Saved events

Digital Programme: Rachel Mars – FORGE

Performance artist Rachel Mars lies on the floor melding a metal gate. She wears protective clothing, including a metal helmet.

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

Welcome to The Pit for this timely reflection on the politics of memorials, how we hold space for remembering past atrocities and who this is for. FORGE is a durational performance installation by theatre-maker and writer Rachel Mars, an artist who regularly explores the complexities of identity and society in her work. We have worked with Rachel since 2017. As Mars.tarrab, her partnership with artist nat tarrab, they won the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award for ROLLER, a collaboration with the Brighton Rockers Roller Derby team which premiered here in The Pit. In 2019 Rachel joined us for a residency. She explored the weight and textures of metalwork, and developed FORGE as part of our Open Lab programme which supports artists to experiment, push boundaries and create larger scale work.

After premiering the piece in a warehouse setting at last year's Transform Festival in Leeds (our co-commissioning partners, along with Cambridge Junction with support from Stobbs New Ideas Fund), we are so proud to welcome back Rachel and her brilliant team to the Barbican. We are grateful for public funding from Arts Council England. With further thanks to support from Chapter Arts Centre, Horizon: Performance Made in England, Metal Culture, MGCFutures and Asylum Arts.

Thank you for joining us.

Toni Racklin
Barbican Head of Theatre & Dance.


‘This is it, this is it. Only it’s completely different.’ Marianne Hirsch, 2007

FORGE has many beginnings in many locations, from an initial idea tested at The Yard in London, to learning welding in Austin and Peterborough, to digital pitching in my front room through the pandemic. It also began in 1999 when I first read an article about memorial architecture, and in 1980 when I was born and in 1939 when my grandparents entered Britain.  

After premiering at Transform Festival, Leeds last year we are really pleased to bring FORGE to the Barbican, which has been an incredibly supportive intermittent home for the work on its journey to this new iteration. In 2019 we spent a week developing a version of the show at the Open Lab, playing with duration, big image and sound (but no welding). In 2020 we were back at the Barbican for a hot (but still not welded) second version, interrogating yet another form for the show before we had to down tools for the lockdown. 

Somewhere in between now and then the Barbican team found a way to allow me to weld in the Pit, so now we are back, upping tools, beginning again, thrilled to present what the work has become. 

Thank you for coming.

Rachel Mars
Creator and Performer

Key information

For safety reasons, please arrive wearing a long sleeve top, long trousers covering your ankles with no exposed skin and closed covered shoes. Please note that if you aren't wearing the appropriate clothing you will be refused entry. A protective welding helmet and apron will be provided to wear at all times during your visit.  According to Jewish custom you'll be invited to wash your hands before leaving the space.

Audience care
The age guidance is 16+

The themes of this installation link to genocide and the Holocaust, without direct imagery, and there will be flashing lights, loud noises and unexplained noise within the space. There is a quiet space available outside the installation, please speak to a member of our front of house team if you would like to take a break there.

The route around the installation is fully wheelchair accessible.

Creative team

Creative team
Conceived by Rachel Mars
Dramaturg and Co-director Wendy Hubbard
Sound Designer Dinah Mullen
Designer Naomi Kuyck-Cohen
Metal Fabricator and Mentor Jeni Cairns
Sound Engineer James Ball
Production Manager Helen Mugridge
Deputy Production Manager Rachel Bowen
Executive Producer Claire Summerfield at Tandem Works
Producer Pilar Santelices
Judaism Consultancy Jacqueline Nicholls
Rabbinical Consultancy Rabbi Lev Taylor
Development Mentors K Sherman and Helen Paris
El Malei Rachamim sung by Rachel Weston
Project Photographers JMA Photography and Claire Haigh
Publication design Villalba Studio
Artist Wellbeing Practitioner Lou Platt at The Artist Wellbeing Company
Big Band arranged and conducted by Sam Eastmond

Thanks to Toni, Anna and the whole Barbican team, Leanne Cosby, The Intermission 2019 Group, Melanie Brown, Family Mars, Gemma Curtis, Vanessa Ackerman, Adam Schorin, Uli Unseld, William Essilfie, Naomi Woddis, Anna Barrett, Kat Radeva, The Yard Theatre and Margret Grundmann: May Her Memory be a Blessing.

