Press room

Barbican November highlights

A. Rodchenko and V. Stepanova descending from an airplane.
  • Barbican Art Gallery’s pioneering autumn exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde showcases the creative output of over 40 artist couples active in the first half of the 20th century.
  • EFG London Jazz Festival, presented by Barbican Associate Producer Serious, returns to the Barbican in November for its 26th year, which includes Anthony Joseph’s Windrush: A Celebration.
  • Inua Ellams hosts the latest Pit Party, which takes Walter Hill’s The Warriors as its inspiration.
  • New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival brings more than thirty publishers’ stalls to the Barbican’s foyer spaces, as well as a day of talks, workshops and screenings exploring our feminist futures.
  • Jodee Mundy Collaboration’s Imagined Touch: the installation comes to The Pit, as part of The Art of Change and SPILL Festival.
  • Love As A Revolution, part of the Level G programme, is inspired by the love-story in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
  • Tensions between two quarrelling families bubble over when one’s daughter falls in love with the other’s son, in The Cohens and The Kellys, showing in Cinema 1.


Framed Film Festival
Sat 17–Sun 18 Nov, Cinema 2

The Barbican’s celebration of films from around the world for our youngest audience is back. Highlights include specially curated shorts programmes, the charming new international hit My Giraffe, and the classic Michel Ocelot animation Princes and Princesses, as well as a range of Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning activities throughout the weekend to engage and inspire a new generation of filmgoers.

EFG London Jazz Festival
Sat 17–Sun 25 Nov, Cinema 3

The film strand of this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival includes two screenings which are part of Anthony Joseph’s series of events celebrating the Windrush generation and the Caribbean spirit: a brand new collection of documentary portraits,1000 Londoners: Windrush Generations, presented at the Barbican by some of the filmmakers and protagonists involved and Rachel Wang of Chocolate Films; and a presentation of Pressure, Britain’s first black feature film from 1978 written by Horace Ové and fellow Trinidadian novelist Samuel Selvon. A double bill We Out Here, A LDN Story and Blue Notes and Exiled Voices probes two breakthrough moments in the story of British jazz – and reflects a much wider picture of cultural shift. The documentary The Jazz Ambassadors tells the little-known story of how the US used jazz as a Cold War secret weapon and will be followed by a ScreenTalk with the director Hugo Berkeley and composer Mike McEvoy, interviewed by Sebastian Scotney (London Jazz News).

The Cohens and The Kellys (PG)
Silent Film & Live Music
UK 1926, dir Harry Pollard, 80 mins
Sun 25 Nov, Cinema 1 + live music by Dermot Dunne and Nick Roth, 3.30pm

Tensions between two quarrelling families bubble over when one’s daughter falls in love with the other’s son. Accompanied by an Irish and Jewish folk music inspired live score. Presented in partnership with the Irish Film Institute.


Connan Mockasin
Sat 3 Nov 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On 3 November 2018 Connan Mockasin will make his Barbican debut, hosting the London premiere of part one (of five) of his concept project Bostyn ’n Dobsyn, featuring film and music. Bostyn ‘n Dobsyn is the title of a five-part film by Connan Mockasin in conjunction with his third upcoming album Jassbusters, released worldwide in October 2018 by Mexican Summer. Based on comics and short films Mockasin made 20 years ago, Bostyn ’n Dobsyn is about a music teacher, Bostyn, his student Dobsyn, and Bostyn's band, Jassbusters.

After the screening of the first episode, Connan will unveil Jassbusters to the world, an idiosyncratic band of high school music teachers fronted by Mr Bostyn. They will perform tracks from the upcoming new album. Connan and his band will round off the night with a live performance.

Neko Case
+ Kathryn Joseph
Thu 8 Nov 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

American singer/songwriter, Grammy nominee and member of The New Pornographers, Neko Case makes her return to the Barbican on 8 November 2018 - almost ten years since her last appearance on the Concert Hall stage. Case will tour in support of her latest album Hell-On (Anti, June 2018). This self-produced LP was born of unique and sometimes difficult circumstances, including a fire that destroyed the singer’s home whilst she was overseas. Despite these challenges Case’s Hell-On was completed and now boasts co-production on six tracks by Björn Yttling (Peter Bjorn & John) and guest appearances by Beth Ditto, k.d. Lang, Mark Lanegan and more. The opening support set comes from Scottish singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph, whose debut album Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I've Spilled won the 2015 Scottish Album of the Year Award. Her second album From When I Wake the Want Is came out in August 2018 (Rock Action).

