Press room

Barbican July 2018 highlights

Afro-Cuban All Stars playing music all dressed in white suits

Barbican July highlights

  • Barry Humphries and cabaret diva Meow Meow are accompanied onstage by London’s Aurora Orchestra in a risqué and seductive tribute to the jazz-infused music of the Weimar Republic.
  • Juan de Marcos González leads the Afro-Cuban All Stars in a rare UK appearance at the Barbican on 15 July 2018.
  • Two Canadian creative powerhouses, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and The Holy Body Tattoo, bring their music and dance performance monumental to London for the first time.
  • The feminist horror film collective, The Final Girls, present a season of films with convention-defying women at the centre.
  • The first UK survey of American documentary photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) and first major UK solo exhibition of British contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship continue in the Barbican Art Gallery.


Beatles Yellow Submarine: 50th Anniversary Screening
Sun 8 Jul 2018, Cinema 2, 6pm

The Beatles’ legendary animated hit film Yellow Submarine is returning to cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 8 July 2018.

The Final Girls present: Unholy Women
Tue 3–Tue 17 Jul 2018, Cinemas 1 & 3

The feminist horror film collective present a season of films with convention-defying women at the centre. Confined, either physically or emotionally, they challenge established notions of femininity, control and hysteria.

New Releases
Barbican Cinema is delighted to showcase a slate of new films in July, including: the hotly awaited Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, a sequel to the smash hit musical, Whitney by Kevin Macdonald, Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield, Tracking Edith by Peter Stephan Jungk, and Mary Shelley from Haifaa Al-Mansour (director of the award winning hit Wadjda).


Oneohtrix Point Never: MYRIAD
Sat 7 Jul 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Musician, composer and Mercury Prize nominated-producer Oneohtrix Point Never presents MYRIAD, a ‘concertscape’ featuring his first full live touring ensemble. Examining disorienting forms at the intersection of theatre, installation art and musical performance, and imagined from the perspective of an alien intelligence, MYRIAD is informed by Oneohtrix Point Never’s site-specific commissions of recent years including MOMA (2011), and Edinburgh International Festival (2015).

MYRIAD explores film and television tropes, abstract sculpture, game ephemera, poetry, apocryphic histories, internet esoterica, and philosophies of being; it looks both towards the possibilities of the future whilst considering the conflict between today’s civilisation and the environment.

Yasuaki Shimizu + Carl Stone
Sun 8 Jul 2018, LSO St Luke’s, 7.30pm 

In the wake of his two enthusiastically received re-issued albums in 2017 (Music For Commercials, Crammed Discs and Kakashi, Palto Flats/WRWTFWW), composer, producer and performer Yasuaki Shimizu comes to the UK live stage in a Barbican-produced performance at LSO St Luke’s on 8 July 2018. Joined by sound artist Ray Kunimoto, his retrospective/forward-looking set will feature saxophone, electronics and piano projected through four-channel surround sound. A successful solo artist, founder of experimental Japanese rock group Mariah, and creator of an array of film, TV and multimedia-installation projects, Shimizu’s output also includes acclaimed interpretations of J.S. Bach.

A supporting set comes from live computer music pioneer Carl Stone, presenting material from his forthcoming album on Unseen Worlds.

Naseer Shamma Quartet - Spirits
Wed 11 Jul 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm 

One of the world’s pre-eminent oud players and composers, Naseer Shamma brings his quartet to the Barbican in a performance titled Spirits. Combining the sounds and musical heritage of Persia, South Asia, Pakistan and Europe, Spirits features oud, guitar, sitar and tabla.

Naseer’s lifelong dedication to the oud has seen both him rise to international distinction: he has been named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. For his quartet, Naseer has recruited Shahbaz Hussain, a tabla virtuoso, and Ashraf Sharif Khan, the third son of the sitar master Ustad Muhammad Sharif Khan Poonchwala. Completing the quartet is Spanish guitarist Carlos Piñana, whose family surname has become synonymous with the great flamenco tradition.

monumental: Godspeed! You Black Emperor & The Holy Body Tattoo
Fri 13 & Sat 14 Jul 2018, Barbican Hall, 9pm (Fri), 8pm (Sat)

Two Canadian creative powerhouses, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and The Holy Body Tattoo, bring their music and dance performance monumental to London for the first time. This work marries the apocalyptic post-rock soundscapes of Godspeed! with the similarly impassioned and ferocious stylings of contemporary choreographers Dana Gingras & Noam Gagnon.

In monumental Godspeed!’s eight members play from the shadows of the stage, surrounding nine dancers atop plinths. The project explores themes of anxiety and urban culture, of human connection, the need for intimacy, and fragility, from within the context of modern day cities. The show features lighting design by Marc Parent, video by director William Morrison and text from conceptual artist Jenny Holzer.