Presented by the Barbican

Commissioned by the Barbican, Transform, Cambridge Junction with support from the Stobbs New Ideas Fund

Using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. With support from Chapter Arts Centre, Horizon: Performance Made in England, Metal Culture, MGCFutures and Asylum Arts. Originally developed through the Barbican Open Lab programme. First performed at Transform Festival, Leeds 2022

Images by JMA Photography

Barbican Open Lab
The Barbican Theatre Open Lab programme gives artists the opportunity to develop a new project, idea or performance as well as taking part in a year-long programme of support.

Related event

Difficult Inheritances: Jewish Artists On Confronting Their Histories (Fri 19 May, 1pm, Fountain Room). Tickets £3.


Rachel Mars
Creator and Performer

​​Rachel Mars is a writer and performer based in the UK. She works at the cross-over of performance art and theatre, interrogating the possibilities of live assembly; female, Jewish and Queer identities and their intersections; and the ways cultural and political constucts affect everyday human behaviours. Her recent performance work includes: YOUR SEXTS ARE SHIT: OLDER BETTER LETTERS, an archive of sex and desire; OUR CARNAL HEARTS, a choral dissection of envy; ROLLER, with Mars.tarrab, a fight show about female aggression and Roller Derby, and STORY #1/#3, an ongoing collaboration with Greg Wohead on radical narrative. She has won a Total Theatre Award and the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. For screen, she was a participant on the inaugural UK and Ireland Writers Lab, and a finalist on 4Stories 2002. She has performed all over the UK and internationally, including recently at Under The Radar in NYC, UMS Michigan, Barbican London, Brisbane International Festival, Brighton International Festival, Fusebox Festival Austin and On The Boards in Seattle.

Wendy Hubbard
Dramaturg and Co-director

Wendy Hubbard makes new theatre and performance. Previous work with Rachel Mars includes: OUR CARNAL HEARTS, as dramaturg and co-director, and YOUR SEXTS ARE SHIT: OLDER BETTER LETTERS, as dramaturg. She has been involved in FORGE since the inception of the project. Other recent projects include co-writing and co-directing Kingdom Come with Gemma Brockis for the RSC’s Mischief Festival of new and experimental work at The Other Place. She has worked with artists including Melanie Wilson (as outside-eye on Autobiographer and Landscape II, and dramaturg on Opera for the Unknown Woman) and Jamie Wood (as co-director, dramaturg and co-writer on Beating McEnroe, O No! and I am a Tree). Projects she has worked on have won a number of awards including the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award in 2004, a Total Theatre Award for Innovation, and a Scotsman Fringe First. Wendy Hubbard is also an academic researcher and teacher, with an AHRC funded PhD from Queen Mary, University of London. She lives in Frome, Somerset with her family, and is developing a multi-form project about psychic solitude, and the relationship between performance and compulsion, under the title RECOVERY/ DISCONNECT.

Dinah Mullen
Sound Designer

Dinah Mullen trained in Sound and Image Design at Rose Bruford, and is a performance sound artist and designer for live and digital performance, specialising in dance, interactive storytelling and devising. Dinah’s practice is currently focused on the relationships between humans and the natural world and humans and technology. Selected work in sound design for theatre and dance includes: Attempts on Her Life, Icarus and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Tobacco Factory; Cracked Nuts on Northern UK tour, with The Glitterbomb Dancers/Joseph Mercier; Habibti Driver at Bolton Octagon; Remedy for Memory at the Assembly Roxy and Dancebase; Squirrel at The Unicorn Theatre and The Egg; The Bolds at The Unicorn; Bobby and Amy on UK tour; YOUR SEXTS ARE SHIT: OLDER BETTER LETTERS on tour in the UK and US, with Rachel Mars; The Daughter In Law, Richard III and The Plague at the Arcola; ROLLER at the Barbican Pit, with Mars.tarrab; and Stella at Theatre Royal Brighton, Holland Festival - Brakke Grond and Hoxton Hall. Dinah Mullen is a recipient of the Arts Council England Develop Your Creative Practice Award (2021-22), and the WECA Creative Business Grant Bristol Council (2021) and was nominated for Best Sound Design at the Off West End Awards 2018.

