Barbican brings back Concerts On Demand and announces new films on Cinema On Demand alongside more digital content

With England currently in lockdown, the Barbican today announces a new programme of music and films On Demand, alongside fresh and existing digital content, inspired by the Barbican’s international arts programme. A curated mix of streams, podcasts, playlists, films, videos, talks and articles enables audiences to continue to enjoy the Centre’s rich and varied programme from home or on the go during its temporary closure and beyond.

Digital content is available via the Barbican’s website through Read, Watch & ListenCinema On DemandConcerts On DemandLive from the Barbican and its social media channels (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify). In addition, podcasts can also be accessed by subscribing to the Nothing Concrete podcast via AcastSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Highlights of the Barbican’s current and upcoming digital content include:

  • Concerts as part of the acclaimed Live from the Barbican series in 2020 are available via Concerts On Demand from 9 Feb until 24 Mar 2021. Included are performances from celebrated artists who reflect the wide spectrum of the Barbican’s distinct music offer:
  • Nubya Garcia [pictured]The Divine Comedy, Emmy the Great, Richard DawsonSEED EnsembleIan Bostridge and Dame Sarah ConnollyShabaka Hutchings, Barbican’s Associate Orchestra and Ensembles BBC Symphony OrchestraAcademy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia
  • Also available On Demand are two seminal performances by the Barbican’s Resident Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra recorded at the Barbican in 2015 and 2017
  • An excerpt from the Olivier-Award nominated work, Blak Whyte Gray, performed by Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue and filmed at the Barbican Theatre, will feature in a three-part boxset Dancing Nation, available on BBC iPlayer and Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage until Fri 26 Feb 2021
  • Inspired – the Barbican’s Theatre and Dance in-conversation podcast series – returns, with the latest episode just released. This sees some of the amazing artists who work with us paired with Barbican young artists, sharing their personal stories about the influences that impact their work creatively
  • A full programme of exclusive films and ScreenTalks on Cinema On Demand including Martine Deyres’s 2019 documentary Our Lucky Hours in anticipation of the Barbican Art Gallery’s exhibition Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty
  • As part of the Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning’s programme Subject to Change: New Horizons, interdisciplinary artist Mandisa Apena and Tice Cin have released: “cos now im missing our touchhh“, a new musical score and video exploring the loss of nightclubs and queer nightlife in the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • The annual literary festival New Suns returns entirely online from Fri 5 – Sun 7 Mar 2021 for a weekend of talks, workshops and a film centred around feminist storytelling

The Barbican believes in creating space for people and ideas to connect through its international arts programme, community events and learning activity. To keep its programme accessible to everyone, and to keep investing in the artists it works with, the Barbican needs to raise more than 60% of its income through ticket sales, commercial activities and fundraising every year. Donations can be made here:

Full details of digital content below.


Barbican Concerts On Demand available from Tue 9 Feb until Wed 24 Mar 2021

A range of concerts that have already taken place as part of the Barbican’s successful autumn 2020 concert series Live from the Barbican have just been made available to re-watch on  Concerts On Demand until 24 Mar 2021.

Live from the Barbican was first devised during the summer of 2020 when it became apparent that, due to the pandemic, the Centre’s music season could not go ahead as planned in the autumn. A new series was born which, for the first time, made Barbican concerts accessible online for a global digital audience through a livestream and, also, for a reduced, socially distanced live audience in the Barbican Hall. This hybrid experience, developed and delivered entirely in-house, has enabled the Barbican to bring music to its audiences during a difficult year, and, to also support artists and partner organisations during the pandemic. The Barbican is now pleased to be able to bring back a range of these autumn performances as part of the On Demand offer at a time when it had to postpone its planned Spring 2021 series of concerts.

Concerts On Demand are all available to access here. Tickets are £12.50 for new bookers and half price for those who booked tickets to watch the concerts originally. Discounted tickets at £5 are available to 14–25-year-olds through the Young Barbican scheme. Once tickets are bought, audiences have 48 hours to watch the concert.