BBC Singers/Sofi Jeannin
Part of Roderick Williams: Milton Court Artist-in-Residence
Part of For the Fallen
Sun 11 Nov 2018, Milton Court, 3pm

Baritone and composer Roderick Williams is this season’s Milton Court Artist-in-Residence. The first concert as part of his residency, on centenary Remembrance Sunday in November 2018, features two UK premieres – new works by British composers Bob Chilcott and by Roderick Williams himself – responding to the tragedy of the First World War, performed by the BBC Singers and their new Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin. Roderick Williams’ new piece (working title: World Without End) is a touching meditation on events that still scar our imagination a century on. Like Britten before him, Bob Chilcott has taken inspiration from Wilfred Owen whose poem Futility is the starting point for Chilcott’s new work Move him into the sun.

Batiashvili/Capuçon/Thibaudet Trio  
Mon 12 Nov 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

In this special Barbican Presents date, regular collaborators with a shared musical vision Lisa Batiashvili (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello) and Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) come together to form a ‘supertrio’. The programme includes Ravel’s only piano trio (in A minor), which he wrote in the early days of the First World War, complemented by Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No 1 (in C minor, Op 8) and Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No 2 (in C minor, Op 66).

Die Stadt ohne Juden (The City Without Jews)
A Dystopian Prophecy of Intolerance
Thu 15 Nov 2018, Milton Court, 7pm and 9.30pm

Commemorating the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Barbican presents the UK premiere performances of a new score by Olga Neuwirth to the film Die Stadt ohne Juden / The City Without Jews (1924). The new score will be performed live by Austrian contemporary music ensemble PHACE and conductor Nacho de Paz alongside a screening of the silent film. The 1924 silent film, directed by Austrian Hans Karl Breslauer, is based on a novel of the same name by fellow Austrian writer Hugo Bettauer. This satirical dystopia is regarded as one of the most important productions of the interwar period and shows the cultural and economic impoverishment of a city that succumbs to intolerance and expels its Jewish population. Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth—renowned for her musical innovations, as well as for taking a political stance in her work and uniquely expanding the musical spectrum beyond classical categories with the hybridity of her compositions—has composed a new soundtrack for amplified ensemble and electronics.

EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

EFG London Jazz Festival, presented by Barbican Associate Producer Serious, returns to the Barbican in November for its 26th year. The Barbican’s festival highlights include Anthony Joseph’s Windrush: A Celebration on 17 November. 70 years on from the HMT Empire Windrush’s arrival in Essex, British/Trinidadian poet, novelist and musician Anthony Joseph celebrates the seismic impact the Caribbean diaspora has had on UK culture. At the centre of the show will be a newly commissioned Windrush Suite, composed by Musical Director, composer and saxophonist Jason Yarde and performed by Joseph alongside a pan-Caribbean ensemble featuring Byron Wallen (trumpet), Ayanna Witter-Johnson (cello, voice), Samuel DuBois (steel pan), Harry Brown (trombone), Phil Ramacon (keyboards), Eric Appapoulay (guitar), Andrew John (bass, vocals), David Bitan (drums) and Richard Olatunde Baker (percussion). The evening will also feature guest appearances from Calypso Rose, Mighty Sparrow , Brother Resistance and Gaika. Bobby McFerrin, ten-time Grammy Award-winner, renowned for the number one global hit Don’t Worry, Be Happy, appears at the Barbican on 18 November with members of his group Voicestra, augmented by a 12-piece a cappella choir. On 19 November, free Jazz pioneer and civil rights activist Archie Shepp returns to the Barbican, presenting his new project Art Songs and Spirituals, featuring contributions from jazz pianist and vocalist Amina Claudine Myers, drummer Hamid Drake and soul singer Carleen Anderson, who leads the UK Vocal Assembly featuring Cleveland Watkiss, Beverley Skeete, Gina Foster, Sylvia Mason-James, Janet Ramus, Gail Evans and Daniel Bishop.

Also coming up in November will be a concert from the revered Emerson String Quartet at Milton Court, in which they will perform music at the heart of its repertoire – including quartets by Shostakovich, Britten and Beethoven (Thu 8 Nov, Milton Court). The Barbican opens up its Conservatory for The Nest Collective’s unamplified Campfire Club night (Sat 17 Nov, Conservatory), featuring headliners This is How we Fly, plus special guests. Finally, Icelandic neo-classical group amiina will perform music from their 2016 album, Fantômas (Mengi), live to a screening of silent film Juve contre Fantômas (1913) (Sun 18 Nov, LSO St Luke’s).

London Symphony Orchestra highlights

The world premiere of James MacMillan’s new oratorio All the Hills and Vales Along, an affecting memorial to the dead of the First World War, is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra with Ian Bostridge, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda on 4 November 2018 in the Barbican Hall. The new work is performed alongside Shostakovich’s Symphony No 4, continuing Noseda’s cycle of the composer’s Symphonies with the LSO. The LSO and Noseda also give the UK premiere of MacMillan’s Trombone Concerto, performed by the LSO’s 22 year-old Principal Trombone, Peter Moore on 1 November. François-Xavier Roth conducts Haydn’s Nelson Mass on 11 November and on 22 November, the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition, which Roth won in 2000, reaches its climax, featuring three finalists conducting the LSO, as well as Vadim Repin making a welcome return to the LSO podium as soloist and competition judge.

BBC Symphony Orchestra highlights
Total Immersion: In Remembrance World War I
Sat 10 Nov, Barbican

The BBC Symphony Orchestra marks 100 years since the end of the First World War with a weekend of performances, talks and a film screening inspired by the events of 1914-18. A programme embracing a wide range of music and emotions, choral, chamber and orchestral works, culminates in a rare performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera The Silver Tassie. Conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth, this brutal, brilliant adaptation of Sean O’Casey’s controversial anti-war play features an all-star British cast.


Royal Shakespeare Company – Romeo and Juliet
Fri 2 Nov 2018–Sat 19 Jan 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tue 6 Nov 2018, 7pm

Set in a world very like our own, this Romeo and Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents.

What if your first true love was someone you’d been told to hate? Shakespeare’s most famous story explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change but leads all too quickly to devastating consequences.

RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman is back at the Barbican following her acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation in 2016. Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick are the star-crossed lovers, with the professional cast joined by young people from RSC Associate Schools in London who perform as part of the chorus.

Jodee Mundy Collaborations – Imagined Touch: the installation
SPILL Festival of Performance
Wed 7–Sun 11 November 2018, The Pit
Press performances: Wed 7 Nov 2018, timed admissions for journalists from 6-9pm (last admission).
Please contact the Barbican’s Communications office to book your press tickets

Created by Heather Lawson and Michelle Stevens and directed by Jodee Mundy, this immersive event, where sight and sound give way to tactile communication, shares the humour, grief, beauty and profound isolation of their lives as deafblind artists.

Audiences watch a short introductory film and are given individual headphones and goggles. Guided through to an unseen promenade installation, with light and sound distorted and restricted, it is touch that becomes integral to connection. Designed to be accessible for everyone, it uses social haptics (communication conveyed through touch), audio-description, British sign language and subtitles along with the presence of tactile sign guides. Imagined Touch is a perception-altering experience which seeks to reframe disability as an opportunity for untapped potential.

Imagined Touch is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change.

Inua Ellams Pit Party
Sun 18 Nov 2018, The Pit
Poetry + Film / Hack: 2.30pm–5pm
Open Lab Rhythm and Poetry Party: 7.30pm–10.30pm

Prolific poet-playwright Inua Ellams hosts a double bill, combining hip-hop, dance, poetry and readings with the 1979 cult classic stylised action film, The Warriors, directed by Walter Hill, serving as cinematic backdrop.

During the day, poets deliver lyrical meditations about tribes and territory, poverty and struggle, after a screening of Hill’s film. The poets contributing to this hack, a concept conceived by Ellams that looks at how watching films could change with the introduction of poetry readings are: Jay Bernard, Caroline Bird, Caleb Femi and Bohdan Piasecki.

