Time Out says
The UK's leading international arts centre
The Barbican Centre lures fans of serious culture into a labyrinthine arts complex, part of a vast concrete estate that also includes 2,000 highly coveted flats and innumerable concrete walkways. It's a prime example of brutalist architecture, softened a little by time and some rectangular ponds housing friendly resident ducks.
The focus is on world-class arts programming, taking in pretty much every imaginable genre. At the core of the music roster, performing 90 concerts a year, is the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), which revels in the immaculately tuned acoustics of the Barbican's concert hall. The art gallery on the third floor stages exhibitions on design, architecture and pop culture, while on the ground floor, the Curve is a free exhibition space for specially commissioned works and contemporary art. The Royal Shakespeare Company stages its London seasons here, alongside the annual BITE programme (Barbican International Theatre Events), which cherry-picks exciting and eclectic theatre companies from around the globe. There's a similarly international offering of ballet and contemporary dance shows. And there's also a cinema, with a sophisticated programme that puts on regular film festivals based around farflung countries or undersung directors.
As if that wasn't enough, the Barbican Centre is also home to three restaurants, a public library, some practice pianos, and even a large, succulent-filled conservatory. This cultural smorgasbord is all funded and managed by City of London Corporation, which sends some of the finance industry's considerable profits its way. It's been in operation since 1982; its uncompromising brutalist aesthetic and sometimes hard-to-navigate, multi-level structure was initially controversial, but it's getting increasingly popular with architecture fans and instagrammers alike.
|Transport:||Tube: Barbican; Rail/Tube: Moorgate|
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Trevor Paglen: From 'Apple' to 'Anomaly' review
AI networks are tracking photos of you. Sorting and categorising you by your face and actions, by the digital breadcrumbs you leave behind. Artist Trevor Paglen doesn’t trust that. And with good reason. Across the Curve’s wall, he’s plastered images...Until Sunday February 16 2020
Belgian’s Kiss & Cry Collective calls in to the Barbican as part of the London International Mime Festival 2020 with a whimsical show that tells the story of seven surprising deaths in startlingly choreographed physical fashion – look out for the ‘hand...Experimental Wednesday January 29 2020 - Saturday February 1 2020
Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography
From 'fragile' to 'toxic' and everything in between, 'masculinity' is a bit of a fraught topic. The Barbican gives it a thorough re-evaluation with this major exhibition of film and photography looking at what the term has meant to different people from...Thursday February 20 2020 - Sunday May 17 2020
The Revenger's Tragedy (La tragedia del vendicatore)
Seasoned adaptors Cheek by Jowl put internationally-minded spins on classic texts. Their new take on 'The Revenger's Tragedy' takes Thomas Middleton's bloodsoaked Renaissance drama and reimagines it for a setting in modern Italy, full of glamour and corruption....Drama Wednesday March 4 2020 - Saturday March 7 2020
Toyin Ojih Odutola: A Countervailing Theory
Drawing, for Toyin Ojih Odutola, is a form of storytelling. These new works, exhibited around the 90-metre sweep of the Barbican Curve, form part of an epic series relaying an imagined ancient myth. The artist uses pencil, pastel, ballpoint pen and charcoal...Thursday March 26 2020 - Sunday July 26 2020
It's True, It's True, It's True
‘It's True, It's True, It's True’ transfers to Barbican Centre in April 2020; this review is from the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Breach Theatre are a bracingly unpredictable company: after first making a splash three years ago with their acclaimed show...Experimental Tuesday March 31 2020 - Thursday April 9 2020
Nobody goes to a Katie Mitchell show to have fun. Nobody sees an Alice Birch play for the lols. They are serious people, who make serious theatre, much of it seriously depressing. And yet the British duo's latest collaboration for Berlin’s revered Schaubühne...Drama Thursday April 2 2020 - Sunday April 5 2020
Dogs of Europe
Belarus Free Theatre are political exiles who make work about censorship and repressive regimes across the world. Their new show 'Dogs of Europe' is based on Alhierd Bacharevic’s novel of the same name, which is a political thriller set in a dystopian...Experimental Wednesday May 13 2020 - Saturday May 16 2020
The Glass Menagerie
The second Ivo van Hove production in the 2020 Barbican season sees the Belgian great tackle Tennessee Williams’s dreamy early masterpiece ‘The Glass Menagerie’. And his French-language production (aka ‘La Ménagerie de verre’) with the Odéon-Théâtre de...Drama Friday June 5 2020 - Thursday June 11 2020
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Users say (39)
Average User Rating
4.3 / 5
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This brutalist building is really one of a kind. It's immersive architecture encloses a microcosmic world of apartments (said to be owned by artists), a botanical garden upstairs, and a cultural centre that hosts incredible exhibitions and performances every month. I went there recently to see the Basquiat exhibition and was not disappointed. Amazing!
This is one of my favorite places in London. Theatre, music, exhibitions, cinema or just a cool place to hang out, the barbican has it all.
On a Monday cinema tickets are only £6 - they call it Monday madness. There are only three cinema screens. Cinema one is huge - a great place to catch a blockbuster. Cinema two and three are accessed on silk street. These are much smaller and the seats are incredibly comfortable.
The barbican is fabulous - one of those establishments that embraces all art forms, making them accessible to everyone. I've seen Waiting For Godot here, the ballet, Winton Marsalis.. I think your soul is made richer just standing next to that beautiful concrete slab by osmosis!
Love this building. Plenty of exhibitions plus concerts and cinemas. Many places to have food so you can spend all day there. Nice terrace to have lunch in a sunny day
The Barbican is always worth a visit if you are in the area, regardless of what's on. It's a beautiful complex which has so much to see, both inside and outside. I always wonder who lives around the Barbican as I understand the apartments / flats that surround it are housing designers / artists / locals which adds to its community feel.
This brutalism monster might seem scary on the first visit but the more you see it the more you love it! Ageing has definitely made it more special and in combination with the new activities it hosts, it's one of the most important cultural centres London is offering. Any kind of art exhibition can be found here from time to time, as well as theatre, music and cinema shows. And all of them always carefully selected and with special prices for young and older people. Even if you're not interested in anything that's on, visiting is still an experience itself -as it feels like a journey to the past- and you can always enjoy sitting at the ground floor cafeteria by the ponds or even next to them when it's sunny!
Check out my review of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at The Barbican Centre: http://eatwearwander.com/2014/06/30/sidewalk-to-catwalk/
I would love to do a gig here as this is London's answer to Carnegie hall on 7th Avenue. It is however sad to read the comments from the dissatisfied bride below. So anyone getting married in London should have a look at recommended venues: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIB4nvvLkNk Notwitstanding, the Barbican does other things very well and is worth a visit.
I had a lovely wedding, the location was spectacular and I had a fantastic day as did all my guests. It ended rather abruptly though with the music being turned off at 11 on the dot. I can hardly complain, but I do have some serious complaints regarding the service. The food at the wedding was a much lower quality than what I was served at my tasting. The appetiser, which had been lovely at the tasting, held no resemblance to what I was served at my wedding and the creme brulée instead of being luscious and creamy as it had been at the tasting, was a stiff gelatine. After the wedding the staff didn't pack up my crockery hire correctly which made me lose my deposit and they were completely unremorseful about it, ignoring my emails and not helpful at all. The cherry on top of the cake, 2 months after the wedding, after we had settle all accounts the wedding planner started bothering us for another 600 pounds. We had spent the budget, the invoices had all been settled and he was haggling us for more money. Quite unprofessional.
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