orders again

Barbican Shop has resumed taking online orders again. The shop offers a range of design-led gifts, inspired by the Centre’s artistic events and iconic architecture. All purchases made through the online shop also support the arts and learning activities of the Barbican.

Reflecting the current situation, the Barbican Shop team have picked out a selection of items for the online shop to help with working from home, to provide entertainment for children and families, and to guide mental wellbeing.

For working at home: Daily Planner, £34.00
For wellbeing: Emotional First Aid Kit, £16.00
For wellbeing: Resilience Cards, £15.00
For children: My Modern House, £9.99
For children: Stampville, £19.99

The Barbican Shop can be found online at

Creative Learning

The London Careers Festival is a free virtual skills and career exploration event for young people, taking place from 29 June to 3 July. The Festival aims to connect pupils to the world of work online, with a programme of events for Primary, Secondary and Post-16 age groups.

As part of the London Careers Festival, the Barbican will be leading a live panel discussion on Monday 29 June from 12-1pm focusing on careers in the arts. A selection of staff members from across the organisation will discuss their roles, how they got there, and what skills might be required for those looking to pursue a similar career. Targeted at Post-16, there will also be the opportunity for Q&A.

The panel members are Chloe Austin, former Curatorial Trainee (Art Gallery), Simon Bourne, Head of Production (Theatre), Therese Ramstedt, Production Coordinator (Music), Sonia Zadurian, Curator (Cinema), chaired by Yasmin Hemmings, Schools Engagement Manager (Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning).

Bookings can be made via the London Careers Festival by teachers and school staff, and a full list of events taking place as part of the Festival can be found here. For further information visit

Culture Mile Play Packs

Culture Mile, the City of London’s cultural district stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate, has created a series of Play Packs for young people and their families at home in lockdown.

Over 5,000 packs will be distributed to foodbanks and community centres across the City of London and neighbouring boroughs this summer to provide materials to families who may not have online access or play resources. They are also available for anyone to download from

The colourful activity bundles, designed by Dan Cottrell Studio, include a range of activities from Culture Mile’s core partners – Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London – as well as from the City Family Arts Network, Culture Mile Learning, and from its wider artist network.

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:

  • The availability of Michael Clark Company’s Olivier Award-nominated to a simple, rock ‘n’ roll . . . song. (2016), filmed at the Barbican in 2017, has now been extended on BBC iPlayer for a further two months.
  • Following the recent broadcast of Ballet Black: The Waiting Game on BBC Four, the programme is now available on BBC iPlayer for a further eleven months. Featuring interviews with the company’s founder and artistic director Cassa Pancho, it follows South African dancer and choreographer Mthuthuzeli November as he creates The Waiting Game, an exciting and energetic new ballet about the meaning of life, infused with a dynamic soundtrack featuring the dancers' voices. The ballet, originally co-commissioned by the Barbican, 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. The Barbican is working on plans to reschedule the double bill in the future.
  • From the Archive: Jeff Millsthis episode of our Nothing Concrete podcast looks back at two interviews with DJ and producer Jeff Mills, exploring time and space through ambitious techno and orchestral experimentation.

Barbican Temporary Closure Information:

The Barbican is temporarily closed until further notice due to UK Government advice on Coronavirus/Covid-19. Everyone who has booked a ticket for a cancelled or postponed Barbican event is eligible for a full refund. Information on how to claim this is published here.

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.