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Digital Programme: Antechamber (MimeLondon)

A person sits at a sound desk playing the guitar. Behind them, a projection of colours is on a screen.

Find out more about the production and the creative team behind it in our digital programme. 


Welcome to the Barbican and thank you for joining us for our new season. To mark the start of a new year, we look back and also celebrate new beginnings. 

For over twenty years, we have presented breathtaking and extraordinary shows in collaboration with the ground-breaking London International Mime Festival. The festival has now ended but we’re delighted to be working again with Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig, the festival’s directors, as they find new ways for us to connect audiences with companies across the world who specialise in visual storytelling. We are delighted to present four exciting international productions in The Pit between 23 January and 17 February, as part of MimeLondon (the new season in which Helen and Joseph will curate an enticing programme in collaboration with several partner venues).

This year, we welcome back two French companies. Les Antliaclastes’ Ambergris is a darkly comic adaptation of Pinocchio set in the belly of a whale and told through a mesmerising blend of puppetry, music and machines. Next, the delightful duo Stereoptik return with a new mini-spectacle, Antechamber, a transformative love story created live on stage through sketching, painting, music and film. 

This is followed by two companies making their Barbican debuts this year. From Spain, El Patio Teatro use hand-crafted anatomical objects to unravel the mysteries of what makes us human, in Entrañas (or, as we might say, Insides!) Finally, award-winning experimental American theatre-makers Phil Soltanoff and Steven Wendt invite us into a world of wonder with This & That, a playground of live performance mixing abstract video projection, music and enchanting hand shadow puppetry. 

We hope you enjoy your visit, whether you are choosing just one show or coming back for more than one of these intricate and spellbinding contemporary performances.

Toni Racklin, Barbican Head of Theatre & Dance


We are very happy to come back to London. It’s our third time with MimeLondon, and we would like to thank Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig, who travelled to Charleville-Mézières international festival in the east of France to see the première of this show, and then programmed it for this festival. It’s very exciting to present our ‘language without words’ to an international audience. We’ve created Antechamber as a visual and musical poem, with the feeling that it’s possible for everyone to rediscover the wonder that enchanted our childhoods. We hope you’ll enjoy the journey with us.

Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet


created by Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet

Construction Support Jean Louis Cianci
Technical Stage Management Frank Jamond and Arnaud Viala

Film cast

Written, directed, and produced by Jean-Baptiste Maillet and Romain Bermond (Stereoptik)
Script Consultant Valérie Fageol
Graphic Creation and Set Design Jean-Baptiste Maillet and Romain Bermond
Original Music, Recording and Performance Jean-Baptiste Maillet
Puppets Romain Bermond
Cinematographer Fabien Drouet
Volume Animation Chaïtan Conversat
2D Animation Romain Bermond
Additional 2D Animation Mauro Bordin
Props Delphine Daumas and Sandrine Heritier
Interns Ludivine Blanc de la Morinerie, Léa Fily, Emma Pustienne and Mélissa Tonini
Effects Christophe Gautry
Additional Effects Leyokki
Editing Jean-Baptiste Maillet and Romain Bermond
Mixing / Sound Design Benoît Hery
Development Direction Solenne Blanc, Corinne Destombes and Sophie Flament (at Folimage)
Thanks to: Leslie Fefeu, Lara Mastrantonio, Mylène Fefeu, Solange Bermond and all the dancers of the Cartoucherie.

Related events

Post-show talk (BSL-interpreted)

Thursday 1 February

A discussion hosted by Joseph Seelig and BSL interpreted by Samuel Rojas. 
Free to same-day ticket holders.

Members event: Puppets in Theatre – Bringing New Life to the Stage

Tuesday 13 February

Discover more about the imaginative art of puppetry at this MimeLondon in-conversation event with Basil Twist and Phelim McDermott, facilitated by Cheryl Henson. 
Free for Members.

A story of simplicity

Stereoptik’s unique approach to theatre sees them creating the building blocks of an animated film in front of the audience’s eyes. Led by Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet, the French theatre company began its life in 2008 when the pair developed their first show, also titled Stereoptik.

They last performed at the Barbican in 2022 with their show Stellaire, a love story about the expansion of the universe.

