Barbican Theatre and Dance - full January to July 2018 programme

The Barbican today announces its January to July 2018 Theatre and Dance season. Priority booking opens on Thursday 2 November 2017 and public booking opens on Friday 10 November 2017. Journalists wishing to request press tickets should click here from midday on Wednesday 1 November.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican said:

“We continue our commitment to deliver a truly international programme by collaborating with artists, producers and partners to bring boundary-breaking live experiences to our audiences. Opera, ballet, contemporary dance, cabaret, scripted and devised plays all have a place in our thrilling 2018 programme. We are excited by the breadth of voices we can offer our audiences this season, from emerging artists to leading directors, choreographers and performers originating from France, Belgium, Japan, Australia, Portugal, Russia, the USA, Sweden, Ireland and the UK. Audiences have come to expect the unexpected when they visit the Barbican and this season is no exception. Plus there are exciting opportunities to engage with and participate in this work made by innovative artists and companies, experimenting and playing with what theatre can be.”

Performances featuring live music feature prominently in our 2018 programme. From the USA comes Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act, which reframes the social history of America through three decades of song. This European premiere forms part of LIFT 2018 and our season The Art of Change.

From Australia, Barry Humphries presents his Weimar Cabaret - a risqué, sophisticated and seductive tribute to the jazz-infused music of the Weimar Republic featuring Meow Meow and Aurora Orchestra.

The world premiere of The Royal Opera’s Coraline based on the much loved story by Neil Gaiman is composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage, directed by Aletta Collins with Sian Edwards conducting the Barbican Associate Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia.

There is another chance to see the The Royal Ballet’s Elizabeth starring its former Principal Zenaida Yanowsky. Choreographed by Will Tuckett in partnership with playwright Alasdair Middleton this is a dynamic exploration of the monarch’s life and loves.

Eleven members of the internationally renowned string orchestra Scottish Ensemble collaborate with five contemporary dance artists from Sweden’s Andersson Dance to reawaken Bach’s timeless masterpiece, Goldberg Variations - ternary patterns for insomnia.

The UK premiere of The Second Violinist by Ireland’s Landmark Productions and Irish National Opera is a dazzling modern opera, written and directed by Enda Walsh and composed by Donnacha Dennehy, that tells the foreboding story of a life falling apart.

2018 starts with London International Mime Festival. Two cutting-edge companies from Belgium perform in the Theatre and two French companies make their UK and Barbican debuts in The Pit. We welcome back Olivier Award-winning Belgian company Peeping Tom with the UK premiere of Mother (Moeder) which explores the archetypal matriarchal figure, and we welcome for the first time Toneelhuis/FC Bergman with the UK premiere of 300 el x 50 el x 30 el which follows the inhabitants of a small village community gripped by the fear of an impending flood. Bêtes de foire - Petit Théâtre de Gestes brings its intimate circus tinged with nostalgia to The Pit, performed by Elsa De Witte and Laurent Cabrol whilst Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air) is performed by Magali Rousseau who reveals exquisite metal creatures during this promenade performance with clarinet by Stéphane Diskus. Also as part of LIMF 2018 is a screening of Variety, directed by Karl Freund, in Cinema 1 on Sunday 21 January, with live piano accompaniment by Stephen Horne.

Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black appears twice in this season, with Double Bill which features Cathy Marston from the UK choreographing a stage version of The Suit (co-commissioned by the Barbican) inspired by Can Themba’s novel and Portuguese choreographer Arthur Pita restages A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dancers from Ballet Black then appear in Viviana Durante Company’s homage to Kenneth MacMillan, Steps Back in Time, accompanied by dancers from The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet.

Cheek by Jowl presents its first Shakespeare production in the French language: Pericles (Périclès, Prince de Tyr). This Barbican co-production comes to London as part of a UK and international tour, directed by Declan Donnellan. During the run there is a Weekend Lab with Assistant Director Marcus Roche.

