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What’s on for Families at the Barbican Nov-Dec 2021 

The Barbican has a range of accessible, fun and inspiring activities for the whole family to enjoy across the Centre this autumn.  

From Family Film Club in our Cinema, to Noguchi-inspired craft workshops and a theatre show aimed at babies up to 18 months, there’s much to explore and enjoy. 

Visit our website to find out more. 


Family Film Club, Barbican Cinema
Join us on Saturday mornings for Family Film Club for our programme of films for young fans.  
Adults can only come if they’re bringing a child, and children can only come along if accompanied by an adult. If you’re over 18, we’re afraid being a ‘big kid’ doesn’t count. 
Booking is essential. 

Tales of the Night (PG) + Show and Tell with storyteller Wendy Shearer 
France 2011 Dir Michel Ocelot 80 min (total event runtime approx. 110min) 
Sat 6 November 2021, 11am, Barbican Cinema 2 
Michel Ocelot brings a selection of myths and folk tales to life with his dazzling brand of silhouette animation. 

Three theatre directors discuss their favourite stories and bring to life characters that capture their imagination – featuring stories of magic, monsters, love and courage – Tales of the Night is a beautifully rendered mix of adventures from all over the world. A luscious treat for animation lovers of all ages. 

We’re delighted to welcome storyteller Wendy Shearer to give us an idea of how storytellers spin their tales, and she’ll be giving us a live performance before the film. Wendy brings stories to life through storytelling and regularly works with schools and institutions across the arts.  

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (PG) 
US 2011 Dir Chris Columbus 162 min 
Sat 13 November 2021, 11am, Barbican Cinema 2 

A chance to see Harry, Hogwarts, Quidditch and He Who Must Not Be Named up on the big screen! When Harry Potter, an orphan who lives with his mean Uncle and Aunt, discovers he has magical abilities an adventure begins that will shape the history of the wizarding (and muggle) world forever. A special re-issue, to mark the 20th anniversary of the first film’s release, this is a brilliant opportunity to introduce the next generation of film-goers to the boy wizard’s first cinematic incarnation. And we’ll also be having a quick Harry Potter quiz on stage to get you in the mood before the film – so get those wizarding facts at the ready! 

James and the Giant Peach (U) - Captioned Screening  
UK/US 1996 Dir Henry Selick 79min 
Sat 20 November 2021, 11am Barbican Cinema 2 

One of Roald Dahl’s best-loved stories is adapted into a rich stop motion animation from the visionary director of The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

Young boy James manages to escape his mean aunts, by befriending a group of bugs who help him fly to New York on a giant peach that had grown in his garden. A wacky, far-fetched tale brimming with Dahl’s trademark comedy. 

This screening is shown with HOH captions.  

Amazing Animations for 0-7 year-olds (U*) 
London International Animation Festival 2021 
Dirs various, running time approx 60 min  
Sat 27 November 2021, 11am, Barbican Cinema 2 

Like childhood, animation is full of wonder and simple pleasures. This carefully chosen programme for our littlest audience contains short animated films, full of joy, from all around the world.  

This programme contains several cheeky, loveable animals in all sorts of mad adventures. A manic octopus can’t stop cleaning up, a tiger is looking for someone to play with and a hard-working hedgehog goes on a magical quest with his friends the old monkey, the orphan squirrel, a stray bird and a beaver. 

Marvellous Animations for 8–14 year-olds (PG*) 
London International Animation Festival 2021 
Dirs various, running time approx. 78 min 
Sun 28 November 2021, 2pm, Barbican Cinema 2 

These 11 films from 10 different countries have been chosen especially for children aged 8 and upwards and include themes such as otherness, friendship and tolerance.

These are films for the young but also the young at heart with several laugh-out-loud moments alongside tales that tug at the heart-strings. 

Here you will meet charismatic characters such as Rec the dictaphone robot, Helmut the weightless boy and Kiko the animal-bully whose hopes, dreams, fears and transformations are brought to life in a series of stunning visuals showing that animation is the best tool to transform the everyday into the magical. 

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story (PG) + Show and Tell introduction from Lisa Davina Phillip 
Dir David E. Talbert US 2020 122min 
Sat 4 December 2021, 11am, Barbican Cinema 2 

Time to get into the festive spirit with this amazing musical adventure starring Forrest Whittaker, Keegan Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Ricky Martin, Anika Noni Rose and Lisa Davina Phillip.   

Jeronicus Jangle, the famed toymaker of Cobbleton is heartbroken when his trusted apprentice steals one of his most prized inventions. After years of sadness, it’s up to Jangle’s granddaughter to help heal the wound and help him rediscover his magical abilities.  

With jaw dropping steampunk inspired production design and tunes from Grammy Award winners Phillip Lawrence and John Legend this is a must see on the big screen with the biggest sound system possible! 

We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Lisa Davina Phillip, who plays the powerhouse post-mistress Ms Johnston, to introduce the film and tell us about her experience on the movie.  

The Secret Life of the Conservatory  
Until Fri 31 December 2021 
Barbican Conservatory 
Free, booking is essential  

The Secret Life of the Conservatory is a new immersive storytelling experience for all the family to enjoy within the calm of the Barbican’s green Conservatory. This audio trail presents five stories written by storyteller Emma Hayes with an accompanying soundtrack created by sound designer XavierVelastín. Each story takes listeners on a magical journey exploring the plants, fungi, animals and insects that are all connected in the eco-system of a forest.   

Particularly aimed at children aged 7+ and their families, the audio trail is accompanied by an illustrated activity sheet for children, which allows them to draw and collect their thoughts throughout their journey. 

