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Barbican announces new September to December 2018 Theatre and Dance season

Barbican Theatre and Dance programme
September to December 2018

The Barbican today announces its September to December 2018 Theatre and Dance season. Tickets go on sale to Barbican Members plus on Thursday 15 March, to Barbican Members on Friday 16 March and to the general public on Monday 19 March 2018. Young Barbican tickets for 14-25 year-olds are available for all productions from September to December 2018 (excluding Imagined Touch). There are 50,000 Young Barbican tickets for art, film, music, theatre and dance ranging from £5, £10 or £15.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican said:
“The Barbican's 2018, Centre-wide, year-long season, The Art of Change, brings risk-taking artists with new ideas to the Theatre and The Pit - who challenge themselves, challenge conventions and challenge perceptions. With a focus on artists from the UK, Australia, Ireland and France, and stimulating performances encompassing opera, music-theatre, circus, theatre and dance, our newly announced shows seek to provoke discussion and action by shining a spotlight on inequality and injustice. Many of the artists are award-winners, and many of the productions, some of which are experiential, seek a profound engagement with audiences and a desire to change society for the better.”

The Art of Change explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Three productions joining the line-up are: Spirit of Change: The Transform Pit Party (June 2018); Imagined Touch: the installation and Redefining Juliet.

Spirit of Change: The Transform Pit Party is an energising two-day programme curated by Transform, an engine room for bold, local and international theatre based in Leeds. Adventurous artists and performers from the north of England and beyond come to London to investigate activism, race and identity through interactive theatre, bite-sized performances, intimate storytelling and musical ritual.

From Australia, Imagined Touch: the installation is an immersive, perception-altering event in association with SPILL Festival of Performance in The Pit, directed by Jodee Mundy who makes her Barbican debut. This UK premiere is an experiential production seeking to reframe disability, as sight and sound give way to tactile communication.

Six actors, who typically would not be given the opportunity, take on the role of Shakespeare's heroine in Redefining Juliet in The Pit. Created by Storme Toolis from the UK, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, this collaboration between the Barbican and the Royal Shakespeare Company is directed by Alice Knight and is a celebration of difference challenging perceptions of who can play the iconic role.

Previously announced productions, also part of The Art of Change, are: Blak Whyte Gray; Transpose: The Future; and We Know Not What We May Be.

Following nominations for an Olivier Award and National Dance Award, UK company and Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue remount the acclaimed production of Blak Whyte Gray in the Theatre. The triple bill, co-commissioned and co-produced by the Barbican, reveals a different side to their personality: a return to their roots and a celebration of their culture.

For the third consecutive year and this time over three evenings, we bring CN Lester’s Transpose: The Future to The Pit, directed by Kate O’Donnell. Featuring UK-based artists from across the generations collaborating in performances of opera, poetry, dance and electronica, it considers, in a celebratory atmosphere, what tomorrow’s gender, identity and individuality might look like. There is also a Weekend Lab led by Lester.

British artist Zoë Svendsen creates absorbing and engaging performance projects about contemporary political subjects. Her latest show, a world premiere in The Pit, We Know Not What We May Be, starts with a short talk by a visionary speaker (confirmed names include Kate Fletcher, Ha Joon Chang and Frances Coppola). Audiences then enter an installation where storytelling, interaction and experimentation initiate conversations about the shape that change could take.

The Second Violinist is the latest collaboration between internationally renowned Irish playwright Enda Walsh and composer Donnacha Dennehy, which won Best Opera at The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2017 for Landmark Productions and Irish National Opera. The performances in the Theatre mark its UK premiere. This dazzling modern opera unfolds like an unnerving thriller driven by a haunting and compulsive score.

Co-commissioned by the Barbican and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, Alice Oswald’s extraordinary poem, Memorial, is performed on a grand scale by one of Australia’s most celebrated actors, Helen Morse, and a 215-strong community choir. This European premiere is brought to impassioned life within Jocelyn Pook’s transporting, otherworldly score, with movement direction by Circa’s Yaron Lifschitz.

British auteur Katie Mitchell directs the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord production and Barbican co-production of The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort). An intricate blend of performance and live cinema, the piece explores intimacy, gender, emotional paralysis, the male and female gaze and the potential for abuse of women within patriarchal structures. There is also a Weekend Lab led by Mitchell.

This winter the RSC brings three much loved Shakespeare titles from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon – Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Polly Findlay directs Christopher Eccleston in his RSC debut in the title role of Macbeth, with Niamh Cusack returning to the company to play Lady Macbeth and Edward Bennett as Macduff, in a contemporary production of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller.

Erica Whyman directs Romeo and Juliet with Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick as the star-crossed lovers. This violent and devastating tragedy looks in the eye a generation of young people let down by their parents. Young people from the RSC's Associate Schools will play the Chorus, alongside the professional cast. The production will then tour in 2019, with more young people joining across the country. Romeo and Juliet builds on the incredible achievements of her 2016 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation which united 84 amateur performers, 580 children and a professional cast.

Concluding the season with a change of tone, Fiona Laird directs the hilarious comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, with RSC Associate Artist David Troughton as Falstaff, in a contemporary setting - with more than a hint of reality TV - as the RSC continues to take audiences on its journey through Shakespeare’s canon.

Across the RSC London season at the Barbican there will be over 20,000 tickets available at £10 and under. Tickets for the RSC London season at the Barbican go on sale to RSC Gold/Silver Patrons on Monday 19 March, to RSC Bronze Patrons on Tuesday 20 March, to RSC Members and Barbican Members Plus on Wednesday 21 March, to RSC Subscribers and Barbican Members on Thursday 22 March and to the general public on Friday 23 March.

In The Pit, we present the world premiere and Barbican co-production of Marathon, winner of this year’s Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. The play is an experiment with form, style, live music and pyrotechnics by a young group of collaborative artists, Alan Fielden with JAMS.

We welcome back the contemporary dancer and Olivier Award nominee from Ireland Colin Dunne who takes on the ‘undanceable’ music of the virtuoso fiddle player and composer Tommie Potts. This UK premiere comes to The Pit as part of Dance Umbrella.

Yaron Lifschitz returns to the Barbican with his Australian company Circa and the European premiere of Wolfgang, a reinvention of Mozart’s magical music for audiences from the age of three upwards, featuring two of the company’s dexterous, daredevil artists and a musician.

Landmark Productions and Irish National Opera – The Second Violinist
Thursday 6–Saturday 8 September 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 6 September 2018, 7.45pm

A dazzling modern opera that tells the foreboding story of a life falling apart, The Second Violinist unfolds like an unnerving thriller driven by a haunting and compulsive score.

Martin, an orchestral violinist, is consumed by social media platforms, morbid fantasies and violent video games. Seeking solace in the music of Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, his inner turmoil becomes ever more apparent as he searches for beauty in a dark, dark world.

The latest collaboration between internationally renowned Irish playwright Enda Walsh and composer Donnacha Dennehy, this brooding production switches between multiple timelines. It marries multilayered set and video design with amplified sounds, harmonies and overtones – reflective of the heightening tension onstage – and played live by the dynamic music group, Crash Ensemble. Lyrical and ethereal singing by three soloists and a 16-strong chorus contrasts with Aaron Monaghan’s central performance - physically fraught, essentially wordless and utterly involving.

The Second Violinist won Best Opera at The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2017 and the FEDORA-GENERALI Prize for Opera 2017.

METIS – We Know Not What We May Be
September 2018 (dates to be confirmed on Fri 25 May 2018), The Pit

There has never been a greater urgency for change. But what shape could this take and who will be in charge? We Know Not What We May Be asks if human ingenuity can improve people’s relationships with each other and their treatment of the planet.

Following a short talk by a visionary speaker, audiences are led into an installation - for storytelling, interaction and experimentation. Working with a host of inspirational experts including economists, architects and environmentalists, Zoë Svendsen aims to initiate conversation, challenge people’s sense of what is possible, and find ways in which individuals and society can take an active part in transforming the future.

A theatre-maker, dramaturg and Director of METIS, Svendsen develops absorbing, engaging and funny performance projects that highlight contemporary political subjects.

We Know Not What We May Be is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Boy Blue – Blak Whyte Gray
Wednesday 12–Saturday 15 September 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Wednesday 12 September 2018, 7.45pm

The critically acclaimed Blak Whyte Gray returns to the Barbican, following nominations for an Olivier Award and National Dance Award.

The world in flux, a need for change: the artists of Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue give expression to experiences of contemporary life. The time is right to ask questions, to break free from the inner tension of a system that isn’t working, and to emerge on the other side to an awakening – a return to their roots, a celebration of their culture.

Fuelled by an emotional energy, the piece pairs the concentrated physicality of select hip-hop dance styles with the rhythmical groove of music and moves evoking Africa. Created by Boy Blue’s founders Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, Blak Whyte Gray is infused with an unexpected abstract quality, revealing a different side to the company’s personality.

Blak Whyte Gray is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award Winner 2018
Alan Fielden with JAMS –
Marathon
Thursday 20–Saturday 29 September 2018, The Pit
Press night: Friday 21 September 2018, 7.45pm

A man on the front line of a conflict between two countries is told by his general to relay a message to the king: ‘we’ve lost the war, the enemy is coming.’ The journey he takes and the people he meets along the way lead him to question his faith in the mission.

This is theatre for a generation engulfed by the fog of information in the digital age, where the storytelling is disrupted and never fully takes shape, as the narrators in the play try to recall an event.

Marathon is less about the Greek myth and more about the performers onstage struggling to re-enact the play they’ve created of the same name. Under a kind of collective amnesia, they experiment with form, style, live music and pyrotechnics to evoke the sense of confusion felt by many people in today’s society. JAMS are a group of young artists intent on creating unpredictable and collaborative theatre.

Brink Productions – Memorial
by Alice Oswald
Thursday 27–Sunday 30 September 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 27 September 2018, 7.45pm

Alice Oswald’s extraordinary poem is performed on a grand scale, brought to impassioned life within Jocelyn Pook’s transporting, otherworldly score.

Out of the darkness, a vast field of bodies emerges. A woman stands as storyteller, her voice like that of a god, conveying the elements, time itself, and a thousand lives caught in visceral moments of war. A 215-strong community chorus moves as a haunting and uplifting presence, which evolves from battlefield to meadow to empty starlit sky.

Stripping much of the narrative from the Iliad, Oswald’s Memorial is an intense and urgent elegy for each of the 215 dead soldiers named in Homer’s epic poem, one that transcends time to explore profound themes. Her transformative text is embodied by one of Australia’s most celebrated actors, Helen Morse, joined by an ensemble of singers and musicians as well as the monumental UK choir. Directed by Brink Productions’s Chris Drummond, with choreography by Circa’s Yaron Lifschitz, the reflective, meditative and dynamic show stands as a requiem to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during conflict and war.

Memorial is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord – The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort)
Wednesday 3–Saturday 6 October 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 4 October 2018, 7.45pm

Through an intricate blend of performance and live cinema, The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort) explores intimacy, gender, emotional paralysis, and the male and female gaze.

Playwright Alice Birch updates and inverts Marguerite Duras’s novella, turning the female protagonist into a sex worker and investigating the impact of pornography on the psyche. In a hotel room by the sea, a man waits.

Renowned as a risk-taking auteur who directs beautifully crafted, influential multi-media work, Katie Mitchell invites audiences to consider the unique way in which men and women scrutinise each other, and the potential for abuse of women within patriarchal structures. Affecting images, sophisticated camera techniques and courageous acting by Laetitia Dosch and Nick Fletcher come together, with the intense action unfolding both onstage and on a large screen to the words of a narrator, played by Irène Jacob.

The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort) is performed in French with English surtitles.

Dance Umbrella
Colin Dunne –
Concert
Wednesday 17–Saturday 20 October, The Pit
Press night: Wednesday 17 October 2018, 7.45pm

Two Irish artists united by a deep appreciation of tradition yet compelled by their desire to break it apart: contemporary dancer Colin Dunne takes on the ‘undanceable’ music of the virtuoso fiddle player and composer Tommie Potts (1912-1988), as part of Dance Umbrella 2018.

Armed with a turntable, portable speakers and sheets of flooring, Dunne enters into a creative dialogue with The Liffey Banks (1972) - the only commercial recording left by the enigmatic Potts. This rhythmically deviant, melodically resplendent album presents a singular challenge to Dunne. Responding physically, percussively and conversationally to the irregular, richly textured tunes he draws on his extraordinary technique and deep engagement with the music to illuminate it afresh in a negotiation of old and new.

Dunne returns to the Barbican following the Olivier-nominated Out of Time in 2009.

The Barbican welcomes the return of Dance Umbrella Festival as it celebrates its 40th year.

Royal Shakespeare Company – Macbeth
Monday 15 October 2018–Friday 18 January 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tuesday 23 October 2018, 7pm

Christopher Eccleston makes his RSC debut in the title role of Shakespeare’s psychological thriller, opposite Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth and with Edward Bennett as Macduff.

Returning home from battle, the victorious Macbeth meets three witches on the heath. Driven by their disturbing prophecies, he sets out on the path to murder.

Polly Findlay’s contemporary production of this dark tragedy of power and revenge marks her return to the Barbican following her stunning staging of The Alchemist in 2016.

Royal Shakespeare Company – Romeo and Juliet
Friday 2 November 2018–Saturday 19 January 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tuesday 6 November 2018, 7pm

Set in a world very like our own, this Romeo and Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents.

