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London’s Barbican Extends Closure, Focuses on Digital Offer

The Barbican presents Viviana Durante Company,
Jane Hobson/Shutterstock

Leading London cultural center The Barbican has extended its temporary closure until June 30, but in the meantime it is focusing on its online program.

Nicholas Kenyon, The Barbican’s managing director, said: “Having reviewed the current government advice and looking at how long social distancing measures are likely to be in place, we feel we’re very unlikely to be open until at least the end of June.”

Among the performances to be affected will be Ivo van Hove directing the U.K. premiere of his theatrical adaptation of “Death in Venice,” as well as an appearance by Brazilian singer-songwriter Gilberto Gil. Recent shows at the venue include “Voices,” a new work by composer Max Richter, and “Isadora Now,” a tribute to the American dancer Isadora Duncan.

Until the center reopens, the staff will continue “to focus on our digital offer, as we look to bring the best of The Barbican to audiences online,” Kenyon said.

The Barbican is promoting its archive of digital content, which is available for everyone to access for free. This includes the Barbican Sessions, which capture musicians playing at the venue; the Nothing Concrete podcast, which explores music, cinema, visual art, theater and architecture; and articles and videos inspired by the center’s international arts program.

The Barbican, which opened in 1982, is one of the U.K. top venues for dance, film, music, theater and the visual arts. Over a million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite.

It is home to London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, as well as Boy Blue, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company. It is also the London venue for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.