Their approach to the festival, and the Barbican, has changed over the course of their visits. ‘The first time it was really new for us,’ says Maillet.

‘We did not know how the London audience [would] react, but it was a great success. The second time, it was a surprise because it was sold out before we [began]. So we are very happy… we are very happy to have an audience who want to see our new show.’

Described as ‘an animated film, a show and an exhibition all at the same time,’ the new show, Antechamber, is set in the type of small antechamber rooms that are common in France, particularly in Paris, where they are used by students. While working on a thesis in his antechamber, the protagonist of the piece finds a photograph of himself as a child.

‘In the photo, he is holding a butterfly,’ says Bermond, ‘and [it] reminds him of his capacity to see the world as a child [where] everything is new, everything is interesting.’

The discovery of the photograph gives him a new ability; he is able ‘to travel to countries in his mind and see the world around him.’ The antechamber of the title is the one in his head.

Maillet adds, ‘[As] an adult we have a lot of [responsibilities], a lot of work and [in] this life we cannot have a place for wonder… It’s what we lost when we [became] adults and we don’t know really why.’

This delicate tale of regaining and reclaiming a sense of wonder is told through the company’s uncomplicated and unassuming methods.

‘In a lot of our shows, we are making a kind of movie… a live movie with very simple things; paper, pen, pencil. To make poetry with some very simple things. And [Antechamber is] not really a story, it’s not “once upon a time…” – it’s more poetry. And our audience can have sensations: sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s more dark, but the story is not the most important thing,” says Maillet.

They have actively tried with Antechamber to progress their approach, says Bermond, using simpler and simpler techniques to garner the poetry of the story, and opening up the blocking on stage so that the audience can see more of what they are doing and the techniques they are using to create the animated film within the show.

‘It’s more simple than before, but it’s not less intense,’ says Bermond. ‘We try to give the audience the sensation that you can make something with nothing, or a few things. It’s not about technology, or [buying] something that allows you to make another thing, it’s about creativity and freedom. We try to keep that on the stage for the audience.’

They hope audiences see the show as ‘a poetry moment… away from the rest of the world, [away] from your life,’ says Maillet. ‘[Antechamber is] about creativity, it’s about love, it’s about nature… it talks about a lot of things. Everybody can make [their] own story with this show… You can imagine a lot of things.’

This piece is abridged from an interview conducted by Jim Keaveney in January 2024 for and is reproduced with kind permission.


Romain Bermond 

A graduate of the Faculty of Visual Arts in Paris, Romain Bermond participated in his first group exhibition at the Nouvelle École du Montparnasse. With the support of mentor Horacio Garcia Rossi, an Argentinian kinetic art painter, Romain Bermond then exhibited in several Parisian venues, notably at the Galerie Gabrielle Laroche and the Galerie Guigon, and participated in various artistic events including SLICK and Nuit Blanche, in France and internationally. Alongside his work in theatrical forms as an artist, scenographer or musician, he became interested in percussion and Afro-Cuban music and began long partnerships with names such as Miguel Gomez, Anga Diaz and Orlando Poleo. He joined several groups, Cuban music orchestras and brass bands.

Jean-Baptiste Maillet
Jean-Baptiste Maillet studied classical writing and percussion at the conservatories of Chatillon, Yerres and the regional conservatory of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, followed by the American School of Modern Music in Paris where he diversified his technique and arrangements practices, opening up to jazz, quintet, brass and big band. His work has integrated projects of French song, brass band, funk, electro, circus and cinema. On stage, he performs alongside internationally renowned musicians such as Clyde Wright (singer with the Golden Gate Quartet), David Walters, Cheptel Aleïkoum, Les Yeux Noirs, Jur (co-founder of the Cridacompany) and Florent Vintrigner de la Rue Ketanou.

