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Tamasha’s Barbican Box is available for schools to use again in future – please contact the Tamasha office for more details.

Tamasha takes on the Barbican Box

Tamasha had the honour of being asked to design the 2018 Barbican Box, a long-running schools project led by the Barbican which engages over 20 state secondary schools in London, Essex and Manchester.

Each year, a different guest theatre company is invited to design the contents of a trunk-sized box, which is filled with inspiring and unusual objects and texts aimed at stimulating young people’s imaginations, and empowering them to create their own piece of theatre, which is in some way influenced by the approach to theatremaking of the guest company. 

Tamasha’s Barbican Box introduced the world of Leila & Justice, Inc., two teenage detectives who can’t afford university so set up a detective agency instead. The box contains everything from the tools of their trade (listening devices and night vision goggles), items of clothing belonging to ‘Persons of Interest’, case files, evidence bags, a map of their local area and other intriguing scraps of information. Our box didn’t write any stories for the students using it, but was instead designed to stimulate their own imaginations so that they could create their own plots and characters set within the Leila & Justice world, in productions directed by their teachers.

A team of writers from the Tamasha Playwrights group worked with Artistic Director Fin Kennedy and Producer Alex Towers to develop the Box and its contents, with the box itself designed by Jean Chan. The short film below gives an overview of the process and how students and teachers got on: