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Performance group at The Barbican Centre

Engaging students in active research skills with Complicité

UAL and Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning collaborate to deliver this 1 day of continuing professional development for teachers and creative educators. This development day will help you spark the imagination of your students, invigorating them in active research about topics they might not have considered.

Working with Joyce Henderson from Complicité, we will explore learning from the Barking Nuns programme where secondary students of Sydney Russell School developed a performance of theatricalised research exploring the role of women in religion throughout the history of Barking.

Using basic physical stage craft and discussing what kind of story we want to tell, we will learn how to construct a piece of theatre through play, the body in space and ensemble skills. By casting the net wide and gathering information, we will look at how to turn historical fact into theatre for today that also includes the desires of the participants.

The ideas, thinking and activities from the day will be collated into a digital resource for participants to use, draw upon and develop back in the classroom.

Learning outcomes

  • Exploring ways of working in a cross-curricular nature strengthening links between school departments.
  • Developing ensemble skills that inspire and incubate research findings.
  • Encouraging student ownership over research materials and development.
  • Insight into how to use Complicité techniques to inspire and bring to life students’ critical research skills
  • Strategies to improve student engagement by embracing the unexpected, experimentation and discovery

Who should attend?

Ideal for those who teach performing arts and creative arts qualifications at the following levels:

  • GCSE
  • AS Level
  • A Level
  • UAL Awarding Body (Levels 1–4)
  • BTEC.

Exclusive offer for UAL Awarding Body approved centres

Book your place(s) more than 2 weeks before the course start date and we’ll pay for travel to London for up to 3 members of staff per centre. Simply drop us an email once you’ve booked and we’ll arrange train travel for you:

Availability for the courses are on a first come, first served basis.


Date to be confirmed

Time: 10am - 5pm

Venue: St Ethelburga/Barbican Centre

Price: £99

To express interest please email

About the facilitators

Joyce Henderson

Joyce trained with Jacques Lecoq in Paris. She has been as Associate of Complicité since 1992 and appeared in The Street of Crocodiles and The Magic Flute. Joyce has been teaching for Complicité in schools, colleges and community groups all over the world, and worked extensively on the Barbican Box project for schools in East London.

Movement Direction includes Noises Off (Lyric, Hammersmith/West End), The Outsider (Printroom), King Lear (Old Vic), Amedée (Birmingham Rep), Julius Caesar (Barbican), Dido and Aeneas (Vienna Festival) and projects with the RSC, NT and West Yorkshire Playhouse. She also assisted on the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2012.

In 2018 Joyce teamed up with Contemporary Dancer, Julie Cunningham to co-direct Crave by Sarah Kane at The Pit and M/y a new choreographic work for Sadler’s Wells.

Acting credits include, Draw me Close (NT), Running Wild (Regent’s Park), Death In Venice (ENO), The Cherry Orchard (Birmingham Rep), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe), Medea (West End & Broadway), Sherlock Holmes in Trouble (Manchester Royal Exchange), Volpone, and The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie (both NT). Film credits include, The Last Photograph, The Queen, Burke and Hare, About A Boy and Stella Does Tricks.


Founded in 1983, Complicité is an international theatre company based in London led by Artistic Director Simon McBurney (OBE). The Company has won over 50 major theatre awards worldwide. Complicité’s recent work includes The Encounter, Beware of Pity, The Master and Margarita, Shun-kin and A Disappearing Number. The Company also runs an award-winning Creative Learning and Participation programme.

“Complicité’s vision – to create work that strengthens human interconnection, using the complicity between the performer and the audience that is at the heart of the theatrical experience – has never been more urgent at this time where violent division has become the norm.

We live in a moment of unprecedented, sometimes brutal and ever accelerating change. Pushing the limits of artistic experiment, which has always been key to the Company’s vision, is a vital tool in unlocking the most urgent and crucial questions of our times, challenging and excavating conventional accepted norms.

Complicité continues to work across art forms, believing theatre, opera, film, installation, publication, radio, community art, social media and the internet can all be sites for this collective act of imagination. Working across all these forms, the Company creates new interfaces and breaks down barriers and old categorisations between them, opening up multiple possibilities.”

Simon McBurney, 2019

Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning

Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning supports people of all ages and backgrounds to develop creative skills for life and access world-class arts for free.

Ranging from workshops, events and talent development programmes that give people their first taste of the arts, to those that enable existing artists to push the boundaries of their practice, all Creative Learning programmes are designed to bring people together and equip them with new skills and confidence.

Every year, we deliver more than 40 programmes and events – nationally and internationally - alongside 150 partners to more than 22,000 participants, including children, young people, families, teachers and artists across our cutting-edge Creative Learning programme at the Barbican, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and out in the community.

Need an invoice?

If you work for a UAL Awarding Body approved centre and require an invoice to be raised for your booking, please email