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Boy Blue Barbican take-over

Image of Boy Blue Entertainment dancers

Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue take-over the Barbican’s spaces with dance, live music, spoken-word and a late night party.

The company present a showcase of intricate choreography as more than a hundred dancers take to the Theatre for A Night with Boy Blue (Fri 1–Sat 2 Jun). The performance on Saturday night is followed by an after-show party, BSI Jam: Beats, Streets & Inspiration in the foyers.

Boy Blue Co-Artistic Director Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante brings a dynamic combination of music, dance and video to the Barbican Hall in Outliers (Sat 30 Jun).

And Blak Whyte Gray, a Barbican co-commission and co-production nominated for an Olivier Award and National Dance Award, is reprised in the Theatre (Wed 12–Sat 15 Sep).

Boy Blue also work alongside the Barbican Young Poets for A Change is Gonna Come, a collision of performance poetry and movement, in The Pit (Fri 25–Sat 26 May).

Outliers, Blak Whyte Gray and A Change is Gonna Come are 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. Find out more here.

Barbican Young Poets – A Change is Gonna Come
Friday 25–Saturday 26 May 2018, The Pit
Press night: Friday 25 May 2018, 7.15pm

In the spirit of experimentation, past and present Barbican Young Poets join forces with dancers from Boy Blue in the intimate setting of The Pit.

Under the artistic and creative direction of Jacob Sam-La Rose, a poet and performer of international repute, and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, A Change is Gonna Come tunes into the musicality and rhythm of language.

Poets and dancers interact, fusing the vitality and energy of spoken word with movement, as they share personal experiences of the nation in which they live.

Exploiting a range of genres, styles and themes, Barbican Young Poets have evolved to become drivers for change, their voices helping to define the poetry scene in London and across the UK, whilst Boy Blue develop some of the country’s most sought-after hip-hop artists.

A Night with Boy Blue
Friday 1–Saturday 2 June 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 1 June 2018, 7.45pm

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. Groundbreaking 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.

Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante: Outliers
Saturday 30 June 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Asante brings a dynamic combination of music, dance and video to the Barbican in the form of Outliers.

On stage Asante 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.

As Asante 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.

Blak Whyte Gray
Wednesday 12–Saturday 15 September 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Wednesday 12 September 2018, 7.45pm

Fierce, bold and affecting, this galvanising hip-hop dance triple bill reflects themes of identity, oppression and transcendence.

The time is right to ask questions, to break free from the inner tension of a system that isn’t working, and to emerge on the other side to an awakening – a return to Boy Blue’s roots, a celebration of their culture.

The first full-length abstract work by Boy Blue, Blak Whyte Gray is personal, a response to the company’s experiences and observations of the world. Set to the resonating sounds of a multilayered electronic score, the powerful choreography and staging make for an image-rich production with political bite.

Blak Whyte Gray premiered at the Barbican Theatre in January 2017 and has since toured to HOME, Manchester and The Lyceum as part of the Edinburgh International Festival 2017.

Award-winning dance company Boy Blue was founded in London by choreographer Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy MBE and composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante. Since its inception in 2001, Sandy and Asante have worked to engage and inspire through training and by creating work for the stage and screen. Their highly respected training programme in east London enables more than 100 young dancers to learn alongside professional dancers.

Boy Blue became Barbican Artistic Associates in 2009 following their breakthrough piece Pied Piper: A hip-hop revolution. From this year ‘Entertainment’ is dropped from the company's name and they enter the Arts Council National Portfolio for the first time. Earlier in the year, their piece Emancipation of Expressionism was filmed at the Barbican with Director Danny Boyle and broadcast on BBC Two, introduced by Darcey Bussell. It is a set work of the AQA GCSE Dance syllabus, studied throughout the country.


Press information
Please click here to request press tickets

For further information please contact:
Angela Dias, Senior Communications Manager for Theatre and Dance, or 020 7382 7168

Listings information

A Change is Gonna Come
Barbican Young Poets
Fri 25–Sat 26 May 2018 (2 performances)
The Pit
1 hour 30 minutes/no interval
£12 plus booking fee
Age guidance: 14+
Press night: Friday 25 May 2018, 7.15pm
BSL-interpreted performance: Sat 26 May 2018

Presented and commissioned by the Barbican

A Night with Boy Blue
Boy Blue
Fri 1–Sat 2 Jun 2018 (3 performances)
Barbican Theatre
7.45pm; also 2.30pm on Sat 2 Jun 2018
2 hours/including an interval
£15-20 plus booking fee
Age guidance: 6+
Press night: Fri 1 Jun 2018, 7.45pm
BSI Jam: Beats, Streets & Inspiration – Boy Blue After Party: Sat 2 Jun 2018, 10pm (£3 plus 60p booking fee in advance, £5 on the door), admission restricted to 18+

Presented by the Barbican


B.S.I Jam: Boy Blue After Party
Sat 2 Jun 2018
Clubstage, Barbican foyers
£3 in advance plus booking fee
Age restriction: 18+ (ID required with ticket to gain admission)

Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante: Outliers
Sat 30 Jun 2018
Barbican Hall
Tickets £17.50–25 plus booking fee

Blak Whyte Gray
Boy Blue
Created and directed by Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante
Choreography by Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy
Music by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante
Lighting by Lee Curran
Costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight
Wed 12–Sat 15 Sep 2018 (4 performances)
Barbican Theatre
1 hour 30 minutes/including an interval
£15-25 plus booking fee
Age guidance 12+
Press night: Wed 12 Sep 2018, 7.45pm

Presented by the Barbican

Produced by Boy Blue

Co-commissioned and co-produced by the Barbican

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England


Barbican newsroom
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About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company. International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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