Schools & colleges

Barbican Box

Photo of students working with a teacher on Barbican Box

Barbican Box is a portable box filled with the ingredients for making and creating original theatre, visual art or music inspired by our world class arts programme.

Barbican Box launched in 2011 as a theatre education programme for secondary schools and FE colleges in east London. Now in its 6th year, Barbican Box works in music, theatre, and the visual arts across 40 secondary, SEN schools and FE colleges in east London with a national programme currently being piloted in Manchester

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

 

barbican box theatre

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 up with an artist mentor who delivers in-school workshops at the beginning, middle and end of the creative process. Students come to the Barbican to see a production, musical performance or exhibition and the project culminates with students returning to the Barbican to showcase their original work.

Barbican Primary Box

The Primary Schools Barbican Box is a cross-arts box.  This year’s Box will be curated by mathematician  Marcus du Sautoy and will be a stimulus to creative arts work. Recent Boxes have been curated by former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen’s poems and life and also his family’s and stories,  migration, identity, language and family  and taken inspiration from the story of the Great Fire of London. Teachers and pupils have collaborated with artists to create a range of outcomes including poetry, artwork, animation and performances.

Barbican Box ignites and supports creative arts practice in through a guided process of making new work. The programme introduces young people to imaginative and adventurous approaches to the arts, writing and mathematics and enriches the school curriculum by connecting schools to the Barbican’s world class arts programme. As well as providing ongoing training and development for teachers, the programme encourages and nurtures a lifelong relationship with the arts.

We recommend this project for students years 3–6.

Applications for our 2019-2020 programme now open - apply here
Deadline: 30 October
2019

The programme is designed for teachers in primary schools who wish to develop their own skills in the arts, writing and mathematics and that of their students to:

  • Support and facilitate creative arts, mathematics and writing practice in schools.
  • Introduce young people to imaginative and adventurous approaches to the mathematics, writing and the arts.
  • Support and enrich the delivery of school curriculum.
  • Connect schools with the City’s cultural organisations including Barbican and its world class arts programme.
  • Enhance literacy through creative writing.
  • Enhance mathematical skills through creative activities.
  • Promote creativity, literacy and mathematics within the classroom.
  • Provide and promote ongoing training and development for teachers.
  • Encourage and nurture a lifelong relationship with the arts and mathematics.

Past Barbican Primary Box Projects

photo of map and letter

Barbican Box: The Great Fire of London

As part of the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, we commissioned a special edition of Barbican Box, filled with objects designed to incite creativity. Take a look at this film, created by Year 2 pupils from Sir John Cass Primary School.

Barbican Secondary Box

2019-20’s Secondary Box (Music, Theatre and Art) will be a multi-arts project that draws inspiration from Barbican’s autumn exhibition Into The Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art. This landmark exhibition explores the electrifying history of cabarets, cafés and clubs in modern art across the world. Students and teachers will draw inspiration from the theme of collaboration and explore how these club and café cultures gave birth to new genres of art, music and performance.  This exploration of collaborative art will be extended further through artist-led workshops activities guided by the practice of live art collaborators Hunt & Darton and their award-winning pop-up interactive performance and installation Hunt & Darton Café.  Students and teachers will work with Hunt & Darton and other artists mentors to develop creative work which will be showcased at the Barbican in spring 2020. 

Secondary Schools and teachers are invited to apply to take part under specific curriculum areas of Music, Theatre and Visual Arts and will be paired with mentors to support the delivery in each curriculum areas. The box will be adaptable to suit all areas of the curriculum, but will also encourage teachers to draw inspiration and explore work across the art forms. We also invite multiple applications from schools who are interested in collaborating across the curriculum areas.   

The programme will include:

•    Teacher training at the Barbican
•    A Visit to a Gallery exhibition
•    A live-art experience with Hunt & Darton 
•    Learning resources
•    School visits and artist facilitated sessions
•    Final showcase event at Barbican and exhibition of the project in the Barbican Cinema Café (spring 2020)

Past Barbican Box projects

photo of hands with edgy little instrument

Watch: Barbican Box Music with Max Richter

 

Curated this year by Max Richter, who has worked directly with mentors and the young musicians themselves, students from east London used the Box to explore the idea of ‘reflections on yourself’.

students with paper planes

Watch: Barbican Box Showcase

 

A creative education programme designed for secondary schools and FE colleges, Barbican Box aims to ignite, support and facilitate music, theatre and visual art making in schools through a process of devising and creating work from scratch.

students on the floor working together

Opening the Barbican Box

Each year, we commission a theatre artist or company to design a box with ideas, inspirations and provocations to spark imagination in young theatremakers and performers. In 2013, renowned masters of storytelling Complicite accepted the challenge.

young student holding a blue bag

Exploring the Barbican Box

In 2014, we welcomed back innovative theatre company, and pioneers of collaborative theatre making, Complicite, to curate a unique box with one objective – to help inspire and create exciting theatre with young people throughout London.

Barbican Music Box

Students and teachers will work with Hunt & Darton and other artists mentors to develop creative work which will be showcased at the Barbican in spring 2020. 

Music teachers will be exploring sound in this year’s box, reflecting the practice of Hunt and Darton.  Each group will create, record and edit a sound piece with their students which will be played to an audience on headphone at the Barbican.  Skills that will be developed with both teachers and students include composition, music recording, production and sound editing.

Applications for our 2019 - 2020 programme are now closed. 
  