Productions which look to novels as their inspiration also feature prominently in our 2018 programme: Picnic at Hanging Rock by Tom Wright  is a retelling of Joan Lindsay’s cult 1967 novel, which has haunted the Australian psyche for decades, directed by Matthew Lutton for Australia’s Malthouse Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company. The 1975 film version directed by Peter Weir is also screened in Cinema 3 on Thursday 14 December 2017.

We welcome back the phenomenally successful production of Complicité’s The Encounter directed and performed by Simon McBurney and inspired by Petru Popescu’s novel Amazon Beaming. There is also a Weekend Lab led by Co-Director Kirsty Housley during the run.

As previously announced, we welcome back Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia with Smile Upon Us, Lord, a UK premiere based on two novels by Lithuanian-born Grigory Kanovich.

And Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui from Belgium and Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon from Japan present the UK premiere of Pluto based on the iconic manga series Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka.

Throughout 2018 the Barbican presents The Art of Change season which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Productions already announced include: the UK premiere of The Town Hall Affair by The Wooster Group from the USA directed by Elizabeth LeCompte; the world premiere of Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) by Split Britches, also from the USA, performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver and a Weekend Lab hosted by Weaver during the run; the UK premiere of Lady Eats Apple by Australia’s Back to Back Theatre as part of LIFT 2018; a public performance of Let Me Play the Lion Too by the UK’s Told by an Idiot following a two-week residency in The Pit for twelve performers, six of whom have a disability; Rhiannon Faith’s Smack That (a conversation), developed through Barbican Guildhall Open Lab – a raw and honest account of domestic abuse; the world premiere and Barbican commission of A Change is Gonna Come by the Barbican Young Poets under the artistic and creative direction of Jacob Sam-La Rose and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and the return of Boy Blue Entertainment’s phenomenally successful Blak Whyte Gray created by Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante.

Boy Blue also presents A Night with Boy Blue which sees more than fifty performers present an empowering showcase followed by a BSI Jam: Beats, Streets & Inspiration after the Saturday night show.

And Julie Cunningham & Company returns to the Barbican with the world premiere of a new choreographic work inspired by Sarah Kane’s play Crave which features four actors and four dancers who connect meticulous and stark movement to the poetic writing.

 

London International Mime Festival 2018
Petit Théâtre de Gestes – Bêtes de foire

Tuesday 16–Saturday 20 January 2018, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 16 January 2018, 7.45pm

Bêtes de foire is an intimate circus, tinged with nostalgia, where artistry, puppetry and object theatre combine. Surrounded by old clothes, mannequins and bric-a-brac, a seamstress tinkers with assorted fabrics in her workshop, reassembling materials of all kinds while her antiquated sewing machine provides musical cues for her fellow performer’s routines. He, a little down-at-heel but clearly talented, launches into an eccentric dance, juggling precariously with hats and disappearing props. A supporting cast of mechanical characters, including tightrope walker, acrobats and one-man band, adds to the mystique of an itinerant fairground show.

Elsa De Witte and Laurent Cabrol performed with French street theatre and travelling companies before founding their own miniature circus universe. With echoes of Tadeusz Kantor and Alexander Calder, and the sensibility of silent film, this is a feelgood performance of surprise, wonder, offbeat humour and exceptional skill.

 

London International Mime Festival 2018
L’Insolite Mécanique – Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air)

Tuesday 23– Saturday 27 January 2018, The Pit
Press performances: Tuesday 23 January 2018, 6.30pm and 8.30pm

In this mysterious world of shadow and light, mechanical installations come alive, illuminating Magali Rousseau’s childhood dream of achieving flight.

An enigmatic yet charismatic artist tells her story, of a little girl wishing to escape by becoming a master of the air. As she leads the audience to different parts of the atmospherically lit stage, her simple words become a symbolic force for this promenade performance in which exquisite metal creatures emerge. Some small, some very large, each is an actor, a work of art in its own right, set into action through steam power, flame, time or weight, all playing their part in this ingenious theatrical tale.

