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Barbican Box

Artist playing piano

Barbican Box is a portable Box filled with the ingredients for making and creating original artistic work, inspired by our multi-arts programme.

Barbican Box launched in 2011 as a theatre education programme for secondary schools and Further Education colleges in east London. Today, Barbican Box works across art forms, including music, theatre, poetry, and visual art, and across 40 primary, secondary, SEN schools and FE colleges in east London, with a national development programme in Manchester, Harlow, and Norfolk.

Created in collaboration with artists and associate companies such as Complicite, Max Richter, Michael Rosen, Serious, and Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, the Boxes contain a range of stimuli designed to encourage an imaginative, adventurous approach to arts learning. 

Photo of girl in school uniform laughing as teacher holds microphone

Programme structure

Barbican Box is a six-month process and begins with CPD (continuing professional development) training for teachers, after which the Box is sent into schools for teachers to begin working with their students. Teachers are matched with an artist mentor who delivers in-school workshops at the beginning, middle and end of the creative process. Students come to the Barbican or to their local arts centre to see a production, musical performance or exhibition, and the project culminates with students returning to the arts centre to showcase their original work.

Barbican Box 2022

Barbican Box 2022 will have a music focus, running from April to June. We will work with 10 secondary schools in east London supporting music teachers to explore their creativity in the classroom in new ways.
The programme begins with CPD (continuing professional development) training for teachers, after which the physical Box and learning resource are sent into schools for teachers to begin working with their students. Teachers are matched with an artist mentor who supports the teacher through the process and delivers up to three in-school workshops during the creative process. 

Students will get the chance to visit the Barbican during the project, exploring behind the scenes and careers in the arts. The project will culminate with students performing their original work in school followed by the opportunity to showcase this work at a professional venue in front of all the other schools involved. 
 

Discover Barbican Box 2021

Barbican Box 2021

In 2021, we partnered with Harlow Playhouse and HOME in Manchester to deliver a Box designed by theatre company Coney, which inspired creative gift giving and school wellbeing. In PEACH West Norfolk the Box was inspired by the poems of Michael Rosen.

Barbican Box in partnership with Harlow Playhouse

Barbican Box was delivered in Harlow, in partnership with Harlow Playhouse, in 2020 and 2021. The programme formed part of the Barbican’s National Development Programme - an Esmée Fairbairn funded initiative to support cross-regional partnership working.

Barbican Box in partnership with HOME

Barbican Box has been delivered in Manchester, in partnership with HOME, since 2017. The programme became part of the Barbican’s National Development Programme - an Esmée Fairbairn funded initiative to support cross-regional partnership working.

Barbican Box in partnership with PEACH West Norfolk (via Creative Arts East)

Barbican Box was delivered in West Norfolk, in partnership with PEACH West Norfolk via Creative Arts East, in 2021. The programme formed part of the Barbican’s National Development Programme - an Esmée Fairbairn funded initiative to support cross-regional partnership working.