Press room

Barbican June 2018 highlights

Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother

Barbican June 2018 highlights

  • The first UK survey of American documentary photographer Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) and first major UK solo exhibition of British contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship open in Barbican Art Gallery.
  • Taylor Mac reframes the social history of America through three decades of song in this no-holds-barred extravaganza of music, art, activism and entertaining mass ritual in Barbican Theatre.
  • A Night with Boy Blue sees more than a hundred performers present an empowering showcase in Barbican Theatre.
  • A rare opportunity to hear Wynton Marsalis in a small group setting, with Headspace Quartet opening the concert, in the Barbican Hall.
  • Designer/maker Phil Cuttance will be demonstrating the art of casting stone objects and vases using Jesmonite Stone in Barbican Shop.


Artists and Activists: Second Wave Feminist Filmmakers
Sat 2–Sun 3 Jun 2018

The Women’s Movement of the 1970s empowered more women to step behind the camera than ever before. Their pioneering work platformed voices, stories and issues previously ignored or misrepresented.

As part of the Art of Change season the Barbican is delighted to present Artists & Activists: Second Wave Feminists Filmmakers, curated by the Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television, showcasing ground-breaking American directors who made films outside the mainstream industry between 1970 and 1980.

Rarely seen in the UK, their films covered a range of topics – including career progression, motherhood, political activism and sexuality. At the time they were screened at conventions, colleges and in other alternative venues, and became an important tool for social change, allowing women for the first time the opportunity to tell their stories on film and thereby empower a new generation.

The Barbican is also delighted to welcome distinguished guests including Ann Deborah Levy, Sheila Rowbotham, Bonnie Greer, Charlotte Procter, Susie Orbach, Amalie R Rothschild, and Stefanie Palewski to the Barbican stage for introductions and post screening discussions. 

London Nights on Film
Absolute Beginners (15)
Wed 13 Jun, 6.15pm
UK 1986 Dir Julien Temple 108 mins

With racial tension brewing in Notting Hill, nineteen-year-old photographer Colin is hopelessly in love with model Crepe Suzette (Patsy Kensit), but her relationships are strictly connected with her progress in the fashion world. So Colin gets involved with a pop promoter and tries to crack the big time.

Starring Eddie O'Connell, David Bowie, James Fox and Mandy Rice-Davies.

The Phantom of the Opera (U) + live electronic music accompaniment
Silent Film and Live Music
Sun 17 Jun, 3pm

Lon Chaney plays the disfigured creature haunting the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, who becomes obsessed with a beautiful understudy, played by Mary Philbin.

An aspiring young opera singer Christine Daaé (Mary Philbin) discovers that she has a mysterious admirer intent on making her a star. Enticing her to his secret vault, he asks only one thing, that she never remove his mask. But soon, admiration turns to obsession, and her masked protector becomes her masked captor. When the Phantom (Lon Chaney) takes her prisoner, Christine’s suitor, the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny (Norman Kerry) sets out to rescue her. Chaney's hideous but complex and fascinating creation influenced a century of film-makers, from Hollywood to China.


Bavarian State Orchestra / Kirill Petrenko
Fri 1 Jun 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Following the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s appearance at the Barbican earlier in the season, a second celebrated orchestra from Munich comes to the Barbican in summer 2018: the Bavarian State Orchestra, orchestra of Munich’s renowned Bavarian State Opera. With a history going back over 350 years, the orchestra come to the Barbican for the first time, conducted by the opera’s Generalmusikdirektor Kirill Petrenko (also chief conductor designate of the Berliner Philharmoniker). They will perform Mahler’s Symphony no 7. Petrenko began his tenure in Munich in 2013 and has been gaining tremendous critical acclaim for the extraordinary virtuosity, precision, energy and emotion of his performances with the orchestra.

Tigran Hamasyan & Nils Petter Molvaer
Sat 2 Jun 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Tigran Hamasyan returns to London offering a blend of his own solo piano and choral works with the exciting addition of guest trumpeter, Nils Petter Molvaer. Hamasyan brings us an impassioned view of Armenia, his home, a nation steeped in a rich musical heritage. In this concert Armenian melodies will be interpreted by top British Choristers, accompanied by Nils’ avant-garde trumpet tones.