Rousseau’s astonishingly engineered machines are born out of a career working in set and prop design. Collaborating with musician Stéphane Diskus, whose live clarinet playing heightens the unusual ambience, she relates a most personal memory: how trying to fly became an act of resistance. A journey into the imagination, then, for all the dreamers, young and old alike.

 

London International Mime Festival 2018
Peeping Tom – Mother (Moeder)

Wednesday 24 – Saturday 27 January 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 24 January 2018, 7.45pm

Peeping Tom evoke a dreamlike universe, at once disturbing and oddly humorous, to explore the archetypal figure of the mother, in a production of astonishing physicality that defies characterisation.

Taking audiences into a series of recognisable spaces, including a museum, music studio and maternity ward, this non-narrative work draws on the memories of the show’s director Gabriela Carrizo and those of her performers to trigger disquieting reflections about motherhood.

Suffering, desire, fear, life and death are unexpectedly intertwined in Mother (Moeder), which shies away from neither the subconscious nor nightmares, reflecting the unstable atmosphere of a David Lynch film. The soundscape has a cinematic quality, sometimes amplified to disconcerting effect. It is matched by surreal visual imagery and imaginative choreography where bodies bend, flip, isolate and contort.

Peeping Tom’s 32 rue Vandenbranden, seen at the Barbican in 2015 as part of the London International Mime Festival, won the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.

 

London International Mime Festival 2018
Toneelhuis/FC Bergman – 300 el x 50 el x 30 el

Wednesday 31 January–Saturday 3 February 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 31 January 2018, 7.45pm

Theatre and film are ingeniously interwoven in a wordless production that follows the inhabitants of a small village community gripped by the fear of an impending flood.

Six humble dwellings sit in a wild forest clearing. At first, only their exteriors are visible. But when joined by a live camera crew, surreal, peculiar and humorous slices of life are captured and revealed on a big screen. From the mundane to intimate, sinister to absurd, a symphony of symbolic and unsettling images emerges.

Young Belgian theatre collective FC Bergman are creatively experimental and daring, devising visual and poetic work with an anarchic edge. The story of Noah’s Ark – the show's title alludes to the vessel’s dimensions – is the starting point for this production, which touches upon hidden desires, the search for life’s meaning, the beauty of human failure and, finally, hope. With a cast of thirteen actors, 300 el x 50 el x 30 el unfolds to a soundtrack that includes Vivaldi, The Persuasions and Nina Simone.

 

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon – Pluto
Thursday 8–Sunday 11 February 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 8 February 2018, 7.15pm

Pioneering Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui directs a genre-defying show honouring the Japanese art form of manga. Sensational visual effects, impactful storytelling and performances of physical grace illuminate this iconic Astro Boy tale.

Depicting a universe where people and robots both coexist and find themselves in conflict, Pluto looks at what it means to be human. Starring skilled Japanese actors known for their versatility, including Mirai Moriyama, alongside dancers and elaborate puppet creations, the staging is characterised by an energy and scale faithful to the original comic book.

Created in the 1950s by the father of manga, Osamu Tezuka, the Astro Boy series starred Atom, a humanoid robot. He and other characters from The Greatest Robot on Earth storyline feature in Pluto – originally serialised in 2003 by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki and now the basis for this first full-length theatre production.

Pluto is performed in Japanese with English surtitles.

 

Malthouse Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company – Picnic at Hanging Rock
Wednesday 21 – Saturday 24 February 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 22 February 2018, 7.45pm

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a retelling of Joan Lindsay’s cult 1967 novel, which has haunted the Australian psyche for decades. A cast of female narrators reconstruct the fateful summer’s day in 1900, when, during a trip to a volcanic beauty spot in rural Victoria, three schoolgirls and their teacher inexplicably vanish, never to be seen again. Amid looming hysteria and overtaken by primal forces, their story twists and distorts as they venture from civilisation and order to somewhere hostile, vast and unknown.

Gripping performances rip through time and are matched by an eerie soundscape and lighting design that summon the mysteries of the outback. Directed by Matthew Lutton, Picnic at Hanging Rock is a sublimely unsettling vision of psychological breakdown as the illusion of genteel society is torn apart in an ancient land.

 

Told by an Idiot – Let Me Play the Lion Too
Saturday 3 March 2018, The Pit

Let Me Play the Lion Too sees acclaimed UK theatre-makers, Told by an Idiot, use their trademark working practices to tackle the lack of diversity on stage. In an intensive two week residency in The Pit a group of twelve performers, six of whom have a disability, work with Told by an Idiot to devise a new piece of improvised performance. The process enables artists to develop their theatre making skills, and to push their imaginations and creativity in new ways, whilst looking to effect change in the wider arts infrastructure.

To coincide with Let Me Play the Lion Too the Barbican and Told by an Idiot will hold a Connecting Conversations event about how to support disabled artists to become agents for change within the industry.

Let Me Play the Lion Too is part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

Let Me Play the Lion Too is part of Sky Arts Art 50.

Tickets for Let Me Play the Lion Too go on sale in January 2018.

 

Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia – Smile Upon Us, Lord
based on novels by Grigory Kanovich

Wednesday 28 February–Saturday 3 March 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 28 February 2018, 7pm

Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia returns to the Barbican with a new production, Smile Upon Us, Lord, adapted from two novels by Lithuanian-born writer, Grigory Kanovich, and directed by Rimas Tuminas.

Written in the late 80s post-Soviet era and inspired by the real-life stories Kanovich collected while researching the history of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, Smile Upon Us, Lord is a tale of three unremarkable men in the later stages of their lives who embark on an epic journey from their shtetl to the city of Vilnius. At times fantastical and dreamlike, at others expressive and skilfully comic, this image-rich drama illuminates the Jewish experience in the first half of the 20th century.

Underscored with a rich musicality and theatrically inventive settings that transform the everyday to the universal, Smile Upon Us, Lord explores the search for belonging, the need for family and identity and celebrates the indefatigability of the human spirit with its capacity for love, compassion and friendship.

Smile Upon Us, Lord is performed in Russian with English surtitles.

 

Ballet Black – Double Bill
Thursday 15–Saturday 17 March 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 16 March 2018, 7.45pm

Ballet Black return to the Barbican for the third consecutive year following their previous sell-out seasons.

Led by Artistic Director Cassa Pancho, the company celebrates dancers of black and Asian descent, showcasing technique, precision and grace in specially commissioned pieces.

As part of this double-bill, Cathy Marston, renowned for her expressive and beautifully crafted work, choreographs a new narrative ballet for all eight of Ballet Black’s artists, inspired by Can Themba’s South African fable The Suit.

Completing the evening is Arthur Pita’s A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream, a heady piece of dance-theatre for which the Portuguese choreographer earned an Olivier Award nomination. This production mixes the classical and contemporary to distil the essence of Shakespeare’s comedy, unfolding to an eclectic soundtrack that includes Eartha Kitt, Barbra Streisand and Yma Sumac.

 

The Royal Opera – Coraline
Thursday 29 March–Saturday 7 April 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 29 March 2018, 7pm

Fantasy and the imagination run wild in this new operatic adaptation by Mark-Anthony Turnage, a leading light in British music.

Neil Gaiman has transformed the landscape of children’s literature with his highly inventive, atmospheric and otherworldly narratives. Packed with astonishing imagery, Coraline is an engrossing yarn, a much-loved story about a girl who discovers a door in her parent’s home, leading to an entirely different place and family.

Coraline is Turnage’s fourth opera, staged for families by Aletta Collins with Sian Edwards conducting the Barbican Associate Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia.

 

Cheek by Jowl – Pericles (Périclès, Prince de Tyr)
Friday 6–Saturday 21 April 2018, Silk Street Theatre
Press night: Monday 9 April 2018, 7.30pm

Featuring Cheek by Jowl’s French ensemble, last seen here in the explosive Ubu Roi in 2014, Pericles (Périclès, Prince de Tyr) is directed by Declan Donnellan, awarded the Golden Lion of Venice for his lifetime achievement in theatre. In collaboration with Nick Ormerod, this is their first French Shakespeare production.

