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Schools & colleges

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 FE 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 Primary Box

Barbican Primary Box is a cross-arts Box designed to ignite creativity in the classroom through a guided process of in-school artist visits and teacher CPD. The 2019-2020 Box was curated by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy. The programme introduced pupils to imaginative and adventurous approaches by weaving the arts, writing and mathematics all together. 

Barbican Primary Box:

  • Supported and facilitated creative arts, mathematics and writing practice in schools
  • Introduced young people to imaginative and adventurous approaches to mathematics, writing and the arts
  • Supported and enriched the delivery of the school curriculum
  • Connected schools with the City’s cultural organisations including the Barbican and its visual and performing arts programme
  • Enhanced literacy through creative writing
  • Enhanced mathematical skills through creative activities
  • Promoted creativity, literacy and mathematics within the classroom
  • Provided and promoted ongoing training and development for teachers
  • Encouraged and nurtured a lifelong relationship with the arts and mathematics

As the 2019/2020 Barbican Primary Box programme was interrupted in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ll continue to work with London-based primary schools, using a combination of digital and physical activities to complete activities during the 2020-21 academic year. We’re planning to bring a new Barbican Primary Box programme back to London in 2021-2022.

Barbican Secondary Box

The COVID-19 crisis presents many arts organisations, like us, with new financial challenges. As a result, we are sorry to announce that our schools project, Barbican Secondary Box, will not take place in London in the 2020-2021 academic year. We want to reassure you that we’re planning to bring a new Barbican Box programme back to London in 2021-2022. London schools are key local partners and remain an important part of our work.
As we had already secured external funding for our Barbican Box National Development Programme in our partnership locations of Harlow, Manchester and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, we’ll be able to run these programmes during the 2020-21 academic year. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us via [email protected] if you have further questions.

Barbican Box in partnership with Harlow Playhouse

In 2021, Barbican Box for Secondary schools will be running in partnership with Harlow Playhouse, and curated by award-winning interactive theatre company, Coney.

Coney’s Barbican Box 2021 is a portal to a Secret Agency that will upskill students in making art and result in the creation of a co-devised playful intervention in their school which will prompt care for others, their environment and themselves. 

The Box will be open for application by Drama teachers in Harlow and the project is suitable for Secondary school teachers to apply to use with any age in their school.

Applications are now open and close on 23 November.

Apply Now

Barbican Box in partnership with HOME

In 2021, Barbican Box for Secondary schools will be running in partnership with HOME, Manchester, and curated by award-winning interactive theatre company, Coney.
Coney’s Barbican Box 2021 is a portal to a Secret Agency that will upskill students in making art and result in the creation of a co-devised playful intervention in their school which will prompt care for others, their environment and themselves. 

The Box will be open for application by Visual Arts and Drama teachers in Manchester. The Box project is suitable for Secondary school teachers to apply to use with any age in their school, although this year, Barbican Box has been designed to support the delivery of learning objectives in the KS3 curriculum.

Applications are now open and close on 23 November.

Apply Now