Please find a list of Live from the Barbican – Concerts On Demand on offer in date order below and also here

The Divine Comedy: Live from the Barbican

Original performance date: 14 Oct 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Produced by the Barbican

Emmy the Great: Live from the Barbican
Original performance date: 17 Oct 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Produced by the Barbican

Richard Dawson: Live from the Barbican
Original performance date: 25 Oct 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Produced by the Barbican

Nubya Garcia: Live from the Barbican

Original performance date: 29 Oct 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm
On Demand Tickets £12.50

Produced by the Barbican

Ian Bostridge / Dame Sarah Connolly

Mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, tenor Ian Bostridge, piano Julius Drake, Carducci Quartet

Original performance date: 1 Nov 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Produced by the Barbican

BBC SO/Oramo: Live from the Barbican

Soprano Anu Komsi, conductor Sakari Oramo, BBC Symphony Orchestra,

Original performance date: Fri 6 Nov 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Anna Clyne: Within Her Arms

Haydn: Symphony No 49 La Passione

Magnus Lindberg: Accused (world premiere of chamber orchestra version)

Co-produced by the Barbican and BBC SO

SEED Ensemble and Special Guests Celebrating the music of Pharoah Sanders: Live from the Barbican

Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2020

Original performance date: 14 Nov 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Co-produced by the Barbican and Serious in association with EFG London Jazz Festival

Shabaka Hutchings with Britten Sinfonia: Live from the Barbican

Part of EFG London Jazz Festival 2020

Original performance date: 18 Nov 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Copland Clarinet Concerto

Stravinsky Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet

Copland Appalachian Spring 

Co-produced by the Barbican and Britten Sinfonia

The Cosmos with Professor Brian Cox & BBC SO

presenter Professor Brian Cox, conductor Dalia Stasevska, BBC Symphony Orchestra

Original performance date: 13 Dec 2020, Barbican Hall, 8pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Sibelius arr. Iain Farrington: Symphony No. 5 Mov. 3

Ives: The Unanswered Question

Mahler arr. Michelle Castelletti: Symphony No.10 Mov. 1
Co-produced by the Barbican and BBC SO

Handel’s Messiah – Academy of Ancient Music / Egarr

Original performance date: 19 Dec 2020, Barbican Hall, 7pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Co-produced by the Barbican and the Academy of Ancient Music

London Symphony Orchestra

Barbican audiences get the chance to re-watch two great concerts by its Resident Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, as part of its On Demand programme, which will be available till 24 March 2021.

Michael Tilson Thomas 70th Birthday Gala

pianist Yuja Wang, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, London Symphony Orchestra,

Original performance date: Thu 12 Mar 2015, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

On Demand Tickets £12.50

Colin Matthews: Hidden Variables
Gershwin: Concerto in F
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

The LSO’s Conductor Laureate and former Principal Guest Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas celebrated his 70th birthday at the Barbican in 2015 with a pair of concerts focusing on British and Russian music, but with a nod to his native USA.  In both concerts he was joined by the pianist Yuja Wang in Gershwin’s popular Concerto in F.

This is Rattle
conductor Sir Simon Rattle, London Symphony Orchestra
Original performance date: Thu 21 Sep 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm On Demand Tickets £12.50

Stravinsky: The Firebird (original ballet)
Stravinsky: Petrushka (1947 version)
StravinskyThe Rite of Spring

An authority on Stravinsky, Sir Simon Rattle continued the 2017/18 season opening ‘This is Rattle’ celebrations with three of the composer’s revolutionary ballets. Stravinsky sent shockwaves through classical music in the 20th century. His first three ballets – The FirebirdPetrushka and The Rite of Spring, all composed between 1911 and 1913 – brought a new and frenzied sense of rhythm, so distressing to audiences that it caused uproar; The Rite of Spring even caused a riot.

From our partners

British baritone James Newby’s song recital as part of the ECHO Rising Stars Festival is now available to watch again for free via Read, Watch & Listen on the Barbican’s website. James Newby is the Barbican’s ECHO (European Concert Halls Organisation) nominee. The recital took place at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg on 28 January 2021.