To save his life, Pericles must navigate stormy seas, pirates, brothels, incest, shipwrecks, human traffickers and tournaments. But as the fireworks dim, and chaos resolves, loss and love reveal themselves.

Astute, arresting and vital, Cheek by Jowl’s Shakespeare productions have inspired audiences around the world.

Pericles (Périclès, Prince de Tyr) is performed in French with English surtitles.

 

Complicité/Simon McBurney – The Encounter
Saturday 14 April–Saturday 5 May 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tuesday 17 April 2018, 7.30pm

First presented here in 2016 and following a hit Broadway run and international tour, The Encounter, inspired by the novel Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu, returns to the Barbican.

This true story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre lost in a remote area of Brazil in 1969 leads to a startling encounter that is to change his life forever. Simon McBurney’s solo performance threads scenes of his own life with details of McIntyre’s hallucinogenic journey.

Garnered with Drama Desk, Evening Standard, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards, this extraordinary tour de force combines virtuosic storytelling and groundbreaking binaural sound transmitted direct to the audience through headphones.

 

Viviana Durante Company – Kenneth MacMillan: Steps Back in Time
Wednesday 18–Saturday 21 April 2018, The Pit
Press night: Wednesday 18 April 2018, 7.45pm

In honour of Kenneth MacMillan, the hugely influential and ahead-of-his-time choreographer, the legendary ballerina Viviana Durante directs a programme from his enthralling earliest works.

Tearing up convention and turning staid ideas on their head, MacMillan began creating his own ballets in the 1950s. Believing that dance had the power to explore the human condition, he made potent stories with an emotional quality that invited audiences to become caught up in the fate of his characters.

As an artist whose association with MacMillan dates back to their time at The Royal Ballet, Durante has both danced and revived his creations. To celebrate his legacy and to mark 25 years since his death, she selects extracts from House of Birds and Danses Concertantes and presents Laiderette in full. Together, they highlight the boldness, insight, complexity, wit and relevance of MacMillan’s choreography. Performed by artists from Ballet Black, Scottish Ballet and The Royal Ballet, including Principals Lauren Cuthbertson, Francesca Hayward and Thiago Soares, each contains a passionate pas de deux, another famous MacMillan forte.

 

Julie Cunningham & Company – Crave
Thursday 10–Sunday 13 May 2018, The Pit
Press night: Friday 11 May 2018, 7.45pm

Julie Cunningham has established a reputation as an extraordinary contemporary dancer – arresting, poised, sophisticated and precise – during a long career in which she has performed with Merce Cunningham Company and Michael Clark Company. Since making her move into choreography, with the double bill To Be Me seen at the Barbican, she has been developing work that responds directly to poems and text.

Now from Cunningham comes an enigmatic new piece combining dance and spoken word based on Sarah Kane’s powerful play, Crave.

In Crave, the iconic playwright investigates dark and potent themes including rape, incest, addiction and instability. Featuring four actors and four dancers, Cunningham’s version connects meticulous and stark movement to the poetic style of Kane’s writing. With a focus on the inner world of the characters, akin to a stream of consciousness, the harrowing subject matter is given space to speak for itself through physicality.

 

The Royal Ballet – Elizabeth
Wednesday 16–Saturday 19 May 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 16 May 2018, 7.45pm

Former Principal of The Royal Ballet Zenaida Yanowsky is Elizabeth I in this dynamic exploration of her life and loves, a chamber work that weaves dance, music, text and song into an opulent tapestry.

Drawn from letters, diaries, poetry and plays, including material written by her famed suitors, the script for this dance-drama is spoken and sung by female actors and a baritone. Their words illuminate the movements of two dancers. Accompanied by an original score – played on cello, with borrowed musical structures and harmonies from great Elizabethan composers – the elegant and intimate performance is also enriched by sumptuous costumes.

Intrigued as much by her private passions and physicality as her political triumphs, choreographer Will Tuckett in partnership with playwright Alasdair Middleton turned to the writings of the monarch and those around her, covering key moments in the queen’s reign.