About Stereoptik


Created in 2008 at the same time as the eponymous show, Stereoptik brings together Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet, both visual artists and musicians. Based on a score they build and write together, every one of their shows is built under the eyes of its audience, live. Theatre of shadows, of objects and puppets, silent films, unplugged or electronic concerts, fairy tales and cartoons are some of the many fields and genres whose boundaries Stereoptik likes to play with. At the heart of the many forms of art that appear on the stage is one principle: to show the audience the technical process that leads to the apparition of characters, of scenes, of a story. The audience is free to let themselves be carried away by the images and stories projected onto the screen, or to see in detail what leads to the movement of the cartoon on the screen, how ink creates a silhouette on a transparent background, what instrument is used to bring it to life. Visual, musical, and without text, Stereoptik’s creations arouse curiosity and wonder in audiences of all ages and nationalities.


MimeLondon is a new curatorial project created by Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig, directors of London International Mime Festival (LIMF), which ended in 2023 after five decades of award-winning success. MimeLondon will support occasional seasons of contemporary visual theatre, in collaboration with different partner venues. 

For its first series in London, which runs from 12 January to 17 February 2024, the Barbican, the National Theatre, Sadler’s Wells and Shoreditch Town Hall are hosting eight productions new to London, the work of four overseas groups, and four UK-based companies co-commissioned by London International Mime Festival in its final year. A series of workshops organised in association with the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and Shoreditch Town Hall is taking place during the same period.

For the Barbican

Barbican Centre Board 
Tom Sleigh 
Deputy Chair 
Sir William Russell 
Deputy Chair 
Tobi Ruth Adebekun 

Board Members 
Randall Anderson, Munsur Ali, Stephen Bediako OBE, Farmida Bi CBE, Tijs Broeke, Zulum Elumogo, Wendy Mead OBE, Mark Page, Alpa Raja, Jens Riegelsberger, Jane Roscoe, Irem Yerdelen, Despina Tsatsas, Michael Asante MBE 

Clerk to the Board 
John Cater and Kate Doidge 

Barbican Centre Trust 
Farmida Bi CBE 
Vice Chair 
Robert Glick OBE 

Tom Bloxham MBE, Stephanie Camu, Tony Chambers, Cas Donald, David Kapur, Ann Kenrick, Kendall Langford, Sir William Russell, Tom Sleigh, Claire Spencer AM, Sian Westerman 

Chief Executive Officer 
Claire Spencer 
Director of Development 
Natasha Harris 
Director of People, Inclusion and Culture 
Ali Mirza 
Head of Finance & Business Administration 
Sarah Wall 
Acting Director for Buildings and Renewal 
Cornell Farrell 
Director of Commercial 
Jackie Boughton 
Senior Executive Assistant to Claire Spencer 
Jo Daly 

Theatre Department 
Head of Theatre and Dance 
Toni Racklin 
Senior Production Manager 
Simon Bourne 
Liz Eddy, Jill Shelley, Fiona Stewart 
Assistant Producers 
Saxon Mudge, Mali Siloko, Tom Titherington 
Production Managers 
Jamie Maisey, Lee Tasker 
Technical Managers 
Steve Daly, Jane Dickerson, Nik Kennedy, Martin Morgan, Stevie Porter 
Stage Managers 
Lucinda Hamlin, Charlotte Oliver 
Technical Supervisors 
James Breedon, Charlie Mann, Jamie Massey, Matt Nelson, Adam Parrott, Lawrence Sills, Chris Wilby 

Kendell Foster, David Kennard, Burcham Johnson, Bart Kuta, Christian Lyons, Josh Massey, Kieran Poynter, Fred Riding, Fede Spada, Matt Turnbull 
PA to Head of Theatre 
David Green 


Production Administrator 
Caroline Hall 
Production Assistant 
Michaela Harcegová 
Stage Door 
Julian Fox, aLbi Gravener 

Creative Collaboration and Learning 
Head of Creative Collaboration 
Karena Johnson 
Josie Dick 
Lauren Brown 
Assistant Producer 
Rikky Onefeli 
Assistant Producer  
Carmen Okome 

Marketing Department 
Head of Marketing 
Jackie Ellis 
Deputy Head of Marketing 
Ben Jefferies 
Senior Marketing Manager 
Kyle Bradshaw 
Marketing Assistant 
Olivia Brissett and Rebecca Moore 