The Guildhall School alumnus, ECHO Rising Star, BBC New Generation Artist, Kathleen Ferrier Award winner and member of the Hanover State Opera’s ensemble presents a selection of atmospheric Lieder by Clara and Robert Schumann. He is accompanied by pianist Marcelo Amaral. James Newby’s debut album with pianist Joseph Middleton I wonder as I wander came out in 2020.

James’s London ECHO recital was due to take place at Milton Court Concert Hall in January this year but had to be postponed due to the current lockdown restrictions.


In February Cinema On Demand brings together an exclusive programme of worldwide, bold, independent films for audiences to enjoy at home, while the venues remain closed.

Preceding the Barbican Art Gallery’s exhibition Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty, Barbican Cinema On Demand will host an exclusive presentation of Martine Deyres’s 2019 documentary Our Lucky Hours (19 Feb – 31 Mar), including a live ScreenTalk between art historian Sarah Lombardi, director of the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne and Ben Platts-Mills, who works with artists with disabilities in London and has supported the development of Hackney-based inclusive art studio, Submit To Love. The live ScreenTalk will take place on Thu 11 Mar at 7pm.

In this thought provoking documentary, photos, archival footage and sound recordings tell the story of a pioneering psychiatric institution in 1930s France. The asylum was radically re-thought, with doctors, patients and nurses working side by side to run the facility, with the support of the local community. Patients were respected and integrated and individually supported. They took up roles in the hospital kitchen and on local farms, they published a newspaper, and many pursued flourishing visual art practices.

During the Second World War, the asylum also sheltered refugees and Resistance fighters, among them such figures from the Parisian avant-garde as Paul Éluard, Tristan Tzara, Georges Sadoul and Georges Canguilhem. At the end of the war, another visitor was Jean Dubuffet, whose discovery there of the sculptures by patient and artist Auguste Forestier supported his elaboration of the notion of ‘Art Brut’.

Other exclusive highlights on Cinema On Demand during February include:

Cat in the Wall (Dirs Mina Mileva & Vesela Kazakova), set on a South London council estate – in which a Bulgarian family gets into conflict with their neighbours due to an abandoned cat – it’s a striking and provocative drama about the aftermath of the Brexit vote. Screening as part of the New East cinema programme, the film is followed by a recorded ScreenTalk with directors Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova.

Screening as part of Forbidden Colours – a Barbican Cinema strand celebrating queer films from places where LGBTQ+ people continue to face oppression – is Several Conversations about a Very Tall Girl (Dir Bogdan Theodor Olteanu), a sensitive Romanian romance in which two young women – one out and proud, the other less confident – begin a tentative affair.

Following on from its sold out screening in Cinema 1 in December, as part of Barbican

Cinema’s Emerging Film Curators’ programme, Reframing the Fat Body (Dirs various) makes its online debut. In this programme of shorts, writer and curator Grace Barber-Plentie celebrates the bigger body; here fat bodies are freed from the constraints put upon them by modern society and allowed to be fluid, free, sexy and radical. This programme features a recorded ScreenTalk with film curator Tara Brown and co-founder of The Fat Zine, Chloe Sheppard, hosted by Grace Barber-Plentie.

Also available are The Capote Tapes (Dir Ebs Burnough) which explores the social rise and fall of Truman Capote, the infamous American writer; Song Without a Name (Dir Melina Léon), which follows a woman’s journey to get her stolen baby back, taken from her just after child birth; and Shahrbanoo Sadat’s tender film The Orphanageabout a young boy in 1980s Afghanistan, who is sent to a Soviet orphanage and finds himself in a complex social hierarchy.

For families and younger audiences there’s Creepy Crawly Films for Families (Dirs various), a compilation of fun shorts celebrating all that’s creepy and crawly in the ground.

Cinema On Demand is available to audiences across the UK with a rolling four-week programme of titles and events that reflect the Barbican’s international cinema programme.