The Conservatory is open on selected days every week. Visitors are advised to bring their own headphones and a smartphone to access the trail. There will be a small number of headphones and devices available if visitors are unable to use their own. 

Barbican Art Gallery 

Noguchi Family workshop 
Sat 4 December 2021. Various times throughout the day 11am-4pm 
Garden Room, Barbican Centre  
Free, booking is essential (timed Noguchi exhibition can be booked separately here. Usual exhibition prices apply. Under 14s go free) 

Join us for a family day inspired by Noguchi. We’ll explore play, materials and sculpture, and work with professional creators and craftspeople to share skills, ideas and much more! More information coming online soon. 

How to: Noguchi Inspired Family Activities 
Available on Barbican website  

Take inspiration for Isamu Noguchi's art and learn more about his distinctive style with these fun animated activities to make you and your family feel creative. 

Noguchi Activity Sheet 
Available on Barbican website  

Explore the themes of the exhibition with our activity sheet, illustrated by James Yang, author and illustrator of the award-winning publication A Boy Named Isamu. Free and available in the gallery. 

Babies and toddlers

Squish Space 
Times and dates vary – check online for more details 
Barbican Level G 
Free, booking is essential 

Squish Space, our free creative play space for under 5s and their families, is back up and running in the Level G Studio.  

This space is designed by artist and early years specialists India Harvey and Lisa Marie Bengtsson and brings people together to learn through interaction, collaboration and play. Using a variety of materials and tactile objects, it’s a place to spin jump, hide, touch and explore. 

India Harvey is an artist, playworker and researcher. India’s current work is toward developing a kind of sociology of the senses based on participants’ interaction and intent when working with new and unusual materials. Lisa Marie Bengtsson is an interdisciplinary designer and has a distinctive competence in the field of child culture and co-design with children. Lisa owns company Form For Fun and her work focuses on interior, form and space for children’s play activities. 

Theatre and Dance Programme 

First Light  
Daniel Nadaffy / Marty Langthorne 
Wed 8–Sun 19 December 2021 
The Pit, Barbican Centre 
Times: 10am, 10.20am, 10.40am, 11am, 11.20am, 11.40am, 12pm, 12.20pm, 12.40pm, 1pm, 1.20pm, 1.40pm, 2pm, 2.20pm, 2.40pm; also 3pm, 3.20pm and 3.40pm on Thu 9 Dec, Fri 10 Dec, Sat 11 Dec and Wed 15 Dec 2021. No performances on  Mon 13 and Tue 14 Dec 2021 
Running time: 15 minutes 

Tickets £5 ((1 ticket per performance to be used by a group of up to 4 people including the baby to come into the performance pod) 
This December, we’re presenting First Light  in The Pit, a theatrical installation made especially for babies and toddlers. The production is co-created by theatre-maker Daniel Naddafy and artist and lighting designer Marty Langthorne and co-commissioned by the Barbican.  

‘The Barbican always does a good seasonal line in sensory shows for the very young’ 
Time Out 

First Light is an immersive, intimate experience that explores the wonders of our sensory development in early childhood. Inspired by ‘baby lab’ research into the developing senses of babies in their first 18 months, this 15-minute installation, for one household at a time, distills the world of awakening perception into an enthralling show. Babies and toddlers up to 18 months-old, along with their grown-ups, are invited to sit, crawl, lie-down or stand-up as they bathe in sound and light. The specially created soundscape of domestic and everyday sounds harmonise with and echo the progression of a newborn’s hearing. 

Parent and Baby Cinema 

Our weekly film screenings of the latest new releases for parents and their babies take place on Monday and Saturdays. 

Our Parent and Baby screenings are designed for adults to enjoy the latest film releases with their young babies, in a relaxed atmosphere with gentler lighting and sound. Screenings are suitable for babies of 12 months or under.  

We've got plenty of dedicated space for you to park your baby buggy. For health and safety reasons, we can't allow buggies inside the cinemas.  

Booking is essential, so please book your tickets before attending. Up to four adults can accompany a baby, but adults without a baby will not be admitted. 

Parent and Baby: Eternals (12A) 
US Dir Chloe Zhao 147min 
Sat 6 and Mon 15 November, 11.15am, Barbican Cinema 3 

Fresh from her Oscar win for Nomadland, director Chloé Zhao helms the next big Marvel smash introducing a new roster of superheroes into the ever-expanding universe. 

The Eternals are a godlike alien race of immortal beings who have lived undetected on Earth for thousands of years, finally reuniting to protect the planet against their evil counterparts The Deviants. 

It is the twenty-sixth instalment in the marvel universe and still boasts an all-new star-studded cast featuring Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Barry Keoghan and possibly a few surprises along the way... 

Parent and Baby: Spencer (12A) 
Germany/Chile/UK/US Dir PabloLarraín 111 min 
Mon 8 and Sat 13 November, 11.15am, Barbican Cinema 3 

Pablo Larraín's explosive fable provides a new perspective on the beloved Diana Spencer, anchored by an awards worthy performance from Kristen Stewart. 

It's December 25th 1991, the final family Christmas before Charles and Diana separate, we meet Diana lost in the countryside unable to find Sandringham. This auspicious opening in the pallid English winter sets the tone for a compelling story about a troubled young mother, reckoning with the life handed to her.  

Pablo Larraín, hailing from Chile, offers an outsiders gaze on the absurdity and bombast of the British Royals. Steering clear of accuracy he, with writer Stephen Knight, invents a consuming and eerie tale of claustrophobia and yearning. Kristen Stewart turns in an astonishing performance bound to surprise and move you.