Naomi Kuyck-Cohen

Naomi Kuyck-Cohen is a creative collaborator and designer for performance and space, and regularly co-designs with Joshua Gadsby. Recent design work includes I, Joan at Shakespeare’s Globe; The Chairs, co-designed with Cécile Trémolières at the Almeida; in a word at the Young Vic; The Greatest Play in the History of the World at the Royal Exchange, Traverse Theatre and Trafalgar Studios; BODIES with Ray Young for Unlimited; Nightclubbing with Ray Young at The Lowry, CPT and on tour; OUT with Ray Young at The Yard and on tour; Amsterdam with ATC at the Orange Tree and Theatre Royal Plymouth; and The Tyler Sisters at Hampstead Theatre. Co-designs with Joshua Gadsby include: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out with Kandinsky at the Royal Exchange; Trap Street with Kandinsky at the New Diorama and Schaubühne Berlin; Dinomania with Kandinsky at the New Diorama; Trainers, or the brutal unpleasant atmosphere of this most disagreeable season at the Gate; The Extinction Trilogy for Hester Stefan Chillingworth; The Winston Machine with Kandinsky at the New Diorama and on tour; We Should Definitely Have More Dancing at Oldham Coliseum; NDT Broadgate; and New Diorama’s cafe and public spaces.

Joshua Gadsby
Lighting Designer

Joshua Gadby is a lighting designer and creative collaborator working across theatre, dance and live art. He regularly co-designs set, costume, and lighting with designer Naomi Kuyck-Cohen. Lighting designs include: Who Killed My Father at the Tron and on UK tour; The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Theatre by the Lake; Alice in Wonderland at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester; Gulliver's Travels (lighting co-design) at The Unicorn Theatre; Robin Hood: Legend of the Forgotten Forest at Bristol Old Vic; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Leicester Curve and on tour with ETT; in a word at the Young Vic; A Kettle of Fish at The Yard; The Tyler Sisters and Alligators at Hampstead Theatre; Still Ill at the New Diorama with Kandinksy; As We Like It, Dragging Words and In Good Company at The Place; and RISE: Macro vs. Micro for Old Vic New Voices. Co-designs include: The Winston Machine at the New Diorama; There Is A Light That Never Goes Out: Scenes from the Luddite Rebellion at the Royal Exchange Manchester; Trainers at The Gate; Dinomania at the New Diorama, and Trap Street at the New Diorama and Schaubühne, Berlin, both for Kandinsky theatre.

Helen Mugridge
Production Manager
Helen Mugridge is an experienced production manager. Her previous credits include: Ancient Futures for Unlimited and Upswing; Wuthering Heights for Inspector Sands and China Plate; A Dead Body in Taos for Rachel Bagshaw with Fuel on UK tour; Oh Mother for Rash Dash on UK tour; Cupid’s Revenge for the New Art Club on UK tour; FORGE for Rachel Mars at the Transform Festival; Chasing Hares and Best of Enemies at the Young Vic; RED and Likely Story at Wales Millennium Centre; Gaping Hole with Rachel Mars and Greg Wohead at Ovalhouse, London; Little Wimmin for Figs in Wigs on UK tour including the Southbank Centre; Class for Scottee in Edinburgh, Canada and on UK tour; Atomic 50, an interactive installation for Waltham Forest Borough of Culture; Les Voyages for Company XY at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival; Idol for Jamal Gerald at Transform Festival and Theatre in the Mill Bradford; I’m a Phoenix, Bitch for Bryony Kimmings at the Grand Hall, BAC and international dates; Fat Blokes for Scottee at Edinburgh and on UK tour; The Shape of the Pain for Rachel Bagshaw and Chris Thorpe with China Plate at Edinburgh, in Germany and at BAC; and Golem for 1927 in the West End, at The Space/BBC and on UK and international tour.