Tigran Hamasyan has recorded eight studio albums in his career to date, his first at only 18 years of age. He has received a number of significant accolades including 1st Prize Prix de la Critique et du Public, Concours de Piano du Montreux Jazz Festival 2003, and 1st Prize in 2006’s edition of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition.

Norwegian trumpeter, composer and record producer Nils Petter Molvaer is a pioneer of future jazz. His debut solo record Khmer (ECM 1997) was one of the first to blend jazz with elements of electronic music, as well as rock and hip hop.

Franco Fagioli sings Vivaldi & Handel
Mon 4 Jun 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

June 2018 sees a return visit from the illustrious Venice Baroque Orchestra, following a hugely acclaimed performance of Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans on the Barbican stage in November 2016. Here directed by Gianpiero Zanocco, the orchestra joins Argentinian counter-tenor Franco Fagioli, one of the leading singers of our time, renowned as much for his artistry as for the beauty of his voice and masterful technique. He will perform virtuosic arias by Vivaldi and Handel, while the ensemble enrich the programme with instrumental music from both composers and a rediscovered orchestral work from Florentine master Francesco Veracini.

Thomas Bartlett + Nico Muhly
Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music
Fri 8 Jun 2018, LSO St Luke’s, 8pm

The live iteration of a highly anticipated collaboration between Thomas Bartlett, also known as Doveman, and contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly features as part of the Barbican’s contemporary music programme in 2018. Bartlett and Muhly will perform their forthcoming record Peter Pears: Balinese Ceremonial Music (Nonesuch Records, spring 2018) in its entirety at LSO St Luke’s on Friday 8 July. Ten years in the making, this recording was born from a love of Colin McPhee’s (1900-1964) transcriptions of Balinese ceremonial music for two pianos. The dual pianos translate the complicated overlapping patterns of gamelan music into a stylised, Western approximation. McPhee lived, in 1940, with the composer Benjamin Britten, his partner Peter Pears, W.H. Auden and other artists.

McPhee and Britten recorded the suite in 1941, and while the recording’s audio quality is dated, it is evocative and points towards the music Britten wrote before his death in 1976. Bartlett and Muhly decided to write a set of nine songs loosely based on the textures and interlocking rhythms from McPhee’s transcriptions, as well as the various resonant sounds from Balinese music, but consolidated into their own stylised processes.

The project is named after Peter Pears, who, in addition to being Britten’s partner, was an observer and collaborator not just of Britten, but of a larger community of musicians, writers, and thinkers. 

Microdisney perform The Clock Comes Down the Stairs
Sat 9 Jun 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On 9 June 2018, Cork band Microdisney reconvene after some 30 years for a one-off exclusive UK performance of their seminal album, The Clock Comes Down The Stairs, plus more material from their back catalogue. This concert at the Barbican features the original line up of Cathal Coughlan (vocals), Sean O’Hagan (guitar), Jon Fell (bass) and Tom Fenner (drums).

Released on Rough Trade records in 1985 and reaching No 1 in the UK Indie Charts, The Clock Comes Down The Stairs is born of an insecure and troubled Irish emigrant experience of London in the 80s. Iconic Radio 1 DJ John Peel was amongst the band’s many fans, famously describing the group as “the iron fist in a velvet glove”.

Microdisney formed in 1980 in Cork, Ireland, where they recorded their first material including the single Pink Skinned Man, released on indie label Kabuki records (1983).

Bach Weekend with Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Fri 15–Sun 17 June 2018, various venues, 11am, 3pm, 7.30pm

To celebrate the 75th birthday of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Barbican has invited him to curate a Bach weekend on 15-17 June 2018, featuring his personal selection of works and performers. The weekend will incorporate highlights from the Bachfest Leipzig, where Gardiner is President. This includes a three-concert cycle of cantatas performed by the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, as well as featuring an outstanding line-up of artists in motets, violin sonatas, cello suites, and the Goldberg Variations.

