Our programme

Theatre & dance

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International theatre, dance and performance by auteurs, leading companies and emerging artists who are challenging the idea of what theatre can be.

We invest in the artists of today and tomorrow through the commissioning of new work, our Open Lab scheme and giving a platform to emerging talent. And with our free offsite events in east London, reduced price tickets for 14-25 year olds through Young Barbican and our offer for families and younger theatre-goers we aim to inspire more people to discover and love the arts.

Discover

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Watch: Theatre taking centre stage

Enjoy a video of our Theatre taking centre stage before the audience have even arrived...

Collection: Theatre & Dance

Meet the directors, makers and actors who help us produce and present our rich programme of international theatre, creating dance, theatre and music that hovers on the very edge of classification as we push the boundaries of what theatre could be.   

Our Artistic Associates

Michael Clark Company

Artistic Associate

Michael Clark CBE founded his own company in 1984. It has since toured worldwide to perform at leading houses in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, as well as on its home stage at the Barbican, where it has been an Artistic Associate since 2005. Michael Clark Company has introduced dance to new audiences by performing at unorthodox venues and through Clark’s collaborations with leading artists, fashion designers and musicians.

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Boy Blue

Artistic Associate

Boy Blue's founders Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante were invited to join the Barbican as Artistic Associates in 2009 after the success of Pied Piper. They have since presented The Five & The Prophecy of Prana (2013), A Night with Boy Blue (2016, 2015, 2013) and the critically acclaimed Blak Whyte Gray (2017), which was nominated for Best New Dance Production at the 2017 Olivier Awards. Boy Blue has been at the forefront of presenting hip-hop as an art form in its own right.

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Cheek By Jowl

Artistic Associate

The multi award winning Cheek by Jowl has been an Artistic Associate since 2005. The company was founded by Declan Donnellan OBE and Nick Ormerod OBE in 1981 and has been invited to perform across the world, producing work in three languages; English, French and Russian. The core of Cheek by Jowl's repertoire has always been Shakespeare, with the additional principle to present major works of European drama, both in translation and in their original versions. 

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Deborah Warner

Artistic Associate

Deborah Warner CBE is one of the most prolific and highly regarded British directors working in theatre and opera today. Warner became Artistic Associate at the Barbican in 2005 and has since directed critically acclaimed productions of Julius Caesar (2005), The School for Scandal (2011), The Testament of Mary (2014) and Between Worlds (2015).

Pit Parties

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Pit Parties

In our Pit Parties, we invite a specially selected guest artist, producer or organisation to curate a programme of work by multiple artists, which includes time for audiences and artists to socially interact in a relaxed environment. The inaugural Pit Party took place in 2016, curated by nitroBEAT. Since then the Barbican has presented Pit Parties in collaboration with Touretteshero, Studio 3 Arts, Transform, Inua Ellams and Jamie Hale.

Opportunities for Artists

Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award

This award, which we co-produce, helps the development of emerging practitioners engaged in bold, challenging and innovative performance and encourages the new generation of creative artists. 

About the prize

Open Labs

Theatre and Dance

Our Open Labs programme nurtures creative talents from a diverse range of backgrounds, supporting the development of pioneering ideas that reach new audiences and challenge the idea of what theatre or dance can be. 

Find out more

Submissions Policy

 

We're committed to presenting fresh new work that hovers on the edge of classification, and much of the work that we present is co-commissioned by us. However, there may be opportunities to be part of our programme as below.

 

The Theatre (capacity 1156) is programmed by the Head of Theatre and the programming team.  We are usually programmed 1-2 years in advance and inclusion in our Theatre and Dance programme is by invitation only.

The Theatre is programmed year-round but may occasionally be available as an event space for commercial hire.

It is unusual for us to programme artists we do not have an existing relationship with, so the best way to begin a conversation is to invite us to see your work.  Due to the large number of requests that we receive we ask that you submit information at least 4-6 weeks before the event takes place.  We are a small team with limited availability and will prioritise seeing work that meets our programming criteria.  Please invite us to events by emailing theatre@barbican.org.uk

We will only contact artists if we are able to attend their performance or would like to discuss their work further.  Unfortunately, due to the number or requests we receive we are unable to respond to every invitation.

The Pit (capacity 150) is not available to hire.  It is programmed by the Head of Theatre and the programming team.  We are usually programmed 1 year in advance and inclusion in our Theatre and Dance programme is by invitation only.

In this space we present international multidisciplinary performance, co-curated with our long-standing partners including London International Mime Festival, LIFT, Dance Umbrella and SPILL Festival of Performance.

The Pit focuses on championing previously underrepresented voices in the artistic community and presenting work that is pioneering, crossing art forms and embracing innovation.

It is unusual for us to programme artists we do not have an existing relationship with, so the best way to begin a conversation is to invite us to see your work.  Due to the large number of requests that we receive we ask that you submit information at least 4-6 weeks before the event takes place.  We are a small team with limited availability and will prioritise seeing work that meets our programming criteria.  Please invite us to events by emailing theatre@barbican.org.uk

We will only contact artists if we are able to attend their performance or would like to discuss their work further.  Unfortunately, due to the number or requests we receive we are unable to respond to every invitation.

 

Support new commissions by artists at the Barbican

Invest in artists and help us create ground-breaking new commissions across the arts by donating to the Barbican Fund