As a hub of exciting and innovative arts in the city, the Barbican Centre has a thrilling listing of events on this autumn. Just a short distance from the Montcalm London City Hotel, it’s a fantastic place to visit, whether you’d like to catch a relaxing art exhibition or talk on a rainy day, or watch a once in a lifetime performance from some of the world’s best stage artists.
Read on to discover the highlights of what’s on offer, this September.
Margaret Atwood: Live in Cinemas
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has been one of the most significant works of literature in the twentieth century, and the immense popularity of the recent TV adaptation has shown just how important and relevant it still remains. This special event celebrates the launch of the hotly awaited sequel and features an interview with the writer, broadcast live to the screen.
The live interview is a great way to hear the author’s own perspective on why the original novel has proved to be such a momentous work of art through recent decades, and what has led to her returning to the story, 34 years after the original publication.
Canaletto and the Art of Venice
If you’ve ever visited Venice, or find yourself daydreaming about exploring its famous canals and architecture, this beautiful exhibition gives you a chance to get away for an afternoon. Featuring the work of the city’s most famous view painter, Canaletto, you can discover over 200 works of art, including paintings, drawings and prints.
As a unique exhibition on film, you’ll also be treated to the Italian painter’s own perspective of some of the historic sights around Britain, including the two official royal residences, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Anime’s Human Machines: Workshops and screenings
Throughout September, the Barbican Centre will be host to a wide range of workshops and special screenings celebrating the art of Japanese Anime, and its depiction of the relationship between humans and machines. The season of events has something to offer for everyone.
There will be creative workshops where you can learn to draw an anime-inspired avatar of yourself or turn an everyday machine into a lively character. The Barbican will also be screening eight important films from the anime genre, including the ground-breaking film, Ghost in the Shell, to the children’s favourite, Patlabor.
If you plan to visit one of the events on during the month with children, the Montcalm London City Hotel provides the perfect family-friendly base to stay close by, with comfortable and great value packages.
The Barbican Centre is a fantastic place to enjoy a dance performance, with its own distinctive architecture and striking appeal. This September, the celebrated dance troupe, Boy Blue, put on a series of thrilling performances at the centre, with a striking show about those moments in life that can change the course of events forever. The troupe have previously put on performances all over the world, and earned an acclaimed Olivier Award.
Combining a hip-hop score with bold, contemporary choreography, the performance will definitely make you think and leave you stunned. The show does feature some darker themes, so be wary if you are taking younger viewers, and adult supervision is always helpful. The show will be running throughout the month, so be sure to book ahead.
Jesmonite trivet workshop, with Daniela Rubino
For something a little different, try this relaxing workshop for a fun afternoon of creativity. Working with the London-based designer, Daniela Rubino, you’ll be guided through the process of making some colourful coasters for yourself, using terrazzo effect techniques.
Suitable for all levels, including beginners, you don’t need to be an expert crafts person to get involved. Instead, embrace the mess and get stuck in with your hands – just make sure to dress appropriately, as you will undoubtedly get splattered with colour!
This two-hour workshop takes place in the Barbican Shop and is easy to access from the main Level G inside the centre. If you’re staying at one of the hotels near Old Street Station, this can be a convenient and enjoyable activity to try out, without having to venture too far afield.
Respect to Aretha
The Barbican Centre pays tribute to one of the foremost stars of soul music, the inimitable Aretha Franklin, with this one-off concert showcasing her legendary music.
It’s more than just a celebration of soul, however, as it also features some of the most exciting contemporary artists, as part of the evening’s celebrations. Expect to get dancing with high energy performances from Antibalas, an Afro-beat collective, the celebrated jazz singer, Zara MacFarlane, and emerging star, Alice Russell.
The event takes place in the main hall, and it’s always a good idea to plan your visit ahead of time, as it can get busy with crowds. You’ll find the Barbican Hall, where this event takes place, easy to access from the centre’s main level. The space is fully accessible, with wheelchair spaces, induction loops for those with hearing aids, and spaces where assistance dogs can be taken into the venue. If you’re travelling with any special requirements, it’s always a good idea to contact them beforehand to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.
And if you’re planning to come up just for the show, make your night more comfortable with a stay in one of the nearby hotels near Liverpool Street Station.
Tronchetto pizza workshop
If you’re a fan of pizza - and let’s be honest, who isn’t - then this members’ only event at the Barbican is guaranteed to be a session of mouth-watering fun. You’ll be guided by the Barbican’s own head chef through the art of making a Tronchetto pizza, a delicious stuffed pizza made in a distinctive shape.
As well as learning exclusive culinary secrets from a pro, you’ll also be able to indulge in your creations afterwards, so keep the pre-workshop snacks to a minimum to make sure you can make the most of it!