Afro-Cuban All Stars
Sun 15 Jul 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Juan de Marcos González leads the Afro-Cuban All Stars in a rare UK appearance at the Barbican on 15 July 2018. Mainstays of the Havana music scene will be joined by the next generations of Cuban music with the concert’s line-up featuring Gliceria Abreu (percussion), Gliceria Gonzalez (keyboards, vibraphone, coros), Laura Lydia Gonzalez (clarinet, coros), Orlando Fraga, Yoanny Pino and Haile Uriarte (horns), Jose Marcos Crego (piano), Jiovanni Cofiño (bass), Asley Rossell (bongo, cowbell), Tany Allende (conga set), Caleb Michel (timbales, coros) and Emilio Suárez (vocals). Reflecting the cross-generational nature of the ensemble, Afro-Cuban All Stars will perform material both old and new for this concert, but all in the vibrant fashion for which they are famed.

Keaton Henson: Six Lethargies 
Fri 20 Jul 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

Keaton Henson’s new piece Six Lethargies – a multisensory experience exploring themes of trauma, mental illness and empathy, and how art conveys emotion – receives its world premiere this summer at the Barbican.

Six Lethargies is the culmination of over 3 years of work from the musician, artist and composer. The piece expresses and explains the feelings of anxiety and depression through six connected movements for string orchestra, performed by Britten Sinfonia

A portion of the audience will contribute to the performance via bio-metrics. Keaton Henson, as well as working with neuroscientists to develop the evening, has collaborated with 'thrill engineer' prof. Brendan Walker, to monitor the audience and allow their emotional state to control the ambience of the show in real time.

DJ Spoony presents Garage Classical with the Ignition Orchestra
Sat 21 Jul, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

DJ Spoony, one of the original and most respected pioneers of the UK Garage scene, has joined forces with the 36-piece Ignition Orchestra to present a night of the biggest UK Garage hits. Alongside composer and conductor Katie Chatburn, Spoony has put together 20 of the most iconic Garage anthems, stripped back and performed live with the original vocalists.

Classic hits including Do You Really Like It?, Please Don’t Turn Me On, The Things We Do For Love, Call It Fate, Sincere, Crazy Love and many more will feature in the concert; memorable records that have kept the genre a mainstay in the UK Underground and mainstream music scene for the past 25 years.

Also in July, LSO St Luke’s hosts the final two concerts in the ECHO Rising Stars 2017-18 season: on Friday 6 July, violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian performs a selection of works by composers including JS Bach, Bartók, Ysaÿe, and a new commission by Christoph Ehrenfellner. On Friday 20 July celebrated soprano Nora Fischer will perform a new work by Morris Kliphuis, commissioned specially for the ECHO series, as well as works by Ravel, Poulenc, Bernstein and Messiaen.


Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret
Wed 11–Sun 29 Jul 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thu 12 Jul 2018, 7.45pm

Barry Humphries is the masterfully seasoned emcee, and cabaret diva Meow Meow the chanteuse, accompanied onstage by London’s Aurora Orchestra, in this risqué and seductive tribute to the jazz-infused music of the Weimar Republic.

Described as cabaret’s golden age this was a remarkable period in the 1920s and 30s when hedonism and social revolution turned Berlin nightclubs into hotbeds of decadence. Reawakening that spirit, Weimar Cabaret acquaints audiences with the composers of the time, many Jewish, whose art would soon be condemned as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis.

Best known as Dame Edna Everage, Humphries shares his passion for a period that has long fascinated him, with songs and instrumentals including Kurt Weill, among others.

Weimar Cabaret is performed in German and English.

Andersson Dance/Scottish Ensemble – Goldberg Variations - ternary patterns for insomnia
Thu 5–Sat 7 Jul 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thu 5 Jul 2018, 7.45pm

Stockholm-based Andersson Dance and classical musicians Scottish Ensemble revel in the joy, complexity, lyricism and depth of this reawakened timeless masterpiece.

Eleven members of the internationally renowned string orchestra collaborate with five contemporary dance artists to collectively reveal moments of tenderness, expressiveness, vulnerability and life-affirming humanity from Bach’s abstractly beautiful Goldberg Variations.

This show of contrasts – slow and fast, uplifting and reflective, extroverted and introverted movement – mirrors the light and mournful moods of the unfolding variations. As the dancers lose themselves in Örjan Andersson’s astute choreography so too do the musicians, temporarily setting aside their instruments in this playful yet profound interpretation. Genuine alchemy abounds as the two companies perform seamlessly as one.


Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing
Fri 22 Jun–Sun 2 Sep 2018, Barbican Art Gallery
Media View: Thu 21 Jun, 10am–1pm

This summer, Barbican Art Gallery stages the first ever UK survey of one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, the American documentary photographer Dorothea Lange (18951965). A formidable woman of unparalleled vigour and resilience, the exhibition charts Lange’s outstanding photographic vision from her early studio portraits of San Francisco’s bourgeoisie to her celebrated Farm Security Administration work (19351939) that captured the devastating impact of the Great Depression on the American population. The show features the iconic Migrant Mother as well as rarely seen photographs of the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War and several post-war series documenting the changing face of the social and physical landscape of 1950s America.