James Ball
Sound Engineer

James Ball is a multidisciplinary engineer and technologist with a specialism in live sound and sound installation. He has extensive experience working both with outdoor performance and more traditional live music and theatre. Recently he has created a number of digital, interactive works for museums and online. Work and projects include Saint Etienne (front of house sound), Fahrenheit 451, 1000 Feet Deep, Periplum (front of house sound), Ring Out, Points of Departure, Ray Lee (design and production management, Found Sound Coventry, Found Sound Cycling and Kieran Lucas (coding and design).

Claire Summerfield at Tandem Works
Executive Producer
Tandem Works: is award winning Independent Producer Claire Summerfield. We support companies/artists developing and presenting performance-based work; from one person shows to site specific multi-disciplinary productions to and international tours. Each partnership responds to the needs of the artist/company and may include artistic and organisational strategy development, project design, partnership development and mentoring. Our current portfolio includes: Anatomical, New Art Club, Rachel Mars, Second Hand Dance and Takeshi Matsumoto, and past relationships include Mars.tarrab, Tom Dale Company, 30 Bird and Michael Pinchbeck. In 2017 Claire Summerfield secured Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation status for Tom Dale Company and in 2023/24 for Second Hand Dance for whom she has acted as Executive Producer since 2015.

Pilar Santelices
Associate Producer

Pilar Santelices is an independent Creative Producer based at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, where she works with performative projects across the world. After studying drama in Santiago, Chile, she moved to London to do an MA in Social Education and Community Development at Goldsmiths, and later completed an MBA in Arts & Cultural Management in Paris. Pilar Santelices has worked in the fields of education, social and cultural development for different organisations and in different countries. As well as performing, she has directed and produced many creative projects such as contemporary operas, a web series, artistic workshops, residencies and international tours. In the last six years, her work has had a particular focus on the area of performing arts for young audiences and recently she has been exploring the field of creative technology and VR.


Artist Rachel Mars stands against a cream wall wearing protective clothing. A metal structure is next to them.

Read: Meet the artist

'Really what I’m trying to do is create a public space to assemble, to consider things that are a bit tricky'.

Find out more about Rachel Mars' practice, including their experiences as an artist and their relationship with the Barbican.

For the Barbican

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

Board Members 
Munsur Ali, Randall Anderson, Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, Stephen Bediako, Farmida Bi, Tijs Broeke, Zulum Elumogo, Charles Edward Lord, Wendy Mead, Mark Page, Alpa Raja, Jens Riegelsberger, Jane Roscoe, Despina Tsatsas, Irem Yerdelen 

Clerk to the Board 
Ben Dunleavy 

Barbican Centre Trust 
Farmida Bi CBE 
Vice Chair 
Robert Glick OBE 

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

Chief Executive Officer 
Claire Spencer 
Artistic Director 
Will Gompertz 
Director of Operations and Buildings 
Jonathon Poyner 
Director of Development 
Natasha Harris 
Director of People, Inclusion and Culture 
Ali Mirza 
Head of Finance & Business Administration 
Sarah Wall 
Senior Executive Assistant to Claire Spencer and Will Gompertz 
Jo Daly 

