The Barbican Centre is the largest performing arts centre in Europe. It was built by the City of London in 1982 as a gift to the nation. It was designed in the Brutalist style, made of concrete and with a complex, multi-level layout. Its looks tend to divide opinion, with some people being impressed with its size and scale, while others just find it ugly!
The Barbican has 3 main performance spaces, which are air-conditioned. The largest is the Hall, which seats 1949, and is the home of the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The Theatre seats 1156 and the Pit holds 200. There are 3 restaurants in the building and there are cafes and bars in the foyers, serving sandwiches, snacks, soft drinks and alcohol.
The Centre has a wide-ranging international arts programme. It hosts a variety of musical productions including classical, contemporary, jazz and world music. The Theatre was intended to be the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, but they left in 2002 to develop their touring performances. It now provides a year-long platform for playwrights and companies from around the world to showcase their work. Some of its in-house productions include The Black Rider, starring Marianne Faithful in 2004, and Julius Caesar, starring Ralph Fiennes in 2005.
All the venues have seating for wheelchair users and the main entrance at Silk Street has a ramp and a lift to all levels. The Hall has an induction loop and the Theatre and Pit both have a radio network system with headsets for the hard of hearing.
If you’re coming by tube, it’s best to get off at Barbican or Moorgate station and follow the signs to the Barbican (250m). If you’re coming by car, the Centre has 4 car parks; 2 off Beech Street (westbound access only) and 2 off Silk Street. There is a charge for using them, except for blue badge holders, who can park for free.
In our travels around the web, we found these Barbican Theatre web pages useful. Contact us at email@example.com to list your favourite Barbican Theatre website here.
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