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Gecko: The Wedding

Three performers in white dresses appear to be dancing or moving behind a figure in a coat and hat in front of them. They each carry a red suitcase.

Welcome to the Barbican Theatre for the eagerly anticipated return visit of Gecko’s production of The Wedding. We first presented this work in 2019 with our long-time partners, the London International Mime Festival, and we’re delighted to be able to bring it back to London audiences this summer. Artistic Director Amit Lahav and his ensemble of nine, hugely talented, international performers guide us through a dystopian world in which we are all brides, wedded to society. Through their trademark style of physical theatre, combining movement, imagery and provocative narrative, Gecko question the terms of this union between the state and the individual.

Thank you for joining us this evening.

Toni Racklin,
Head of Theatre and Dance, Barbican


Inspiration for creating work is all around us. It’s in our personal lives, in the news, politics, and in the relationships that we have with our friends, families and colleagues. By delving further into these relationships, I was struck by a sense that we are all married, bound by the many contracts of modern life. For me, The Wedding started as a battle between anger and love. Played out around the complex ideas of belonging, state, exclusion and a longing for community, all set within the excitement and ceremony of marriage!

Amit Lahav, Artistic Director of Gecko and creator of The Wedding

About Gecko

Gecko is dedicated to providing experiences of the highest quality possible; for audience members coming to see one of our shows or watching one of our films, for school students taking part in a workshop delivered by one of our world-class performers, for our local communities taking part in our Creative Engagement programme, and for artists developing their own practice. These experiences take place in our hometown of Ipswich, across the UK and around the world.

In everything we do, we want to create the opportunity for people to connect to our work and to each other.

We create performance that explores contemporary themes relevant to the society in which we live, performance that is inspiring and provocative. We blend choreography, sound, lighting and set design to create our worlds and use breath, emotion, multiple languages and metaphor to tell our stories. Our audience engage with our work in various ways (visually, sonically and emotionally) giving it a broad appeal across diverse age groups, nationalities and backgrounds. This approach encourages our audience to deepen their connection with the company and each other, and to create and share their own interpretation of our work.

We take the same approach with our Creative Engagement programme. Working with our highly experienced facilitators, we create a safe and supported environment that allows creative practitioners, local community groups and students to be bold and experimental, inviting them to push beyond the boundaries of their previous experience, develop new skills and a new understanding of the world around them.

Creative team

Creator Amit Lahav
Designer Rhys Jarman
Lighting Designer Joe Hornsby
Sound Designer Jonathan Everett
Original Music Dave Price
Associate Director Rich Rusk
Costume Designer Gayle Playford
Producer Rosalind Wynn

Trumpet Tom Allan
Double Bass / Bass Guitar Sam Burgess
Guitar Ben Hales
Oud Frank Moon
Clarinet Dave Shulman
Bass Guitar Jon Thomas
Vocals / Krar Temesgen Zeleke

For Gecko
Production Manager Jamie Maisey
Company Stage Manager Leah Butterworth
Technical Stage Manager Jake Channon

Sound Operator Sharon Tsang
Production photos by Richard Haughton
Artistic Director Amit Lahav
Executive Producer Rosalind Wynn
Head of Operations and Development Steve Allman
Finance Manager Andy Brumwell
Creative Engagement Producer Paul Smethurst
Associate Directors: Helen Baggett and Rich Rusk

Gecko Patrons
Arlene Phillips and Dominic West

Gecko Board
Giles Kerkham, Phanuel Mutumburi, Jon Neal (chair), Jeanette Siddall CBE and Dr Sue Smith

For the Barbican

Theatre Department 
Head of Theatre and Dance Toni Racklin  
Senior Production Manager Simon Bourne 
Producers Leanne Cosby, Jill Shelley, Angie Smith 
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 John Gilroy, Jamie Massey, Adam Parrott, Tom Salmon, John Seston, Chris Wilby, Lawrence Sills 
PA to Head of Theatre David Green 
Production Administrator Caroline Hall 
Production Assistant Andrew Pellett 
Technicians Kendell Foster, Burcham Johnson, Bartek Kuta, Christian Lyons, Charlie Mann, Josh Massey, Matt Nelson, Heather Readdy, Neil Sowerby 
Stage Door Julian Fox, aLbi Gravener 
Marketing Manager (Theatre and Dance) Kyle Bradshaw 
Marketing Assistant (Theatre and Dance ) Rebecca Moore  
Acting Communications Manager (Theatre and Dance) Freddie Todd Fordham 
Communications Intern Sumayyah Sheikh 
Creative Learning Senior Producer Lauren Monaghan-Pisano
Creative Learning Producer Lauren Brown 


Biographies of the cast and creative team can be found on Gecko’s website here:

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Q&A with the company

What is the narrative journey of the show? 

RYEN: We are all born into some contractual agreement within society, the narrative of the 
show then showcases different versions of this agreement through various personal Journeys. 