In the evening, poetry and hip-hop music alternate in a rhythm and poetry party, which ruminates on the themes in Hill’s film. Featuring a gathering of artists, including Barbican Open Lab alumni, this is a laidback evening of eloquent speeches, dance and movement merging with a DJ’s selections.

Storme Toolis – Redefining Juliet
Fri 30 Nov 2018, The Pit, 7.45pm

Redefining Juliet, first created by Storme Toolis in 2015, is remounted this November with a new cast and directed by Robin Norton Hale, in collaboration with the Barbican and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Toolis, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, casts three performers to share the role of the eponymous heroine of Shakespeare’s tragic love story. Driven by her own desire to play Juliet, Toolis choses actors whose femininity and value have been questioned by society. Redefining Juliet combines scenes from Romeo and Juliet with the performers’ own hard-hitting, personal stories. In selecting those who would not typically be given the opportunity to play this leading character, Toolis challenges widely held societal ideals about beauty and desirability. The cast of Redefining Juliet is James Le Lacheur, Athena Stevens and Lara Steward.

Redefining Juliet is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change.


Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde
Wed 10 Oct 2018–Sun 27 Jan 2019, Barbican Art Gallery
Media view: Tue 9 Oct 2018, 10am–1pm

Barbican Art Gallery’s pioneering autumn exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde showcases the creative output of over 40 artist couples active in the first half of the 20th century. Drawing on loans from private and public collections worldwide, this major interdisciplinary show features the work of painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, designers, writers, musicians and performers, shown alongside personal photographs, love letters, gifts and rare archival material. Among the highlights are legendary duos such as: Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp; Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin; Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson; Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso; Lee Miller and Man Ray; Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko; Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West; as well as lesser known pairings such as Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt, Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí, Romaine Brooks and Natalie Clifford-Barney and Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt.

Modern Couples is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change.

For full press release and images please visit:

Francis Upritchard: Wetwang Slack
Thu 27 Sep 2018–Sun 6 Jan 2019, The Curve
Media View: Wed 26 Sep, 10am–1pm

Free admission

This autumn, marking the 30th Curve commission at the Barbican, New Zealand born and London-based artist Francis Upritchard has created a new, site-specific installation. Drawing from figurative sculpture, craft traditions and design, blended with references from literature and history, Upritchard pushes these practices into new directions, bringing them together to create a striking and original visual language of her own.

For full press release and images please visit:

Francis Upritchard Artist Talk and Book Launch
Thu 8 Nov, Frobisher Auditorium 2, 7pm

Francis Upritchard discusses her fascination with art, design and craft with artist Brian Griffiths.

Architecture on Stage
Thu 1 Nov, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm
Mon 26 Nov, Milton Court, 7pm

The Architecture Foundation and the Barbican in partnership present Architecture on Stage – a programme of talks by the world's leading architects. In November, Beate Hølmebakk & Per Tamsen of Norwegian practice Manthey Kula (1 November) as well as British architect Tony Fretton in conversation with Professor Andrew Clancy (26 November) appear as part of the programme.

Magnum Photos Now: Landscape Photography
Wed 14 Nov, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

Join world-renowned Magnum Photographer Stuart Franklin as he explores the history of landscape photography in his practice and its relationship to that of his peers in the esteemed agency Magnum Photos.

For information on talks programmed as part of Architecture on Stage and Magnum Photos Now, please visit


New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival
Sat 3 Nov, Level G, 11am-6pm

New Suns welcomes writers, artists, academics, poets and audiences to explore contemporary feminism through the lens of mythology and current myth-making. In the spirit of the 1980s international feminist bookfairs, there will be over thirty stalls to explore across the centre, and selected events for free.  New Suns was conceived by Sarah Shin and programmed in partnership with the Barbican.

Events include the below:

Us vs. Them: Feminist Myth-making, Power and Disobedient Women
Panel discussion
Sat 3 Nov, Cinema 2, 1pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival

Authors Maria Dahvana Headley (The Mere Wife), Sophie Mackintosh (The Water Cure) and Preti Taneja (We That Are Young) discuss the many forms of feminist myth making – from subverting conventional gender roles in the stories handed down to us, to giving voice to the silenced and the building of entire new worlds through fiction.