The programme will include:

• Teacher training at the Barbican
• A Visit to a Gallery exhibition
• A live-art experience with Hunt & Darton 
• Learning resources
• Artist facilitated sessions in school
• Final showcase event at Barbican and exhibition of the project in the Barbican Cinema Café (spring 2020) – PLEASE NOTE that the final event in music this year will not be a live performance but a recorded sound walk or piece that the audience experiences.

Please be aware of the following participation requirements:

• You must involve at least 10 children, with a maximum amount of 30 participating students. 
• Priority is given to secondary schools in one of our East London target boroughs. These are Islington, City of London, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Newham, Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham 

Past Barbican Music Box projects

student playing drums

Inside the Barbican Music Box

Inspired by the life of adventuring music collector and folklorist Alan Lomax, the inaugural Barbican Music Box arrived in East London schools, inciting the same adventurous spirit in students as they used its contents to compose their own music.

soweto kinch in a music room

Barbican Music Box: Inspired by G

In 2016, jazz musician Soweto Kinch tasked students in schools around East London to create music from various every day life objects, as part of that year’s Barbican Music Box.

Bellatrix’s Barbican Music Box

Each year, we select an artist to curate a Barbican Box, inspiring music making and creativity in young people around London. In 2016, UK beatboxing champion Bellatrix led the students through an exploration of ‘having a voice’...

Barbican Visual Art Box

This year’s box will inspire Art teachers and students to create work influenced by themes of radical thinking, freedom of expression and personal creativity, using the Into the Night exhibition as their starting point. In working with artist- duo Hunt & Darton, participants will work towards creating a series of artworks exploring conversation and collaborative art making, resulting in a printed publication.

All participants will get their own copy of the publication as well as it going on sale at the Barbican Shop and being available at The British Library. At the end of the project, groups will be invited to celebrate their achievements with friends and family at a Publication Launch event held at the Barbican.  

Applications for our 2019- 2020 programme now closed.

The programme will include:

•  CPD Day at the Barbican with teachers and artists, led by Hunt & Darton
•  Visits to Barbican Art Gallery exhibition Into the Night
•  Live-art experience with Hunt & Darton 
•  Learning Resources
•  In-school Professional Artist-facilitated sessions
•  Final showcase event at Barbican and exhibition of the project in the Barbican Cinema Café (spring 2020) 
•  A printed publication for all staff and students involved alongside a publication launch at the Barbican

Please be aware of the following participation requirements:

• You must involve at least 10 children, with a maximum amount of 30 participating students. 
• Priority is given to secondary schools in one of our East London target boroughs. These are Islington, City of London, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Newham, Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham 

Our Art Gallery

Collection: Art Gallery

Hear from the artists and designers, curators and collaborators behind our dynamic programme of exhibitions, installations and commissions, spanning the worlds of art, design, architecture, photography, fashion and more.

Photo of artist Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican

Listen: Art Gallery Talks

Listen to the creators, curators and the people inspired and influenced by our prestigious programme of international exhibitions and events with recordings from our talks and lectures series plus exhibition guides from our curators.

Barbican Theatre Box

Students and teachers will work with Hunt & Darton and other artists mentors to develop creative work which will be showcased at the Barbican in spring 2020. 

For this years’ theatre box, we will be drawing on the themes of café and cabaret performance. The project will encourage schools to consider short sketch performances working in small groups. The sharing of this work will take place as live performances at the Barbican. 

Applications for our 2019 - 2020 programme now closed.

The programme will include:

•  Teacher training at the Barbican
•  A Visit to a Gallery exhibition
•  A live-art experience with Hunt & Darton 
•  Learning resources
•  School visits and artist facilitated sessions
•  Final showcase event at Barbican and exhibition of the project in the Barbican Cinema Café (spring 2020)

Please be aware of the following participation requirements:

• You must involve at least 10 children, with a maximum amount of 30 participating students. 
• Priority is given to secondary schools in one of our East London target boroughs. These are Islington, City of London, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Newham, Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham 

Past Barbican Theatre Box Projects

students at a workshop at the barbican centre

Watch: Barbican Box Theatre - Toneelgroep Amsterdam

We speak to Toneelgroep Amsterdam's Artistic Director, Ivo van Hove and the Barbican Box producers along with some of the participating teachers and students, to learn more about the impact of this year's project. 
 

Inside Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s Barbican Box

In 2016, the box was curated and created in association with Toneelgroep Amsterdam, who had their first residency at the Barbican in 2017, with three productions directed by Ivo van Hove, the company’s Artistic Director.

four women dressed in black

Vote for the Barbican Box

In 2015, Complicite chose the theme of Political Power. Packed with newspapers, camcorders, banners, ballot papers and The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s briefcase, the Box was opened and it was over to the young theatremakers to take control.

Barbican Theatre Box in partnership with Home

Barbican Box at HOME offers Barbican Box to schools and colleges across Greater Manchester. Barbican Box at HOME aims to ignite and support theatre making in schools through a process of devising and creating work from scratch, giving students the opportunity to express their unique voices through the process of creating original work.

This takes the form of a physical Box, curated by our 2019 artistic partner – Slung Low, which is opened up for teachers and students to reveal the ingredients for creating a piece of theatre. These objects act as stimuli, ideas and provocations that are designed to encourage an imaginative and adventurous approach to creating new work, giving students the opportunity to express their unique perspectives on the world around them in the process. 

Applications for our 2018-2019 programme have closed.

The programme includes:

•    Teacher training at HOME
•    Learning resources
•    In-school workshops
•    Mentoring sessions
•    A showcase performance for students at HOME