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Urban Stories @ the Barbican

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Perhaps because it's a little hidden away, events at the Barbican sometimes fail to get the publicity they deserve, or if they do, people might shirk at actually committing to a show simply because they're not sure where it is.

The thing is, it really isn't out of the way at all, and is actually well served by a number of tube lines (Circle, Metropolitan, and Hammersmith & City), so there's really no excuse not to spend some time investigating its offerings.

For starters, you might want to consider Urban Stories, a free two-day event taking place over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of March.

Urban Stories at the Barbican Centre forms part of Music Nation, a countrywide series of events being organised by the BBC as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad for the London Olympics.

All events at Urban Stories are free, and cover the whole gamut of entertainment genres, including dance, theatre and music.

The event features an exciting FreeStage programme, with performances put on by a group of young east London drummers, and poetry readings by the Barbican Young Poets.

There'll also be plenty of opportunities to get involved and try something new, with classes given by the likes of street dance aficionados Boy Blue Entertainment.

While wandering around the Barbican Centre, keep your eyes peeled for flashmob performances given by Streets United, putting on free running displays for your enjoyment.

If you feel like expressing your creative side, be sure to join the free graffiti workshop, or sign up for a session designing and decorating bags with urban-style artwork.

Even the little ones will be catered for, with two- to five-year-old toddlers invited to visit the Barbican's Pit Theatre where they can enjoy a performance by German children's theatre company florschütz & döhnert.

One of the main events of the weekend is Opera in a Day, a fascinating project bringing together the BBC Symphony Orchestra, rap artist Akala Daley, the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company and 100 members of the public, culminating in a wonderful acting, dancing and singing extravaganza on stage.

If you're at a loss for something to do on the first weekend in March, then the Barbican's free Urban Stories event is definitely for you.

[Bottom image: Oxyman]
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Why? You'll find a huge range of entertainment - and all for free.
When: 3rd and 4th March, 2012.
Where: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Cost: Free
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