Barbican Cinema has been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England which is administered by the BFI, as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund supporting arts and cultural organisations in England affected by the impact of COVID-19. #HereForCulture


Inspired Series 2

Inspired is the Barbican’s Theatre and Dance in-conversation podcast series in which some of the amazing artists who work with us share their personal stories about the influences that impact their work creatively. Part of the Barbican’s Nothing Concrete podcast, the first Inspired series was released weekly in September 2020. This new Inspired series, released weekly from the beginning of February, pairs Barbican young artists with those that inspire them.

In episode 1 interdisciplinary artist Riwa Saab talks to writer and director Kirsty Housley about her extensive career in theatre, the craft of dramaturgy and directing, and the political nature of her work.

In episode 2 Barbican Young Poet Amani Saeed talks to storyteller Amrou Al-Kadhi about gender identity and drag performance.

In episode 3 sound artist and composer Rebekah Alero talks to vocalist, movement artist and composer Elaine Mitchener about improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art.

In episode 4 author Rogan Graham talks to actress and writer Susan Wokoma about acting and activism.

In episode 5 multidisciplinary practitioner Gabriel Akamo, and writer and performer Jeremiah Brown talk to actor Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù about his career, heritage and legacy.

Blak Whyte Gray

Co-commissioned and co-produced by the Barbican, Blak Whyte Gray by Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue premiered at the Barbican in 2017 and was restaged here in 2018 due to demand. Created by co-artistic directors Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, an extract from the piece, Whyte, is available on BBC iPlayer and Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage until Fri 26 Feb 2021. This fierce, bold and galvanising dance work, set to a multilayered electronic score, reflects themes of identity, oppression and transcendence. The time is once again right to ask questions, to break free from a system that isn’t working, to emerge on the other side to an awakening – a return to roots, a celebration of culture.


Subject to Change: January 2021 commission

As part of Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning’s programme Subject to Change: New Horizons, interdisciplinary artists Mandisa Apena and Tice Cin have released: “cos now im missing our touchhh“, a new musical score and video exploring the loss of nightclubs and queer nightlife in the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The work can be viewed here.

The audio of Mandisa & Tice’s track uses ASMR sounds of their own breath and laughter to create the drumline, mixed together with a collage of video snippets of clubbing scenes and people dancing. The piece aims to illustrate how nightclubs can be a vital space for deep healing, the excitement of being openly queer and feeling united through digital spaces, mutual love and understanding. Through this work, Mandisa & Tice hope to show queer club culture during lockdown and chatroom bonding, celebrate togetherness through technology, as well as making note of the physical spaces that they miss so much, and the way lack of touch has affected them.

The Subject to Change: New Horizons programme commissions a different young creative, each month for a year, to produce new and powerful artistic work responding to the uncertain times in which we are living. Mandisa & Tice’s piece is the seventh in the series. New work will be shared every month on the Barbican’s website and social media channels until June 2021.


Experience the 2021 programme of the New Suns Feminist Literature Festival from home

The annual literary festival New Suns returns for a weekend of talks, workshops and a film centred around feminist storytelling. The weekend will feature acclaimed writers, activists, artists, and academics including adrienne maree brown, Season Butler and Dorothea Lasky. This third edition of the festival, running from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 March 2021, will take place entirely online for the first time. New Suns is a co-production between the Barbican and independent publisher and curator Sarah Shin

This year’s New Suns will look to the legacy of eminent science-fiction author Octavia Butler, to explore the power we have to both sustain and change the world around us, and how to commune with others. In particular, New Suns will reflect on Butler’s prophetic, unfinished Earthseed series, which imagines Earth in the 2020s ravaged by ecological disaster and violent divisions.

The festival will navigate the books’ central themes, such as the inevitability of change, community-building, examinations of race and gender, and humanity’s relationship to the cosmos. For the first time, there will be a limited edition New Suns anthology booklet to purchase which includes an extract from Octavia Butler’s book The Parable of the Sower; poetry by Dorothea Lasky and Daisy Lafarge; guides for self-reflection and meditation; as well as herbal recipes for strength and healing to enjoy this spring and beyond. The anthology is accompanied by thyme seeds and instructions on how to use the herb beyond the culinary.

More information about the programme and how to book tickets can be found here.