Beginning the weekend’s events is a concert in the Barbican Hall on 15 June 2018 of cantatas written for the Advent period. On 16 June 2018 violinist Isabelle Faust and harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout perform a selection of Bach’s music in the intimate surroundings of LSO St Luke’s. The same day sees eminent baroque collective Solomon’s Knot perform sacred motets in St Giles’ Cripplegate, and an evening performance in the Barbican Hall of cantatas from the liturgical period between Easter and Ascension, once again with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists . On 17 June 2018, charismatic and energetic harpsichord player Jean Rondeau performs Bach’s Goldberg Variations at Milton Court. Also at Milton Court that afternoon will be a concert of Bach’s first three Cello Suites, performed by internationally celebrated French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras. Drawing the celebratory weekend to a close that evening in the Barbican Hall is a final performance from the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, of four cantatas written for the Trinity period. Sololists for the cantata concerts include sopranos Hana Blažíková and Julia Doyle, countertenor Reginald Mobley and bass-baritone Peter Harvey.

Wynton Marsalis Quartet + Headspace Quartet
Tue 19 Jun 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

A rare opportunity to hear Wynton Marsalis in a small group setting – a quartet led by his brother, drummer Jason Marsalis – where the depth and sonic range of Wynton’s sound can take centre stage, evoking memories of the great masters of the jazz trumpet whilst – in the true spirit of the music – resolutely remaining a powerful voice in his own right. Opening the concert is the Headspace Quartet, a group led by Wynton’s friend, Clarence Adoo, whose career as a virtuoso trumpeter was cut short by a life-changing car accident. A founder member of the British Paraorchestra, Clarence has become an active teacher and committed advocate for disabled issues. Determined to continue sharing his musical gifts, Clarence now plays the Headspace, a custom built breath-controlled electronic instrument which gives its name to the ensemble playing this concert’s opening set.

Wynton Marsalis, in his role as managing and artistic director of the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), recently completed a Barbican International Associate Ensemble residency.

In support of the Clarence Adoo Trust.

Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante: Outliers
Sat 30 Jun 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, co-founder of award-winning hip-hop dance company Boy Blue, musician, DJ and producer, brings a dynamic combination of music, dance and video to the Barbican this summer in the form of Outliers. This new work 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.

On stage Mikey will take the helm on electronics, accompanied by an ensemble of musicians and a number of special guest performers, all assembled to bring his compositions to life. Outliers will feature contributions from his long-time collaborator and fellow Boy Blue founder, choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE.

As Mikey reflects on his recent achievements – invitations to Buckingham Palace and Number 10 Downing Street, five star reviews and an Olivier Award nomination – he thinks back to his younger self, who never considered the thought of success, and only ever focused on creating what was true to himself. Outliers challenges this thinking and its blind spot to opportunities.

Also coming up in June is a recital from revered pianist Yuja Wang on 5 June, in which she demonstrates her virtuosic flair in a programme to include Chopin, Ligeti and Scriabin.. Les Arts Florissants return to the Barbican on 8 June, this time with members of Le Jardin des Voix Academy, under the direction of Paul Agnew, for a celebration of 18th century English song. On 16 June at LSO St Luke’s, performer and composer Laura Cannell showcases her new project [Modern Ritual], which features solo sets from acclaimed musicians Charles Hayward, Laura Cannell herself, and Hoofus (André Bosman), alongside new sound performance/talks from writer/researchers Jennifer Lucy Allan and Luke Turner, and a brand new collaboration between all of the artists and invited guests. German artist Alva Noto joins forces with Academy Award-wining Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakatomo for a special concert at the Barbican on 20 June, while one of the world's most respected pianists, Murray Perahia returns to the Barbican for a recital on 21 June.

LSO June highlights

Gianandrea’s Noseda’s Shostakovich Symphony cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra continues on 24 June with a performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No.10, in a concert which also features violin superstar Nicola Benedetti as soloist in Shostakovich's Violin Concerto. The whole concert is streamed live on, a leading online classical music channel, and the Symphony will be live streamed on the LSO’s YouTube channel ( This concert follows a major 3-week LSO tour to Thailand and China with Noseda, the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, ahead of which, on 3 June in the Barbican Hall, they perform Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnole, his arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3, with the soloist Yefim Bronfman


Boy Blue Entertainment – A Night with Boy Blue
Fri 1–Sat 2 Jun 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Fri 1 Jun 2018, 7.45pm
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A Night with Boy Blue sees more than a hundred performers present an empowering showcase. Pumping music and intricate choreographic formations of impressive precision build to create an infectious atmosphere.

