Barbican Box

Barbican Theatre Box - In Partnership with Harlow Playhouse

Six children all wearing black clothing, with their hands raised to the sky

A box designed and curated by world renowned theatre company Complicité, to help encourage teachers and students to devise new work which engages with the theme of political power.

In 2020, Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning will partner with Harlow Playhouse, to bring Barbican Box Theatre to Secondary schools and colleges in Harlow and the surrounding area.  

Running from January–June 2020, the programme will include:

  • Teacher training at Harlow Playhouse
  • Learning resources
  • A visit to a performance at Harlow Playhouse
  • Artist facilitated sessions
  • Final Showcase event for students at Harlow Playhouse

 All participating schools will receive:

  • The Box (containing a range of stimuli for the creation of new creative work) – which is theirs to keep.
  • 2 days of teacher training at Harlow Playhouse, delivered by a Complicité Associate Artist
  • A learning resource pack
  • Tickets to a performance at the Harlow Playhouse for all participating students and their teachers
  • 3 in-school mentoring sessions from a professional theatre maker 
  • A performance opportunity at the Harlow Playhouse in June 2020, where all schools' work will be shared 

Please be aware of the following participation requirements:

  • Mainstream schools must involve at least 15 students, with a maximum number of 30 participating students. If you are applying from a specialist provider and are planning on working with a smaller group, please contact us to discuss.

Applications open on Monday 14 October and will close on Friday 15 November 2019.

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About the Barbican Theatre Box at Harlow Playhouse

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

The Box is both a work of art and an education tool in its own right and is a portable box filled with the ‘ingredients’ for making and creating art. It contains stimuli, ideas and provocations designed to encourage an imaginative and adventurous approach to creating artistic work.

Harlow Playhouse is a leading creative hub and venue in the East of England. It provides enjoyable cultural experiences for everyone, working in partnership to support healthier, happier and safer communities; and to stimulate opportunity, creativity and innovation. It has a programme of quality music, comedy, spoken word, dance, and circus arts events across its 400-seat and 120-seat theatres, as well as other reach-out locations, and provides space and support to many artists, groups and companies throughout the year.

About Complicité

Complicité has played in more than 40 countries across the world, won more than 50 awards and been described as ‘...the most influential and consistently interesting theatre company working in Britain.’ The Times

Complicité began life as a collective and this spirit of collective enquiry, of collaborative curiosity, has driven the work throughout its history. The Company is famous for making its work through extensive periods of research and development which brings together performers, designers, writers, artists and specialists from diverse fields to create the works – a process now known simply as ‘devising’. 

This focus on a collaborative devising process has meant that Complicité has also become famous for a distinctive, visually rich stage language, which layers physically beautiful performances and tightly choreographed ensemble work with innovative lighting, sound and video design.



Before applying please ensure that you are aware of the commitment needed from you, your school and your students and ensure that your Senior Management at the school is aware of your application.  Please be aware of the following participation requirements: 


  • Mainstream schools must involve at least 15 students, with a maximum number of 30 participating students. If you are applying from a specialist provider and are planning on working with a group of less than 15, please contact us to discuss.
  • At least one teacher from each participating school must commit to attending both CPD days at the start of the project.

The programme is heavily subsidised, however, there is a small participation charge for each Box.

Barbican Box Theatre: £300 + VAT

As part of this fee, every school participating gets their own Box, resources to support them through the creative process as well as workshops, visits and mentoring from artists.

Bursary Places: There are a limited number of bursary places, reducing the cost of the project to £150 + VAT, available if your school/college would not be able to participate in this project without financial support.  Bursaries will be allocated on a case by case basis. 
If you are successful at the application stage we will ring you in November 2019 to discuss your application and for you to ask any questions, before confirming if you have been successful.

If you have any questions about the programme, bursary or application process, please contact Beth Warnock (Producer for Theatre, Dance and Poetry – Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning) / 0207 382 7030

Apply for Barbican Box

Your school or college

Teacher leading the project

Group or class taking part in the project

How will you be using Barbican Box?

Please use this section to briefly outline the overall objective for taking part in this year's Barbican Box Theatre (eg. It could be to improve class dynamics, to improve a group’s ensemble skills or to use for an exam) Please try to be specific where possible.

Has your class been involved with any other programmes like this in 2018/19, or do you have any projects planned for 2019/20 (e.g. NT Connections, working with another theatre or visual arts venue)?

Other programmes

As an arts teacher, what areas of your practice would you most like to develop and refine through this project? Please specify if you have a particular interest in a specific approach or a specific idea for how this project will link to your work in school.

As the teacher leading this project you are key to ensuring the Barbican Box programme is a success. We value your hard work and contributions at all times. Please ensure that you agree to the following before you complete and sign this application form.

As the Barbican Box lead teacher, I commit to:

  • Attending both days of the Teacher CPD  (otherwise you may be subject to a fee) and the Showcase day.
  • Providing an appropriate working space (drama studio, gym, classroom, hall) for the project
  • Ensuring that the appropriate amount of hours are timetabled for artist visits
  • Communicating all necessary details within given deadlines & time frames
  • Letting the Barbican know two weeks in advance of any changes to session times/dates (otherwise you may be subject to a cancellation fee) 

By submitting this form, you give the Barbican permission to store and process your data in accordance with our privacy policy.

We may not be able to get back in touch with everyone who applies. If you have not heard from us by the end of November you will have been unsuccessful. Do keep an eye on other opportunities on our website or by signing up to our schools newsletter. 

Terms and conditions: Your submission of this form to Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning will constitute your confirmation of the following declaration: I hereby confirm that the information I have given in this application is true and correct I confirm my availability for the Barbican Box Theatre 2020 as per the dates given above I agree that the Barbican and Harlow Playhouse may, for administrative purposes only, make copies of any material submitted in support of my application. I agree to the Barbican processing and Harlow Playhouse personal data as part of the applications, registration, and learning support processes and accept that this information will be retained during and following my participation for administering my progress and for the provision of statistical returns. By submitting this form, I give the Barbican and Harlow Playhouse permission to store and process my data as described above in accordance with professional standards and the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR.


kids singing

Watch: Barbican Box - Toneelgroep Amsterdam


For the 2017 Barbican Box, we invited Toneelgroep Amsterdam to curate a box filled with props, prompts and inspirations to help introduce young students from around London to theatre making.

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.

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.