For full press release and images please visit:

Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds
Fri 22 Jun–Sun 2 Sep 2018, Barbican Art Gallery
Media View: Thursday 21 Jun, 10am–1pm 

Opening 22 June 2018, Barbican Art Gallery is proud to present the first major UK solo exhibition of British contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship. The recipient of the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson prize in 2011, Winship’s poetic gaze explores the fragile nature of our landscape and society, how memory leaves its mark on our collective and individual histories. Winship’s oeuvre captures the ‘transition between myth and the individual’, revealing deeply intimate photographs that often appear to avoid specific contexts or any immediate political significance. The exhibition brings together an outstanding selection of more than 150 photographs, many never been seen before in the UK.

For full press release and images please visit:

Magnum Photos Now: Bruce Gilden with Emma Chetcuti
Tue 10 Jul 2018, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

America photographer Bruce Gilden is known for his dynamic street photography and his unflinching close portraiture. In this event Emma Chetcuti, Director at Multistory, joins Bruce Gilden in conversation to discuss his distinct photographic approach.


Troika – Borrowed Light
5 Jun 2018–May 2019

Borrowed Light is a suspended mechanised structure that moves a 20m-long scroll of photographic film, thereby resembling an artificial infinite loop of sunset and sunrise. The installation was formally inspired by moving panoramas and the potential these offered to blur the boundaries between experience and physical spheres, natural and man-made spaces.

Borrowed Light is a site-specific installation commissioned by the Barbican Art Gallery to activate the unique architectural features of the Lightwell at the centre of the Barbican’s public spaces.

Rachel Ara feat.  Kay Le Seelleur Ara – American Beauty (a Trump L'oeil)
Thu 24 May–Sun 14 Oct 2018

American Beauty (a Trump L'oeil) uses film, poetry, humour and CGI to create an incongruous image that references film history, utopian architecture and contemporary politics. The iconic brutalist architecture of the Barbican becomes a glitch, a window through which we might catch a glimpse into our future.

Visitors watch as an orange hairpiece dances in the wind in perpetuity around the Barbican Estate, echoing the iconic scene from Sam Mendes’s American Beauty. The title itself a play on the phrase Trompe L’oeil - [Deceives the Eye].

Rachel Ara is a conceptual artist whose cross-disciplinary practice is non-conformist with a socio-political edge, often incorporating humour and technology with feminist concerns. A 2016 Lumen Prize Finalist, this year Ara was recently selected for the London Open at the Whitechapel Gallery, and is currently artist-in-residence at the V&A.

This work was selected from a shortlist of winners and finalists from The Lumen Prize for Digital Art in collaboration with the Barbican Centre’s Level G programme. The Lumen Prize, a UK-based not-for-profit, runs a juried competition and events globally aimed at celebrating the very best art created with technology. Last year, Zarah Hussain’s Numina, which also formed part of the Barbican’s Level G programme, won The Lumen Prize People’s Choice Award - determined by a public vote of the Lumen Long List.

American Beauty (a Trump L'oeil) is part of the Barbican’s 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

CGI and animation by AVR London.

Projections by Christie.

The Hull of a Large Ship
Fri 18 May–Nov 2018

On 12 December 1968 Chamberlin Powell & Bon (CP&B) submitted a report to the Court of Common Council of the Corporation of the City of London including detailed drawings and a written proposal for the Barbican Arts Centre. This was the last phase of a complex redevelopment that had grown in scope and size since its original conception in the 1950s and was already under construction and partly inhabited by the end of 1960s. To fit the final piece in the restricted site, the architects and engineers resorted to an inventive solution: excavate the site twenty metres below ground level and place the majority of the Centre below the elevated walkways or ‘podium’ level. The architects compared the Arts Centre to ‘the hull of a large ship in which much is contained below the water.’

The sixth of the Barbican Display series exhibits unpublished original CP&B drawings selected by five contemporary European architects: 6a, Office KGDVS, Carmody Groarke, Casper Mueller Kneer and Witherford Watson Mann, who were given the task of proposing a critical intervention on the different spaces, reflecting on the drawing as an unfinished structure that could be adapted to the changing demands of an international Arts Centre. The original drawings will be displayed side by side with the architect’s proposal.

The History of the Arts Centre doesn’t map itself neatly. Its development, from the first concept of a small cultural centre within the City of London in the early 1950s, to its eventual opening in 1982, was fraught with difficulties and changes continued to be made to the plans throughout the construction period. The Hull of a Large Ship includes key Barbican reports and Journal publications describing the cultural centres that were built all over Europe and the US which were visited in a trip organised by the architects and a delegation of the Barbican Committee in 1958.

The exhibition is curated and designed by Daniela Puga.