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Barbican announces full September-December 2019 Theatre and Dance programme

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Barbican announces full September-December 2019 Theatre and Dance programme

The Barbican today announces its full September to December 2019 Theatre and Dance programme in the Barbican Theatre, The Pit and beyond its stages. Tickets go on sale to Barbican Members Plus on Wednesday 12 June and to Barbican Members on Thursday 13 June. From only £54, Barbican Members get priority booking, discounted tickets (subject to availability) and pay no booking fees. They can also take advantage of exclusive behind-the-scenes events and the Members’ Lounge. Tickets for the September to December 2019 Theatre and Dance programme go on sale to the general public on Friday 14 June 2019.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre, said: ‘This year sees a very exciting shift of emphasis as we hone in on artist development. Whilst we continue to present world-class international multidisciplinary performance, co-curated with our highly respected partners, including, in this period, Dance Umbrella and the Royal Shakespeare Company, we also introduce a variety of new voices to our audiences in The Pit, especially British-based artists from underrepresented groups. Many of the performances this autumn form part of Life Rewired, our year-long arts and learning season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything. This season, Barbican Members have exclusive access to an early R&D performance from Canada, plus an exciting Level G participatory event open to the public.’

The first production in the Barbican Theatre this season comes from London-based Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue who unveil the world premiere of their new dance theatre production REDD. This Barbican commission is about life’s irreversible moments and the different ways they can affect people.

Continuing our commitment to bring Russia’s finest acting ensembles to London, Moscow’s prestigious Theatre of Nations makes its Barbican debut, performing two UK premieres: Shukshin’s Stories, adapted from the comic, pithy, short stories of rural Russian life by writer and film-maker Vasily Shukshin, directed by Alvis Hermanis, and Chekhov’s enigmatic play Ivanov, directed by Timofey Kulyabin. Both productions are performed in Russian with English surtitles and star Evgeny Mironov

As part of this year’s Dance Umbrella, we bring the celebrated South African dancer and choreographer Gregory Maqoma to the Barbican Theatre. This UK premiere of Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero is a rousing dance theatre work performed by Maqoma’s Vuyani Dance Theatre and four traditional vocalists, and is inspired by South African author Zakes Mda’s stories about a professional mourner.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure transfer from Stratford-upon-Avon to the Barbican Theatre from 26 October in an electrifying season exploring the themes of morality, love, power and gender, which sparks with striking resonance. The season features 27 actors, who each appear across two of the three productions. There are 200 seats at £10 or less for every performance. For the first time in the Barbican Theatre, there is a chilled performance (see notes to editors for our definition of chilled performance) on 5 December of As You Like It. And on 18-19 January 2020, Justin Audibert, director of The Taming of the Shrew, leads a Weekend Lab - an intensive workshop for students, emerging or mid-career actors, directors and theatre-makers aged 18 and over, in which participants delve into the making of the production.

This year the Scotland-based SUPERFAN received The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2019. The Barbican co-production and world premiere Nosedive is performed in The Pit, directed by Ellie Dubois and Pete Lannon. This contemporary theatre and circus performance takes an intergenerational look at how cooperation, trust and security shift at varying stages of life, especially as people get older. There is a captioned and chilled performance on 14 Nov.

From the UK, Jamie Hale performs in and curates a Pit Party comprising a solo, Not Dying, directed by Kate O’Donnell, replete with hope, and a mixed-bill by D/deaf and disabled artists, expanding on the themes of Hale’s work. This world premiere is a spirited, celebratory evening of voices rarely represented on stage and all performances are chilled performances.

To coincide with Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art from 4 October 2019 – 19 January 2020, Barbican Art Gallery presents Heavy handed, we crush the moment in The Pit, a new commission by Last Yearz Interesting Negro, the performance project of London-based, UK artist and dancer Jamila Johnson-Small. This immersive experience is somewhere between a dreamscape, a meditation, a nightmare and a nightclub and sees Last Yearz Interesting Negro and collaborators create a charged atmosphere through sound, light, set and live performance.

To the Moon and Back is an immersive experience for babies (from 3 months-old), young children (up to four years-old) and their grown-ups, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Created by Artistic Director and founder of M-SET, Paula Manning, it takes audiences on a multisensory journey of discovery where tactile, interactive spaces are filled with sounds, special effects and colourful props made from unusual materials. All sessions are relaxed and part of the Barbican’s year-long arts and learning season, Life Rewired.

Barbican Members and Young Barbican Members are invited to attend a workshop presentation of Nicolas Billon’s gripping new play CODE, directed by Ravi Jain, that frames computer code as the universal language and currency of power. Performed by Why Not Theatre from Toronto, it is followed by a discussion and Q&A session on the themes of the play and is part of Life Rewired.

Guerilla Science, from the UK and USA, present a free pop-up party for the senses as part of Life Rewired. Flavour Feast – Eat Yourself Better is an interactive installation in which audiences participate in playful edible experiments designed to trick their senses.

Boy Blue – REDD
Thursday 26 September–Saturday 5 October 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 27 September 2019, 7.45pm

Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue follow the international triumph of Blak Whyte Gray with a Barbican commission and world premiere, REDD, about those irreversible moments in life and how they can affect people in different ways.

All life is balance. With happiness and light must come darkness. Audiences are invited to take a leap into the void, as nine dancers begin an introspective journey exploring how, after trauma, inner peace may be found. Intrigued by how the mind seeks to put things in order (from the Gaelic verb ‘redd’), Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy contrast a lo-fi hip-hop score with powerful choreography in this new dance theatre work.

Dancers are Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, Nicey Belgrave, Tanaka Bingwa, Mikiel Donovan, Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus, Emma Houston, Ajani Johnson-Goffe, Kayla Lomas-Kirton and Kelsey Miller.

Concluding the run, REDD is followed by a BSI Jam: Beats, Streets & Inspiration on Saturday 5 October on Level -1 where Asante and guests play their favourite tunes.

After the Barbican run, REDD is performed at Fairfield Halls, Croydon on Saturday 19 October as part of Dance Umbrella’s Fairfield Takeover weekend.

REDD is on sale.

Jamie Hale – CRIPtic Pit Party
Friday 11 & Saturday 12 October 2019, The Pit
Press night: Friday 11 October 2019, 7.45pm

A hit at Transpose at the Barbican, Jamie Hale’s searingly honest, incisive and deft poetry gripped audiences. Now they perform in and curate a Pit Party comprising a solo replete with hope and a mixed-bill of work by D/deaf and disabled artists.

To start, Hale presents Not Dying, in which they recount their full-circle story of progressive disability - from the agony and gracelessness of imminent death to the jubilance and defiance of survival. Developed through the Barbican’s Open Lab programme, the show was conceived as Hale underwent experimental medical treatment. Determined to confront and dismantle barriers often encountered by disabled people, this thought-provoking piece intertwines video and narrative and is directed by Kate O’Donnell.

The vibrant second-half showcase sees D/deaf and disabled artists reveal their own personal experiences of anger, fortitude and joy, performing short sets of music, dance and spoken word which expand on the themes of Not Dying. This Pit Party, for which Hale has also assembled a D/deaf and disabled backstage crew, is a spirited, celebratory evening of voices barely represented on stage and all performances are chilled performances.

Guerilla Science – Flavour Feast – Eat Yourself Better
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 September 2019, 12pm–5pm, Level G

Can we always trust our gut? Flavour Feast – Eat Yourself Better is a free, drop-in interactive installation in which audiences watch or participate in playful edible experiments designed to trick taste, touch, smell and sight. Invited to sample the delectable concoctions, they experience a multisensory insight into flavour perception and the complex relationship between stomach microbiome and brain.

With scientists and researchers on hand to answer questions, Flavour Feast’s pop-up party for the senses reveals facts and facilitates debate about eating habits, sustainability and the future of food - a topic that affects the health of everyone and the planet.  

Flavour Feast – Eat Yourself Better is part of the Barbican’s 2019 season, Life Rewired, which explores what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

Theatre of Nations, Moscow – Shukshin’s Stories
Monday 7–Wednesday 9 October 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Monday 7 October 2019, 7pm

Moscow’s prestigious Theatre of Nations presents Shukshin’s Stories, adapted from the comic, pithy, short stories of rural Russian life by writer and film-maker Vasily Shukshin.

One of the major cultural figures from Soviet times, Vasily Shukshin published his first short story, Two on the Cart, in 1958 and The Village Dwellers in 1963. In 1964 he directed There Is Such a Lad, a comic film based on his short story collection, and went on to direct, write and act in many Russian movies of the Soviet era. He died in 1974. Shukshin’s work is melancholic yet laced with humour. The vivid characters that inhabit Shukshin’s Stories are familiar provincial types from the 1970s Soviet Union, portrayed with affection, irony and huge love that give them an authenticity instantly recognisable to Russian audiences today.

The production is directed by Alvis Hermanis and stars Evgeny Mironov, Artistic Director of the Theatre of Nations who is renowned for his prolific theatre and film career. The cast also includes Chulpan Khamatova, who appears in Ralph Fiennes’ recent film The White Crow.

In 2010 Shukshin’s Stories was awarded a Golden Mask in three categories: “Best Production”, “Best Actor” (Evgeny Mironov), “Best Costume Designer (Viktoria Sevryukova)”.

Shukshin’s Stories is performed in Russian with English surtitles and is on sale.

Theatre of Nations, Moscow – Ivanov
Friday 11 & Saturday 12 October 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 11 October, 7pm

Ivanov, perhaps Chekhov’s most enigmatic play, is the second production in the Theatre of Nations season at the Barbican, and sees Evgeny Mironov take on the title role. The production is set in the present day with the weak, disenchanted Ivanov as a man facing a mid-life crisis who has exhausted his emotional reserves. His wife, Anna Petrovna, is dying and Ivanov seeks solace in his affection for the young Sasha, daughter of his creditor to whom he owes a large debt. Director Timofey Kulyabin’s production brings a fresh and modern perspective to the text while retaining its keen observation and comedic eye for detail.

Since 1991 Theatre of Nations has been based in the historical building in Moscow, originally the Korsch Theatre, one of the first privately owned theatres in Russia where the world premiere of Ivanov was staged in 1887.

Ivanov is performed in Russian with English surtitles and is on sale.

Dance Umbrella 2019
Vuyani Dance Theatre/Gregory Maqoma – Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero
Thursday 17–Saturday 19 October 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 17 October, 7.45pm

Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero, presented as part of Dance Umbrella, is a rousing dance theatre work of rhythmic dexterity and ecstatic intensity to the sounds of a live South African choir.

Celebrated dancer and choreographer Gregory Maqoma is Toloki – a paid mourner confronting a world in which greed, power and religious ideology lead so often to the normalisation of needless death and loss. Inspired by the protagonist from the stories of South African author Zakes Mda, this physical lamentation unfolds to the musical motif of Ravel’s Bolero, reinterpreted here through stirring song and percussion by four traditional vocalists joined onstage by eight gifted artists from Vuyani Dance Theatre.

Maqoma, who sees art as a commentary on how we treat others, created this soaring piece as a response to contemporary political events in his own country and globally.  

Maqoma recently choreographed William Kentridge’s The Head and the Load, presented as part of 14–18 NOW at Tate Modern in 2018, and is collaborating with Kwame Kwei-Armah and Idris Elba on Tree, which premieres at Manchester International Festival in July, before playing at the Young Vic.

Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero is on sale.

Why Not Theatre - CODE
Saturday 26 October 2019, 2pm, The Pit

Why Not Theatre and director Ravi Jain share a workshop presentation into the evolution of Nicolas Billon’s gripping new play that frames computer code as the universal language and currency of power.

After an artificial superintelligence is accidentally released into the ‘wild’ of the internet, a chase ensues to recapture it. But will it treat its creators with malevolence, benevolence or indifference?

Resident at the Barbican for a week of research and development, this innovative Toronto-based team reveal the discoveries they’re making in shaping this prescient piece of theatre. Finding inspiration in the biblical tale of the Tower of Babel, they investigate the moral conundrums raised by the creation of a new intelligence. 

This early insight into CODE, exclusively for Barbican and Young Barbican members, is followed by a discussion and Q&A session on the themes of the play.

CODE is part of the Barbican’s 2019 season, Life Rewired, which explores what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award 2019
SUPERFAN – Nosedive
Thursday 7–Saturday 16 November 2019, The Pit
Press night: Friday 8 November, 7.45pm

A child climbs onto an adult’s shoulders and they look out, seeing hope but also destruction. One generation after another reaches higher, looks further, hurtling toward a future they can’t control. Pushing themselves to the limit, dancing with abandon, colliding with one another, children and adults perform feats and leaps that grow ever bolder and more impressive, revealing an intricate and resilient bond. As their roles are subtly reordered, this intergenerational show becomes an unlikely metaphor for considering age, pitting the instinct to protect the young against the wild abandon and joy of childhood.

Directed by Ellie Dubois and Pete Lannon of Scotland-based SUPERFAN, Nosedive uses contemporary theatre and circus to look at how cooperation, trust and security shift at varying stages of life, especially as people get older. There is a captioned and chilled performance on 14 Nov. Dubois recently won a Herald Angel Award for her sold-out Edinburgh Fringe performance of No Show.

Royal Shakespeare Company – As You Like It
Saturday 26 October 2019–Saturday 18 January 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tuesday 29 October, 7pm

All the world really is a stage in Kimberley Sykes’ playful and imaginative take on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy.

Rosalind is banished, and with her best friend Celia by her side, she journeys to a world of exile. But not before catching the eye of love-struck Orlando, who is also forced from the Court into the Forest.

Blending physical comedy, music and storytelling, this As You Like It dares you to change your state of mind.

As You Like It is on sale.

Royal Shakespeare Company – The Taming of the Shrew
Tuesday 5 November 2019–Saturday 18 January 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 7 November, 7pm

The ultimate battle of the sexes is turned on its head in Justin Audibert’s The Taming of the Shrew as the 1590s are reimagined – with women in charge.