Theatre Department 
Head of Theatre and Dance 
Toni Racklin 
Senior Production Manager 
Simon Bourne 
Liz Eddy, Jill Shelley, Fiona Stewart 
Assistant Producers 
Anna Dominian, Saxon Mudge, Mali Siloko 
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, John Gilroy, Jamie Massey, Adam Parrott, Lawrence Sills, Chris Wilby 
PA to Head of Theatre 
David Green 
Production Administrator 
Caroline Hall 
Production Assistant 
Andrew Pellett 
Eleanor Foster, Kendell Foster, Burcham Johnson, Bartek Kuta, Christian Lyons, Josh Massey, Matt Nelson 
Stage Door 
Julian Fox, aLbi Gravener 

Creative Collaboration and Learning 
Head of Creative Collaboration 
Karena Johnson 
Senior Producer 
Lauren Monaghan-Pisano 
Lauren Brown 
Assistant Producer 
Rikky Onefeli 

Marketing Department 
Acting Head of Marketing 
Ben Jefferies 
Marketing Manager 
Kyle Bradshaw 
Marketing Assistant 
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 
Seán Carter, Richard Long, Rob Norris, Elizabeth Davies-Sadd, Samantha Teatheredge 
Operations Manager (Health & Safety) 
Mo Reideman 
Audience Event & Planning Manager 
Freda Pouflis 
Venue Managers 
Scott Davies, Tilly Devine, Gary Hunt, Nicola Lake, Tabitha Goble Assistant 
Venue Managers 
Suman Cheema, Giovana Lorensatto, Maria Pateli 
Crew Management 
Dave Magwood, Rob Magwood, James Towell 
Access and Licensing Manager 
Rebecca Oliver 
Security Operations Manager 
James Cocklin

With thanks

The Barbican sparks creative possibilities and transformation for artists, audiences and communities – to inspire, connect, and provoke debate. 

As a not-for-profit, we need to raise two thirds of our income through fundraising, ticket sales, and commercial activities. With the help of our generous supporters, we are able to share the work of some of the most inspiring and visionary artists and creatives, enabling the widest possible audience to experience the joy of the arts. 

There are many ways you can support the Barbican, including by making a donation, joining our programme as a sponsor, or becoming a Member. To find out more and join our community, please visit or contact [email protected] 

With thanks... 

Founder and principal funder 
The City of London Corporation

Major Supporters 
Arts Council England 
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) 
SHM Foundation 
The Terra Foundation for American Art 

Leading Supporters 
Lonti Ebers 
Trevor Fenwick and Jane Hindley 
Marcus Margulies 

Programme Supporters 
Marie-Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (Spirit Now London) 
Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery 
Sayeh Ghanbari 
Elizabeth and J Jeffry Louis 
Pat and Pierre Maugüé 
The Clare McKeon Charitable Trust 
Hugh Monk 
Romilly Walton Masters Award 
The Rudge Shipley Charitable Trust 

Director’s Circle 
Anonymous (1) 
Farmida Bi 
Tom and Jo Bloxham MBE 
Philippe and Stephanie Camu 
Cas Donald 
Alex and Elena Gerko 
Trevor Fenwick and Jane Hindley 
Ruth and Stuart Lipton 
Tracey, Eloise and Max Mayerson 
Natrium Capital Limited 
Sian and Matthew Westerman 

Corporate Supporters 
Bank of America 
Bolt Burdon Kemp 
Google Arts & Culture 
Linklaters LLP 
Norton Rose Fulbright 
Osborne Clarke 
Pinsent Masons 
Slaughter and May 

Trusts & Grantmakers 
Art Fund 
Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne 
The Austin and Hope Pilkington Charitable Trust 
Bagri Foundation 
CHK Foundation 
Cockayne – Grants for the Arts 
John S Cohen Foundation 
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 
Goethe-Institut London 
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation 
Italian Cultural Institute in London 
Korean Cultural Centre UK 
Kusuma Trust UK 
London Community Foundation 
Mactaggart Third Fund 

Maria Björnson Memorial Fund
Peter Sowerby Foundation

The Polonsky Foundation 
Rix-Thompson-Rothenberg Foundation 
Swiss Cultural Fund 

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

The Barbican Centre Trust, registered charity no. 294282