Barbican co-production and world premiere of Rachel Mars and nat tarrab’s show inspired by female-led contact sport roller derby

A dark image with two actors in roller skates. One is leaning against the other in the spotlight

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2017



The Pit, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS


Thursday 23 November–Saturday 2 December 2017, The Pit

Press performance: Friday 24 November 2017, 7.45pm

Please click here to request press tickets


Winners of this year’s Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, Mars.tarrab perform the world premiere of ROLLER, a Barbican co-production, in The Pit this November. Using the full-contact, female-led sport roller derby as a starting point, Rachel Mars and nat tarrab devise a highly visual, genre-smashing show. Investigating inclusivity, competition and feminist economic theory, ROLLER is performed by an all-female cast of performers and non-performers in a reconfigured auditorium.


Roller derby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. Fascinated by its popularity, Mars and tarrab spent time with the Brighton Rockers Roller Derby team to grasp the essence of the sport. They combine this new knowledge with research into alternative models of economics in this fast-paced production.


The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award (OSBTTA) supports the development of emerging practitioners engaged in bold, challenging and innovative performance. Since 2007, the Barbican and the OSBTTA have worked together annually to stage a new production, based on a prize-winning proposal, for The Pit or a site-specific location. Previous winners include Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari, Dickie Beau, Davy & Kristin McGuire and You Me Bum Bum Train. This year, Mars.tarrab are mentored by the multiple Olivier and Tony Award-nominated director Melly Still.


Formed in 2007, Mars.tarrab’s work interrogates gender outlawism, power, language and playfulness. It is highly physical, visceral, funny and constructs productions in intelligent and innovative ways. Performance credits include The Lady’s Not For Walking Like an Egyptian (Ovalhouse, 2013), Tomboy Blues – The Theory of Disappointment (Edinburgh Fringe, 2011) and 27 Ways I Will Never Fuck My Mother (Barbican Theatre Plymouth, 2007; Camden People’s Theatre and BAC, 2008)


Rachel Mars is a multi-award winning performance maker with a background in theatre, live art and comedy. Our Carnal Hearts played at Summerhall as part of this year’s British Council Showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe where it won a Total Theatre Award. Mars performed at Late at Tate Britain: Queer and Now, a response to the gallery’s Queer British Art 1861-1967 exhibition. Mars has recently been commissioned by Cambridge Junction, Royal Court Tottenham, Fuel Theatre, Home Live Art and Ovalhouse. Mars is a fellow at the Birkbeck Centre of Contemporary Theatre and a regular contributor to 'Pause for Thought' on BBC Radio 2.


nat tarrab is a writer, performer and visual artist who has created work that has toured the UK, and collaborated with artists including Stacy Makishi and Hugh Nankivell. She was dramaturg for Mars’s Total Theatre Award-winning Our Carnal Hearts. She has designed set and costumes for companies including Red Ladder and for The Barbican Plymouth, and scene painted for the West End, MTV and Madame Tussauds. She paints to commission around the UK.