Tickets for Elizabeth go on sale in January 2018.

 

Split Britches – Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)
Tuesday 15–Saturday 19 May 2018, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 15 May 2018, 7.45pm

In Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), Split Britches ask the audience to consider whether we are hurtling towards doomsday. Taking inspiration from the 1964 film Dr Strangelove and its iconic War Room, The Pit stage becomes The Situation Room - a daring new forum for public discussion. Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver take on the roles of the bombastic general and the gentle and ineffectual President, as they invite members of the audience to join them in debating the current global political situation and how to look forward in a rapidly changing world.

As the performers play with the rhythms of urgency and lethargy, whilst investigating current affairs, individual dreams and hidden wishes are re-appropriated as a cumulative solution to what may feel like an uncertain political landscape. Created and developed over two years through a series of residencies with elders and artists that began at the Barbican in 2016 and continued in the US, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) is a hopeful, whimsical, human exploration of ageing, anxiety and the end of the world.

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) is part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) is part of Sky Arts Art 50.

 

Barbican Young Poets – A Change is Gonna Come
Friday 25–Saturday 26 May 2018, The Pit
Press night: Friday 25 May 2018, 7.15pm

In the spirit of experimentation, past and present Barbican Young Poets join forces with dancers from Boy Blue Entertainment in the intimate setting of The Pit.

Under the artistic and creative direction of Jacob Sam-La Rose, a poet and performer of international repute, and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, co-founder of hip-hop dance company Boy Blue, A Change is Gonna Come tunes into the musicality and rhythm of language.

Poets and dancers interact, fusing the vitality and energy of spoken word with movement, as they share personal experiences of the nation in which they live.

Exploiting a range of genres, styles and themes, Barbican Young Poets have evolved to become drivers for change, their voices helping to define the poetry scene in London and across the UK, whilst Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue develop some of the country’s most sought-after hip-hop artists.

A Change is Gonna Come is part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

 

Boy Blue Entertainment – A Night with Boy Blue
Friday 1–Saturday 2 June 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 1 June 2018, 7.45pm

A Night with Boy Blue sees more than fifty performers, trained under the award-winning hip-hop dance group, present an empowering showcase. Pumping music and intricate choreographic formations of impressive precision build to create an infectious atmosphere.

In addition to touring remarkable theatre productions around the world, Boy Blue’s founders Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante continue to inspire and mentor the next generation of dancers in the training room. Groundbreaking choreography, original compositions and incredible young artists highlight the calibre of talent emerging from the company that has been at the forefront of presenting hip-hop as an art form in its own right.

Later in 2018, there is another chance to see Blak Whyte Gray after the production’s highly successful premiere at the Barbican and its Edinburgh run in 2017.

 

Rhiannon Faith – Smack That (a conversation)
Tuesday 12–Saturday 16 June 2018, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 12 June 2018, 7.45pm

Inventive choreographer Rhiannon Faith shines a light on the complex subject of domestic abuse in an empowering and participatory performance highlighting human resilience.

Beverly is having a party and the audience are her guests. There are games, drinks, shared conversation, energetic dance and heartbreaking moments as she bravely gives a raw and honest account of surviving an abusive relationship.

Each member of the all-female cast, a close-knit group of non-performers and dance artists, fearlessly takes on the persona of Beverly to convey turbulent, real experiences. The unusual setting creates a safe space for them to reveal the challenges they have faced and celebrate their endurance. Faith’s work with a support group at charity Safer Places underpins this show, which seeks to raise social consciousness around domestic abuse by supporting women to talk about their experiences openly.

Smack That (a conversation) is part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

 

LIFT 2018
Back to Back Theatre – Lady Eats Apple

Thursday 14–Saturday 16 June 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 15 June 2018, 7.45pm

Lady Eats Apple is a tale of creation and destruction in which the epic and everyday, mythic and mundane coexist. The audience enters an inflatable universe in which binaural sound design and visuals are used to ingenious effect.