Boy Blue’s founders Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante continue to inspire and mentor the next generation of dancers in the training room. Ground-breaking choreography, original compositions and incredible young artists highlight the calibre of talent emerging from the company that has been at the forefront of presenting hip-hop as an art form in its own right.

A Night with Boy Blue is followed by a BSI Jam: Beats, Streets & Inspiration after the Saturday night show where Asante and guests play their favourite tunes.

Rhiannon Faith – Smack That (a conversation)
Tue 12–Sat 16 Jun 2018, The Pit
Press night: Tue 12 Jun 2018, 7.45pm
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Endlessly inventive choreographer and theatre-maker Rhiannon Faith shines a light on the complex subject of domestic abuse in Smack That (a conversation), an empowering and participatory performance highlighting human resilience. Smack That (a conversation) 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.

Beverly is having a party and the audience are her guests. There are games, drinks, shared conversation, energetic dance and heart-breaking moments as she bravely gives a raw and honest account of surviving an abusive relationship.

Each member of the all-female cast, a close-knit group of non-performers and dance artists, fearlessly takes on the persona of Beverly to convey turbulent, real experiences. The unusual setting creates a safe space for them to reveal the challenges they have faced and celebrate their endurance. Faith’s work with a support group at charity Safer Places underpins this show, which seeks to raise social consciousness around domestic abuse by supporting women to talk about their experiences openly.

Smack That (a conversation) has been developed through the Barbican’s Open Lab programme, which supports the development of emerging artists, giving practitioners the chance to experiment in a working theatrical space. Smack That (a conversation) will be published by Oberon in June 2018 and during the month of November 2018 Rhiannon Faith and Oberon will waive the rights for groups to perform the work and fundraise for women’s groups, charities and refuges.

To coincide with the arrival of Smack That (a conversation) in London, the Barbican is becoming a J9 venue. This national initiative aims to provide safe and secure opportunities for people to disclose domestic abuse and access a full support system. J9 venues display pink J9 stickers in their windows, signalling to the public that it is safe to talk. Staff at each J9 contact point are trained to signpost, advise and spot the signs of domestic abuse. Each venue has a safe place where people can access information and use a phone to call for further help.

LIFT 2018
Back to Back Theatre – Lady Eats Apple
Thu 14–Sat 16 Jun 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Fri 15 Jun 2018, 7.45pm
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Lady Eats Apple is a tale of creation and destruction in which the epic and every day, mythic and mundane coexist. The audience enters an inflatable universe in which binaural sound design and visuals are used to ingenious effect.

Adam and Eve join an insecure God in a dark paradise, as He creates the world hoping for a little worship. But when temptation takes over, man and woman are expelled into a timeless landscape before this story of immense vulnerability, of tenderness and redemption, resumes in more familiar terrain.

One of the most exciting companies in contemporary theatre today, Australia’s Back to Back is driven by an ensemble of actors with perceived learning disabilities who are co-authors and performers of the work.

Lady Eats Apple is a large-scale, experiential production that exposes the fragility of existence while challenging the assumptions people hold about themselves and others.

Lady Eats Apple is part of LIFT 2018, a London-wide festival of international performance taking place throughout June and part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

The Wooster Group – The Town Hall Affair
Based on the film Town Bloody Hall by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker
Thu 21–Sun 24 Jun 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thu 21 Jun 2018, 7.45pm
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The Barbican presents the UK premiere of The Wooster Group’s The Town Hall Affair in the Theatre this June. The mixed-media piece from New York’s iconic theatre company channels a raucous debate on gender equality that still reverberates today. The Town Hall Affair 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.

In 1971, an audience of literary heavyweights gathered at Town Hall in New York for a discussion – A Dialogue on Women’s Liberation in which American novelist Norman Mailer moderated a panel including the prominent feminists Germaine Greer and Diana Trilling and the radical lesbian Jill Johnston. The occasion was documented in Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s 1979 film Town Bloody Hall.

The Town Hall Affair, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, features extended clips from the film, and revisits that explosive night by framing it from the point of view of Jill Johnston who disrupted the panel and wrote about the experience later in her book Lesbian Nation. Enver Chakartash, Ari Fliakos, Greg Mehrten, Erin Mullin, Scott Shepherd, Maura Tierney and Kate Valk play the real-life participants from the film onstage. The Town Hall Affair draws on experimental theatre techniques to delve into the revolutionary fervour of 1970s’ feminist thinking, and is a timely look at how the struggle for gender equality has evolved, nearly 50 years after the landmark debate.