Unruly Bodies
Sat 3 Nov, Level G Studio, 1pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival
Free admission

Bethany Rutter, journalist, body activist and editor of Plus+, and Tallulah Pomeroy, illustrator and author of A Girl's Guide to Personal Hygiene, guide a workshop dismantling the myths surrounding bodies and how to reclaim all that is gleeful, gross, subversive, and beautiful about our bodies.

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin: A Documentary by Arwen Curry (2018)
Screening and post-show talk
Sat 3 Nov, Cinema 2, 2pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival

Following a screening of this film – exploring the remarkable life and legacy of the late feminist author Ursula K Le Guin – cyberpunk science fiction author Pat Cadigan and writer and activist So Mayer will discuss the themes of language and power in Ursula K Le Guin’s mythopoesis (myth-making).

Canada / US 2018 Dir Arwen Curry 65 min Digital presentation

Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry: A Reading
Poetry reading
Sat 3 Nov, Level G Studio, 3.30pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival
Free admission

Readings by Khairani Barokka, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Nisha Ramayya and Sophie Robinson, contributors to Spells: 21st Century Occult Poetry, which brings together over thirty contemporary voices exploring the territory where justice, selfhood and the imagination meet the animating power of the occult.

Play It As It Lays 18
Sat 3 Nov, Cinema 2, 4pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival

An ultra-rare screening of the 1972 adaptation of Joan Didion’s cult novel, starring Tuesday Weld and Anthony Perkins. Adapted by Didion herself, much of the voiceover narration and dialogue comes direct from the book; protagonist Maria’s shattered sensibility is rendered for the screen as a jumbled mosaic of scenes.

US 1972 Dir Frank Perry 99 min 35mm Presentation

After #MeToo: Consent, Trauma and the Future
Panel discussion
Sat 3 Nov, Frobisher Auditorium 2, 4.30pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival

Historian Joanna Bourke, writer and activist So Mayer, activist Lola Olufemi and journalist and critic Josephine Livingstone discuss the legacy of the #MeToo movement. What does solidarity look like when race, class, sexuality, disability and gender identity inflect the ability to speak out?

Dream Babes: Speculation and Fantasy as Resistance
Roundtable discussion and reading
Sat 3 Nov, Level G Studio, 5.30pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival
Free admission

A roundtable discussion with multidisciplinary performance artist Victoria Sin, Daniel Brathwaite Shirley and Irene Tokini Fubara, with readings exploring speculative fiction as a strategy for social change.

The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights
Book launch with talk
Sat 3 Nov, Frobisher Auditorium 2, 6pm
Part of New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival

Authors Juno Mac and Molly Smith (Revolting Prostitutes, Verso, 2018) rethink sex, work and migration through a feminist lens, bringing a fresh perspective to questions that have long been contentious. In conversation with sociology professor Akwugo Emejulu.

Love As A Revolution
Mon 15 Oct 2018—Sat 19 Jan 2019, Level G

What have love and rebellion done for humanity? What can we fight for to make the world a better place? These are some of the questions a Royal Shakespeare Company exhibition challenges people to think about with a mural which will be on display for free at the Barbican Mezzanine, Front of House at the Barbican Centre for the duration of the season.

Love As A Revolution is inspired by the love-story in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  In her large-scale illustrations, artist Jasmine Thompson depicts scenes of courage, solidarity and revolution and invites viewers to take part by writing their own messages of how love and unity can change society.

Troika – Borrowed Light
5 Jun 2018–May 2019, Level G

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 Barbican Art Gallery to activate the unique architectural features of the Lightwell at the centre of the Barbican’s public spaces.

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

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 exhibition is curated and designed by Daniela Puga.


Barbican acts and exhibitions touring to other venues across the world include:

John Akomfrah: Purple
Museu Colecao Berrado, Lisbon 
Thu Oct 2018–Sat Jan 2019

The World of Charles and Ray Eames
Oakland Museum of California
Sat Oct 13 2018–Sun Feb 17 2019

Boy Blue – Blak Whyte Gray
Lincoln Center, New York
Fri 16–Sat 17 Nov 2018