Adam and Eve join an insecure God in a dark paradise, as He creates the world hoping for a little worship. But when temptation takes over, man and woman are expelled into a timeless landscape before this story of immense vulnerability, of tenderness and redemption, resumes in more familiar terrain.

One of the most exciting companies in contemporary theatre today, Australia’s Back to Back is driven by an ensemble of actors with perceived learning disabilities who are co-authors and performers of the work.

Lady Eats Apple is a large-scale, experiential production that exposes the fragility of existence while challenging the assumptions people hold about themselves and others.

Lady Eats Apple is part of LIFT 2018, a London-wide festival of international performance taking place throughout June and part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

 

The Wooster Group – The Town Hall Affair
Based on the film Town Bloody Hall by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker
Thursday 21–Sunday 24 June 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 21 June 2018, 7.45pm

From New York’s iconic theatre group comes a mixed-media piece channelling a raucous 1971 debate on women’s liberation that still reverberates today.

In front of an audience of literary heavyweights gathered at New York’s Town Hall, pugnacious American novelist Norman Mailer squares up against a panel of prominent feminist advocates including Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston and Diana Trilling. The occasion is captured in Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary Town Bloody Hall.

The Town Hall Affair, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, features extended clips from the film and revisits that explosive night with Ari Fliakos, Greg Mehrten, Scott Shepherd, Maura Tierney and Kate Valk playing the real-life participants onstage. Layered with additional text and footage, The Town Hall Affair draws on experimental techniques to delve into the revolutionary fervour of 1970s’ feminist thinking, and is a timely look at how the struggle for gender equality has evolved, nearly 50 years after the landmark debate.

The film, Town Bloody Hall, is screened at the Barbican on Saturday 23 June at 4pm, to coincide with The Wooster Group's London performances.

The Town Hall Affair is part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

 

LIFT 2018
Taylor Mac – A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act

Thursday 28–Saturday 30 June 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 28 June 2018, 7.30pm

Fabulous and fearless, Taylor Mac reframes the social history of America through three decades of song in this no-holds-barred extravaganza of music, art, activism and entertaining mass ritual.

Joined onstage by a 24-piece orchestra and a host of special guests drawn from London’s own performance community, New York’s Taylor Mac has created a Pulitzer Prize-nominated, once-in-a-lifetime performance in a quest to chronicle how communities grow stronger as they are being torn apart.

Charting the years 1776–1806, Mac asks the audience to conspire with him to reimagine rebellions, revolutions, triumphs and tragedies. Pub song sing-alongs and subversive anthems are rearranged as musical mash-ups to take on a chapter of the defining early years of America’s history.
 

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act is part of LIFT 2018, a London-wide festival of international performance taking place throughout June and part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

 

Andersson Dance/Scottish Ensemble – Goldberg Variations - ternary patterns for insomnia
Thursday 5–Saturday 7 July 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 5 July 2018, 7.45pm

Stockholm-based Andersson Dance and classical musicians Scottish Ensemble revel in the joy, complexity, lyricism and depth of this reawakened timeless masterpiece.

Eleven members of the internationally renowned string orchestra collaborate with five contemporary dance artists to collectively reveal moments of tenderness, expressiveness, vulnerability and life-affirming humanity from Bach’s abstractly beautiful Goldberg Variations.

This show of contrasts - slow and fast, uplifting and reflective, extroverted and introverted movement - mirrors the light and mournful moods of the unfolding variations. As the dancers lose themselves in Örjan Andersson’s astute choreography so too do the musicians, temporarily setting aside their instruments in this playful yet profound interpretation. Genuine alchemy abounds as the two companies perform seamlessly as one.

 

Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret
Wednesday 11–Sunday 29 July 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 12 July 2018, 7.45pm

Barry Humphries is the masterfully seasoned emcee, and cabaret diva Meow Meow the chanteuse in this risqué, sophisticated and seductive tribute to the jazz-infused music of the Weimar Republic.