In this radical take on Shakespeare's fierce and energetic comedy of gender, Baptista Minola is seeking to marry off her two sons, the sweet-tempered Bianco and the rebellious Katherine. Cue an explosive courtship and a keenly witty portrayal of hierarchy and power.

The Taming of the Shrew is on sale.

Royal Shakespeare Company – Measure for Measure
Tuesday 12 November 2019–Thursday 16 January 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 14 November, 7pm

When a young novice nun is compromised by a corrupt official who offers to save her brother from execution in return for sex, she has no idea where to turn for help. When she threatens to expose him, he tells her that no one would believe her.

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran (The Tempest, 2017; Imperium I: Conspirator and Imperium II: Dictator, 2018) directs this new production of Measure for Measure, which was written in the early 1600s but feels even more urgent today.

Measure for Measure is on sale.

Heavy handed, we crush the moment – A performance commission by Last Yearz Interesting Negro (Jamila Johnson-Small)
Thursday 28 November–Sunday 1 December 2019, The Pit

To coincide with Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art from 4 October 2019–19 January 2020, Barbican Art Gallery presents Heavy handed, we crush the moment in The Pit, a new commission by Last Yearz Interesting Negro, the performance project of London-based artist and dancer Jamila Johnson-Small

Dance, darkness and bass frequencies – Heavy handed, we crush the moment is an immersive experience, somewhere between a dreamscape, a meditation, a nightmare and a nightclub. Last Yearz Interesting Negro presents a series of genre-blurring happenings, staging a new choreographic work that acts as an environment to host performances by guest artists.

Working from the potential of dance as a radical social practice, it focuses on the sensory impact of the live encounter for performers and audiences alike. Reflecting on boundaries, intimacy, spectacle and the inevitability of movement, Last Yearz Interesting Negro and collaborators create a charged atmosphere through sound, light, set and live performance.

Heavy handed, we crush the moment is a contemporary response to the Barbican exhibition which explores the history of cabarets, cafés and clubs in modern art across the world. Spanning the 1880s to the 1960s, it celebrates the creativity of the spaces in which artists, performers, designers, musicians and writers congregated to push the boundaries of artistic expression.

Full details about Heavy handed, we crush the moment are available from September 2019 when it goes on sale.

M-SET To the Moon and Back
Friday 13–Saturday 21 December 2019, The Pit
Press performances: Friday 13 December, 10am, 11.30am, 1.30pm or 3pm

To the Moon and Back is an immersive experience for babies (from 3 months-old), young children (up to four years-old) and their grown-ups, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

With a simple knock on a front door, audiences travel on a multisensory journey of discovery, exploring tactile, interactive spaces filled with sounds, special effects and colourful props made from unusual materials. Conjuring the natural world, from rain made of feathers to stars made from velvet, ideas will be revealed so that everyday objects can be turned into tools for creativity and fun at home after the show.

Artistic Director and founder of company M-SET, Paula Manning invents delightful installations, combining stimulating live music, drama, visual arts and design. All sessions of To the Moon and Back are relaxed.

To the Moon and Back is part of the Barbican’s 2019 season, Life Rewired, which explores what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

Notes to Editors

  1. Life Rewired is the Barbican’s year-long arts and learning season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything. Running throughout 2019, the season investigates the impact of the pace and extent of technological change on our culture and society, looking at how we can grasp and respond to the seismic shifts these advances will bring about. Life Rewired demonstrates how artists are finding imaginative ways to communicate the human impact of unprecedented technological shifts and scientific advances, as well as finding creative new uses for Artificial Intelligence, big data, algorithms and virtual reality. barbican.org.uk/liferewired   
     
  2. A chilled performance takes a casual approach to noise and movement in the auditorium, but the performance itself is unchanged. This performance is ideal for people who would feel more at ease knowing they can go in and out of the auditorium during the show, including people with dementia. This performance is for everybody and babes in arms are welcome, (not walking or requiring their own seat).
     
  3. A relaxed performance is open to anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment and is particularly suitable for those with learning disabilities, sensory or communication needs. The performance is adapted in a number of ways to reduce anxiety and create a supportive atmosphere, including adjusting light and sound levels. Audiences are welcome to move around and make noise during the show.  There is a chill-out space available should audiences need to leave the performance. They are welcome to come back in at any point.
     
  4. The Barbican’s Pit Parties invite a guest artist, producer or organisation to curate a programme of work by multiple artists in whom they are interested, and offers 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 Festival and Inua Ellams.
     
  5. The Barbican’s Open Lab gives artists the chance to experiment in a working theatrical space without the expectation of a final product. We accept proposals by invitation from artists with a nascent cross-arts or participatory idea, who want to try something challenging or who want to explore the creative process with new collaborators. https://www.barbican.org.uk/take-part/emerging-practising-artists