Communications Department 
Head of Communications 
James Tringham 
Senior Communications Manager 
Ariane Oiticica 
Communications Manager 
Communications Assistant 
Sumayyah Sheikh 

Audience Experience 
Deputy Head of Audience Experience & Operations 
Sheree Miller 
Ticket Sales Managers 
Lucy Allen, Oliver Robinson, Ben Skinner, Jane Thomas 
Operations Managers 
Ben Raynor, Elizabeth Davies-Sadd, Samantha Teatheredge, Hayley Zwolinsk 
Operations Manager (Health & Safety) 
Mo Reideman 
Audience Event & Planning Manager 
Freda Pouflis 
Venue Managers 
Scott Davies, Tabitha Goble, Nicola Lake, Maria Pateli 
Assistant Venue Managers 
Rhiannon Brennan, Sam Hind, Bronagh Leneghan, Melissa Olcese, Daniel Young 
Crew Management 
Dave Magwood, Rob Magwood, James Towell 
Access and Licensing Manager 
Rebecca Oliver 
Security Operations Manager 
Naqash Sheikh 
Audience Experience Coordinator 
Ayelen Fananas 


With thanks...

The Barbican is London’s creative catalyst for arts, curiosity and enterprise. We spark creative possibilities and transformation for artists, audiences and communities – to inspire, connect, and provoke debate. 

We’re committed to making a difference locally, nationally and internationally by showcasing some of the most inspiring and visionary work by artists and communities. We’re not-for-profit. Each year we need to raise 60% of our income through fundraising, ticket sales, and commercial activities. Our supporters play a vital role in keeping our programme accessible to everyone, which includes our work with local schools; development opportunities for emerging creatives; and access to discounted and subsidised tickets. 

Barbican supporters enjoy behind the scenes access across the centre and see first-hand what their gift enables through enhanced priority booking, as well as access to tickets for sold-out performances and exclusive events. For more information please visit or [email protected]

With thanks... 

Founder and principal funder 
The City of London Corporation 

Major Supporters 
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) 
Kiran Nadar Museum of Art 
SHM Foundation 
The Terra Foundation for American Art 

Leading Supporters 
Trevor Fenwick and Jane Hindley 
Marcus Margulies 

Programme Supporters 
Goodman Gallery 
Romilly Walton Masters Award 
Jack Shainman Gallery 
The Rudge Shipley Charitable Trust 

Director’s Circle 
James and Louise Arnell 
Farmida Bi CBE 
Jo and Tom Bloxham MBE 
Philippe and Stephanie Camu 
Cas Donald 
Alex and Elena Gerko 
Trevor Fenwick and Jane Hindley 
Sian and Matthew Westerman 
SHM Foundation 
Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire 
Anonymous (1) 


Corporate Supporters 
Bank of America 
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Google Arts & Culture 
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Trusts & Grantmakers 
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The African Arts Trust 
The Ampersand Foundation 
Art Fund 
Bagri Foundation 
CHK Foundation 
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Company of Arts Scholars Charitable Trust  
Fluxus Art Projects 
Institut français du Royaume-Uni 
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High Commission of Canada in The United Kingdom 
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Kusuma Trust UK 
London Community Foundation 
Mactaggart Third Fund 
Maria Björnson Memorial Fund 
U.S. Embassy London 

We also want to thank the Barbican Patrons, members, and the many thousands who made a donation when purchasing tickets.  

The Barbican Centre Trust Ltd, registered charity no. 294282 


Presented by the Barbican in association with MimeLondon.

Co-produced by Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, le Trident Scène Nationale de Cherbourg, Territoires Vendômois – Centre National de la Marionnette-Vendôme, Le Sablier – Ifs Centre National de la Marionnette, Le Parvis –Scène Nationale de Tarbes Pyrénées, Lux – Scène Nationale de Valence and Folimage company.

In partnership with l’Echalier – Agence Rurale de Développement Culturel-Couëtron au Perche and Le Théâtre des 2 Rives – Charenton le Pont. Stereoptik is supported by the French Ministry of Culture – Drac Ile de France and Centre Val de Loire Region. 

Supported by the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni.

Images by Stereoptik, Richard Schroeder and Christophe Reynaud de Lage.


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