Following the performance on Friday 22 June, there is a post-show talk with members of the company, chaired by host of The Guilty Feminist podcast, Deborah Frances-White.

The film, Town Bloody Hall, upon which The Town Hall Affair is based, is screened at the Barbican on Saturday 23 June at 4pm, to coincide with The Wooster Group's London performances.

LIFT 2018
Taylor Mac – A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act
Thu 28–Sat 30 Jun 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thu 28 Jun 2018, 7.30pm
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This June, the Barbican brings Taylor Mac’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act to the Theatre as part of LIFT 2018. Taylor Mac reframes the social history of America through three decades of song in this no-holds-barred extravaganza of music, art, activism and entertaining mass ritual. A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act is part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Joined onstage by a 24-piece orchestra and a host of special guests drawn from London’s own performance community, New York’s Taylor Mac has created a once-in-a-lifetime performance in a quest to chronicle how communities grow stronger as they are being torn apart.

Charting the years 1776–1806, Mac asks the audience to conspire with him to reimagine rebellions, revolutions, triumphs and tragedies. Pub song sing-alongs and subversive anthems are rearranged as musical mash-ups to take on a chapter of the defining early years of America’s history. Exquisite costumes and headdresses by Machine Dazzle change throughout the performance to evoke each decade.


Ann Van den Broek: Loops of Behaviour
Fri 8–Sun 17 Jun 2018, The Curve
Free admission

This summer in the Curve, Dutch-Flemish dance company WArd/waRD, founded by dancer and choreographer Ann Van den Broek creates a ten-day performance installation for the first time in the UK. Informed by the work undertaken during her Barbican residency in 2017 and following her participation in Doug Aitken’s Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening in Barbican Art Gallery in 2015, this exhibition continues Van den Broek’s research into the concept of a ‘total experience’ whereby visitors can experience live performance, spoken word, sound and video projections.

For information and images please visit:

Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing
Fri 22 Jun–Sun 2 Sep 2018, Barbican Art Gallery
Media View: Thu 21 June, 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, including a collaboration with fellow photographer Pirkle Jones.

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 June, 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:

Architecture on Stage 

The Architecture Foundation and the Barbican in partnership, present Architecture on Stage – a programme of talks by the world's leading architects.

Architecture on Stage: NP2F
Fri 8 Jun 2018, Frobisher Auditorium 1,

NP2F is an architecture and urban planning office created in 2007 by Francois Chas, Nicolas Guérin, Fabrice Long and Paul Maître-Devallon. Join Nicolas Guerin for a lecture that will reveal the questions and narrative driving their emerging practice.

Architecture on Stage: MAIO
Wed 27 Jun 2018, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

Discover the radical ideas and projects of the talented Anna Puigjaner, cofounder of Barcelona-based MAIO.        

Magnum Photos Now: Fantasy, Play, and the Document
Cristina de Middel & Lucy Soutter

Thu 14 Jun 2018, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

Cristina De Middel is a Magnum photographer whose work investigates photography’s ambiguous relationship to truth. Blending documentary and conceptual photographic practices, she plays with reconstructions and archetypes in order to build a more layered understanding of the subject she approaches. This talk will explore Cristina de Middel's methods of storytelling and play within her documentary photographic practice.


Jesmonite installation and casting demonstrations by Phil Cuttance
Jesmonite installation from Mon 28 May to Sun 3 Jun, with a demonstration on Fri 1 Jun (5pm–7pm)
Barbican Shop

Originally from New Zealand and now based in London, designer/maker Phil Cuttance will be demonstrating the art of casting stone objects and vases using Jesmonite Stone (an eco-friendly water based fine cement-like material), alongside an installation of large sculptural pieces.

Casting workshops with Phil Cuttance
Sat 2 Jun, 10.30am–12.30pm and 2pm–4pm
Sun 3 Jun, 10.30am–12.30pm and 2pm–4pm
Barbican Shop

Participants will learn how to cast a bud vase from Jesmonite Stone with designer/maker Phil Cuttance. They will choose from six different vase shapes, assemble their mould and then mix and cast their own vase in a unique colour scheme.