Some describe it as cabaret’s golden age: the remarkable period in 1920s and 30s’ Berlin when hedonistic partying and social revolution turned nightclubs into hotbeds of decadent entertainment. Reawakening that spirit in this revelatory concert, Weimar Cabaret acquaints audiences with the oft-forgotten composers of the time, many Jewish, whose art would soon be condemned as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis, dancing as it did on the edge of a precipice.

Best known as Dame Edna Everage, Humphries sets aside his alter ego to share his personal passion for a period that has long fascinated him, his witty anecdotes and irreverent asides providing interludes to a treasure trove of songs and instrumentals. With Kurt Weill standards alongside rarities from Friedrich Hollaender, Ernst Krenek and Erwin Schulhoff, Humphries and Meow Meow, both world-renowned Australian artists, are accompanied live onstage by London’s trailblazing Aurora Orchestra.

Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret is performed in German and English.

 

Landmark Productions and Irish National Opera – The Second Violinist
Thursday 6–Saturday 8 September 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 6 September 2018, 7.45pm

A dazzling modern opera that tells the foreboding story of a life falling apart, The Second Violinist unfolds like an unnerving thriller driven by a haunting and compulsive score.

Martin, an orchestral violinist, is consumed by social media platforms, morbid fantasies and violent video games. Seeking solace in the music of Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, his inner turmoil becomes ever more apparent as he searches for beauty in a dark, dark world.

The latest collaboration between internationally renowned Irish playwright Enda Walsh and composer Donnacha Dennehy, this brooding production switches between multiple timelines. It marries multilayered set and video design with a score, rich in amplified sounds, harmonies and overtones – reflective of the heightening tension onstage – and played live by the dynamic music group, Crash Ensemble. Lyrical and ethereal singing by three soloists and a 16-strong chorus contrasts with Aaron Monaghan’s central performance, physically fraught, essentially wordless and utterly involving.

 

Boy Blue Entertainment – Blak Whyte Gray
Wednesday 12–Saturday 15 September 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Wednesday 12 September 2018, 7.45pm

The critically acclaimed Blak Whyte Gray returns to the Barbican, following its Olivier Award nomination earlier this year.

The world in flux, a need for change: the artists of Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue Entertainment give expression to experiences of contemporary life. The time is right to ask questions, to break free from the inner tension of a system that isn’t working, and to emerge on the other side to an awakening – a return to roots, a celebration of culture.

Fuelled by an emotional energy, the piece pairs the concentrated physicality of select hip-hop dance styles with the rhythmical groove of music and moves evoking Africa. Created by Boy Blue’s founders Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, Blak Whyte Gray is infused with an unexpected abstract quality, revealing a new and different side to the company’s personality.

Blak Whyte Gray is part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more here.

 

ENDS

 

Press information
For further information please contact:

Angela Dias, Senior Communications Manager for Theatre and Dance, 020 7382 7168 or angela.dias@barbican.org.uk

Freddie Todd Fordham, Communications Officer for Theatre and Dance, 020 7382 7399 or freddie.todd-fordham@barbican.org.uk

For Smile Upon Us, Lord, The Encounter and The Second Violinist – Bridget Thornborrow, 07802 166594 or bridget.thornborrow@barbican.org.uk

For general enquiries relating to the London International Mime Festival – Anna Arthur, 07973 264373 or anna@annaarthurpr.com

Let Me Play the Lion Too – Clióna Roberts, 020 7704 6224 or cliona@crpr.co.uk  

Ballet Black – John Cotton, 07788 276922 or john.cotton@jcapr.co.uk

Coraline – Ann Richards, 020 7212 9132 or ann.richards@roh.org.uk

Pericles (Périclès, Prince de Tyr) – Kate Morley, 07970 465 648 or kate@katemorleypr.com

Elizabeth – Sarah Farrell, 020 7212 9241 or sarah.farrell@roh.org.uk

Smack That (a conversation) – Steve Forster, 01603 661459 or steve@sfppr.co.uk

Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret – David Bloom, 020 3372 0955 or david.bloom@target-live.co.uk

For general enquiries relating to LIFT 2018 – Philippa Redfern, 020 7831 7657 or philippa@thecornershoppr.com