Can you tell us more about where and when The Wedding is set? 

AMIT: The Wedding is set now, and is always set now, in this time when the struggle to belong and connect is meaningful - which is now. The immigrants are a family who exist on the fore-stage of each and every theatre we play, their plight is universal and urgent and so we set their world on the theatre fore-stage and they address the audience directly. The centre of the stage represents the centre of society today, safety and all that is acceptable, high up at the back and in the centre is where the higher echelons of society dine. 

What does the show say about the world we live in today? 

MADDY: The themes of the show will always be relevant because it will always be important to not blindly follow and not fall into a routine system without being critical and questioning it. You need to always question those in power, the political system or even how your school is being run. 

What role does sound and language play in The Wedding? 

AMIT: Sound is one of 5 equally important devices used to carry the narrative of the show; sound/music, choreography, character scenes, scenic design, lighting, all five share an equal responsibility and are all telling the same story. Each is vital. The sound in the show is a score that elicits emotion throughout, it is suggestive of the emotional parameters of each and every moment. The spoken languages in the show are another important texture - they enable the performers to express their humanity and their intentions throughout without crystallising and dictating the audiences which might happen if the show were in one singular spoken language. 

What is it like to work in such a collaborative way as part of this ensemble? 

MARIO: I really like working as part of this ensemble as you can develop the ideas at the same time as understanding the show, not only in the logical way but also within your character and their journey. To work like this is to understand it as a performer and find your expression whilst developing the show. In this collaborative way you can propose change, you get to put your own stone down whilst building the house as the house or path is never done. 

How would you like audiences to feel when they leave the theatre? 

MIGUEL: I like the audience to leave feeling packed with emotions, slightly confused and overwhelmed but curious to unravel why they feel that way. I want them to then continue to be constantly thinking about the show in the days that follow. They should have a feeling of being perplexed. The show has so many different emotional levels and I want the audience to have travelled to all of those places with us. 

What has surprised you most about the audience response to The Wedding? 

SAJU: I see someone in tears at the end of every single show and I have not experienced that deep of an emotional response consistently before. At the end of the show the performers are also in an emotionally charged mental space. It is amazing to connect with the audience like this and it is constantly surprising for me. 

Sound World Information Sheet

Inside the sound worlds of Gecko

Sound and music are incredibly important to any Gecko show. The movements made by our performers have a strong sense of musicality and connection to the soundtrack. We build the

sound world to any show during the creation process, hand in hand with all the other design elements as each are completely integral to the world of Gecko, and the stories we tell.

The soundscape to The Wedding contains a rich mix of sourced music pertinent to the world of the production, combined with a specially created soundtrack unique to the show.

Since Gecko’s first show in 2001, we have worked with composer Dave Price who has developed an intimate relationship and working method with the company, which allows him to create original music that perfectly suits the narrative and emotional tone of the piece. The Wedding is a big show with a culturally significant story and the sound and music have an epic, cinematic quality that helps articulate and expand the narrative, gluing everything together.

Multiple spoken languages are used by the performers throughout the show, but are not the main method of storytelling. In fact, no audience member will understand all the dialogue spoken in our shows as so many different languages are used.

Language becomes an equal layer of the soundscape with the intention of aiding the emotion of a scene rather than defining narrative or meaning. Often words are muttered or sentences

are left incomplete. With an ensemble of nine international performers in The Wedding, this also brings with it the largest selection of different languages of any Gecko show so far.

The following languages are spoken in The Wedding, some by native speakers and some that have been learnt specifically for the role: Basque, Serbian, Cantonese, Norwegian, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Georgian, German, Welsh, Russian and Esperanto. Some performers use more than one language within the show, as many perform multiple roles.

The narrative moves between various characters and worlds. There are distinct original musical themes which help to drive the choreography and propel the story of each character forwards – including ‘Wedding Ceremonies’, ‘Office World’, ‘Robin’s World’, ‘Immigrant World’ and ‘End Song’ – alongside sourced music like classical opera music and a piece performed by The Yuval Ron Ensemble.

When writing the original music, I decided to begin each theme by improvising with a selected instrument. Once I had found a way in, I would expand the idea and develop the arrangement. This helped me to connect to the ideas in an emotional way, allowing me to use my instincts – something I rely on throughout a creative process. Once the tracks were developed, I focused on production, bringing in other musicians to contribute their parts.

Dave Price, composer for The Wedding

Read the full piece about the fascinating development of the sound world of The Wedding here


Supported by Arts Council England and Ipswich Borough Council. The Wedding is a Gecko production. Co-commissioned by DanceEast, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Northern Stage, HOME Manchester and Beijing 707 N-Theatre Co. Ltd. (Edinburgh Fringe Showcase in China), in association with Lighthouse Poole and Warwick Arts Centre, supported by The Point Eastleigh.