The Barbican is to open a new creative centre in Hackney Wick where theatre practitioners will be able to develop new work for
performances at the London venue.
Joining forces with workspace innovators The Trampery, the
Barbican is launching Fish Island Labs, a creative hub designed
to kickstart careers across both technology and the arts.
The building will provide 50 emerging practitioners with
support and guidance during a 10-month residency in which they will develop work from physical performance to digital art. The Barbican will also run regular learning workshops and projects for artists.
Performers will have the opportunity to present their work at the Barbican, with the project’s organisers hoping to build on the success of last year’s Hack the Barbican. This saw the theatre’s foyer spaces used for a month to present installations, workshops, performances and discussions.
“We are hoping for really inventive uses of Barbican public space, such as the foyers and even the lifts,” said Sidd Khajuria, digital content producer at the Barbican.
Based in a Victorian warehouse beside the river Lea, the Fish
Island Labs will be split into three spaces: private studios, a co-working space and a performance space, which will hold events throughout the project.
“I would encourage theatre to be at the heart of what we’re doing at Fish Island. But it’s also a flexible space that will be able to be used for all kinds of performances and exhibitions,” said Khajuria.
He explained that the Fish Island Labs will host shows and exhibitions initially for the project’s 10-month span, but added that organisers are not ruling out a continuation of the format.
“If this entrepreneurial approach to supporting developing talent is successful, we may explore how this model could work in the longer term,” he said.