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Students perform at the Barbican

28th March 2017

Performing arts and acting students from Barking & Dagenham College have appeared on stage at leading international arts centre, the Barbican.

The 26 students were taking part in this year’s Barbican Box Theatre, an innovative six-month arts programme from Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning. They were asked to come up with original performances inspired by objects collated in a box by the biggest repertory theatre company in the Netherlands, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, and its renowned director Ivo van Hove, who are staging Obsession starring Jude Law at the Barbican from 19 April - 20 May. This year the Box featured items such as the final monologue of Angels in America, a piece previously staged by van Hove and Toneelgroep Amsterdam, elastic bands, a key, a conductors baton, a blindfold and five ties.

Forming two groups, the students have worked on their ideas since January. Taking their inspiration from the monologue which featured themes such as fear, order and justice, the performing arts students created a piece entitled ‘Keep to the left’, based around the idea of how rules and laws in different societies impact on people’s lives. The acting students created a piece called ‘Where do I start?’ which looked at societal expectations and judgements and how they can create fear.

The students joined others from schools and colleges across East London, to perform in front of a packed audience of friends, family, and invited guests, including representatives from Toneelgroep Amsterdam.

Becki Spindloe, Lecturer in Performing Arts at the College said:

“This has been such an incredible experience for the students. Many have since said to me that they never thought they would have the chance to take part in such a brilliant project. A lot of the students had never performed in front of an audience before, so for their debut to be at the Barbican is very special. They have all thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Thomas Hardy, Senior Manager, Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning said:

“We’re thrilled with the work created by Barking and Dagenham College students. Barbican Box turns the Barbican’s world-class arts programme into unforgettable learning experiences for students across east London, helping to embed arts and creativity across the national curriculum and it was great to work with such a talented group of young people.”

The students will be performing their pieces again this week, on Friday 31st March, at the Broadway as part of the FREE two-day family event, ‘Barbican at the Broadway’ festival. For more information please visit or

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