Barbican Centre ramps up digital offerings for lockdown 2.0

(L-r) MAX RECORDS as Max with KW (voiced by LAUREN AMBROSE) in Warner Bros. Pictures', Legendary Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' "Where The Wild Things Are," distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Arts and Culture institutions all over London were finally reopening, offering up all the theatre shows, dance performances and art exhibitions we could dream of – of course, with all the socially distancing. But that’s all ending now. No more going out. It’s time to hunker down and live that at-home life.

But the Barbican Centre isn’t calling it quits. Since the first lockdown, they’ve really ramped up their digital offerings, and they are continuing to push all of this throughout the next few months.

Their evergreen online content is still up and running – expect podcasts, talks, long-read articles, streamed films and even the occasional musical performance. You don’t have to rely on reruns of Friends and Drag Race to get through autumn and winter.

Just check out their website and social media channels for all the updates beyond what we have below – as the Barbican Centre’s cultural offerings are only going to get better and better over the coming weeks.

Family Activities

Entertaining the kids at home is going to be a struggle. That’s why so many are turning to workshops, short films, recommendations and activities, inspired by the Barbican’s usual programme. The Masculinities: Liberation Through Photography exhibition may be over now, but the online workshops exploring themes around gender performance are still available for free. You can even go on a virtual tour of the old exhibit too.

The children’s film club has even set up some really fun online workshops. You can learn how to make your own Where the Wild Things Are costume, create your own My Neighbour Totoro paper puppets, play a Wizard of Oz family board game and do some James and the Giant Peach animation.

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Masculinities: Liberation through Photography may be over but you can still take a tour of the exhibit online. Photo by Tristan Fewings.

And we are all about the M-SET Activity Book which instructs kids on how to put on their own play from home. This step-by-step guide is packed with great ideas to make a multi-sensory show at home. Learn how to transform furniture, toys, utensils and clothing into sets, props, sound and lighting effects, to bring your stories to life.

The fully illustrated activity book is ideal for children of any age. Let your imagination take flight and share photos or videos of your creations on social media using the hashtag #BringingTheatreHome

Created by M-SET, the Activity Book has been specially commissioned by the Barbican for families during the Covid-19 pandemic. M-SET’s recent production of To The Moon and Back played to sell-out houses in The Pit, Barbican in December 2019 and has been nominated for an Olivier Award.

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The live audiences won’t be present but the shows will go on

Live from the Barbican

In October, live music returned to the Barbican Hall as they brought a series of concerts in front of a socially distanced, reduced audience that was live streamed online.

These shows were hugely popular and there are still a few scheduled for the rest of November. And they have just confirmed that the last few performances will go ahead, just without a. live audience. Check their website to find more info about signing up to the streamed performances.

Expect to see BBC Symphony Orchestra, Shabaka Hutchings & Britten Sonfonia as well as the SEED Ensemble & guests. The Seed Ensemble should be celebrating the music of Pharoah Sanders, to coincide with the EFG London Jazz Festival.

Cinema On Demand

The Barbican Cinema is shut but they have taken to the web with their new streamed film service. Check out some independent new release films, exclusive one-off titles and curated film seasons to stream at your own leisure with Cinema On Demand.

And It’s super straightforward to use. Take a look at the films on offer, add a film to your basket and log in or create an account (as with any other event). From then, you’ll have 48-hours to watch your film. There’s no long-term commitment. You only pay for the film you want to see.

New Releases include Totally Under Control, Alex Gibney’s groundbreaking documentary that takes an in-depth look at how the US government bungled the response to the Covid-19 outbreak during the early months of the pandemic.

Maya Newell’s compassionate documentary In My Blood It Runs made from the perspective of a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy in Alice Springs, who is struggling to balance his traditional Arrernte/Garrwa upbringing with a modern state education is also one not to miss. This list of films will only continue to grow as time goes on so keep an eye out for updates.

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