UK premiere of Desdemona – a collaboration between Thur 19 & Fri 20 July 2012, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall, Tickets from £15
Toni Morrison, Rokia Traoré and Peter Sellars
Thur 19 & Fri 20 July, 6.30pm, Barbican Hall - pre-performance talk by Peter Sellars
Thur 19 July, Barbican Hall - Peter Sellars and Rokia Traoré will give a post-performance talk directly after the performance. The talks are FREE to all ticket holders.
Desdemona is commissioned by the Barbican; Wiener Festwochen; Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers; Cal Performances, Berkeley (California); Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York; spielzeit'europa I Berliner Festspiele; Arts Council England and London 2012 Festival. Part of the World Shakespeare Festival and part of London 2012 Festival.
Next week the Barbican presents the UK premiere of Desdemona, a collaboration co-written by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré and directed by Peter Sellars, featuring an intimate, profound conversation between Shakespeare's Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary.
In response to Peter Sellars’ 2009 staging of Othello, Rokia Traoré and Toni Morrison (women of African and African-American origin) have created a work inspired by an 'invisible' character from one of Shakespeare’s most racially charged plays: Desdemona’s African nurse Barbary. Moving beyond centuries of colonialism and racism, the two characters share stories, songs and hope for a different future, against a backdrop of African and Western musical textures. Traoré herself sings the role of Barbary and the part of Desdemona is played by actress Tina Benko who performed the role in the production in Paris, Berlin, New York and Berkeley.
“A rare and delicate show that shines a new light on Shakespeare’s tragedy.”
La Croix (France)
“Traore’s rich and mesmerizing voice, regal bearing and fluid movement has enchanted critics.” New York Times
Desdemona is part of The World Shakespeare Festival, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company for London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
Read more about Desdemona here
Notes to Editors
Barbican Box Office: 0845 120 7550
For any further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact the Barbican’s music media relations team:
Annikaisa Vainio , Media Relations Manager
t - +44 (0)20 7382 7090
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Sabine Kindel, Senior Media Relations Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6199
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Naomi Burgoyne , Media Relations Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6196
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Rob Severyn-Kosinski, Media Relations Assistant
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6138
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About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Our creative learning programme further underpins everything we do. In 2012 we celebrate the Olympic year with many of our projects forming part of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival – it is also our 30th Birthday year. Over 1.5 million people pass through our doors annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. Our architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, the Pit, Cinema One (with Cinemas Two and Three opening in Beech Street in September 2012), Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants.
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About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.
The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummers Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.
For more details on the programme, to download the London 2012 Festival official guide and to sign up for information visit www.london2012.com/festival