What if your first true love was someone you’d been told to hate? Shakespeare’s most famous story explodes with intense passion and an irresistible desire for change but leads all too quickly to devastating consequences.

RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman is back at the Barbican following her acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation in 2016. Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick are the star-crossed lovers, with the professional cast joined by young people from RSC Associate Schools in London who perform as part of the chorus.

Jodee Mundy Collaborations – Imagined Touch: the installation
SPILL Festival of Performance
Wednesday 7–Sunday 11 November 2018, The Pit
Press performances: Wednesday 7 November 2018, timed admissions for journalists from 6-9pm (last admission). Please contact the Barbican’s Communications office to book your press tickets

Created by Heather Lawson and Michelle Stevens, this immersive event, where sight and sound give way to tactile communication, shares the humour, grief, beauty and profound isolation of their lives as deafblind artists.

Audiences watch a short introductory film and are given individual headphones and goggles. Guided through to an unseen promenade installation, with light and sound distorted and restricted, it is touch that becomes integral to connection. Designed to be accessible for everyone, it uses social haptics (communication conveyed through touch), audio-description, British sign language and subtitles along with the presence of tactile sign guides.

Recipient of Melbourne’s Green Room Award for Innovation in Experiential Performance, director Jodee Mundy is fluent in Australian sign language, as, apart from her, everyone in her family is deaf. Collaborating with Lawson and Stevens – experts in tactile sign interpreting and social haptic communication – Imagined Touch is a perception-altering experience which seeks to reframe disability as an opportunity for untapped potential.

Imagined Touch is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Storme Toolis – Redefining Juliet
Friday 30 November 2018, The Pit, 7.45pm

A frank and gutsy retelling of a classic in which six female actors, who typically would not be given the opportunity, take on the role of Juliet, each owning Shakespeare’s heroine while challenging widely-held ideals of beauty and sexuality.

Weaving text from Romeo and Juliet with their own hard-hitting stories, Redefining Juliet is a celebration of difference challenging perceptions of who can play the iconic role.

Appearing regularly on British television, Storme Toolis has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Inspired by her own desire to portray Juliet, she collaborates with other performers, who have felt like outsiders, to bring multiple dimensions to the famed romantic lead. Featuring key scenes from the play, interspersed with resonant details of the actors’ personal lives, this is an empowering production directed by Alice Knight, which is both joyous and sad, and shot through with wit.

Redefining Juliet is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

CN Lester – Transpose: The Future
Thursday 6–Saturday December 2018, The Pit
Press performance: Thursday 6 December 2018, 7.45pm

A spirit of hopefulness characterises the third edition of Transpose at the Barbican, as trans voices come together to look to the future.

Featuring artists from across the generations collaborating in performances of opera, poetry, dance and electronica, this show considers, in a celebratory atmosphere, what gender, identity and individuality might look like tomorrow.

Transpose is curated by CN Lester and directed by Kate O’Donnell, multi-talented performers and leading lights from the trans community.

Transpose: The Future is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Royal Shakespeare Company – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Friday 7 December 2018–Saturday 5 January 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 12 December 2018, 7pm

There’s more than a hint of reality TV to this modern production of Shakespeare’s hilarious comedy, directed by Fiona Laird.

Down on his luck in the suburbs, Sir John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating his comeuppance amid a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos.

For a fat Englishman, a Welshman and a Frenchman, the only way is Windsor... RSC Associate Artist David Troughton takes on the role of Sir John following his masterful performance in Titus Andronicus last year.

Circa – Wolfgang
Wednesday 12–Saturday 22 December 2018, The Pit
Press performance: Thursday 13 December 2018, 5pm

Straight from the score and onto the stage, the man known as Mozart appears amid a storm of powder, tumbling and twirling, as musical mayhem and movement fuse in this family show with a circus twist.

To those who know him, he is Wolfgang, the dart-playing, pun-loving ratbag. To those who are watching and listening, he is the wigged genius Mozart. His irrepressible spirit is exposed as he rediscovers his own vibrant compositions, the notes lifting off the page through the physical comedy and mischievous antics of diving and swooping acrobats.

Wolfgang reinvents the composer’s magical music in a skilful and illuminating show, for audiences from the age of three upwards, featuring two of Circa’s dexterous daredevil artists. Joined onstage by a musician, they initiate audience participation with the wave of a conductor’s baton. Since 2010 the Australian ensemble and the Barbican have collaborated to programme five hit productions under Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz.

NOTES TO EDITORS
The Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. The season sees the Barbican present bold artistic responses to vital global issues including feminism, climate change and human rights, while providing a platform for voices currently underrepresented in the arts. The season includes world-class music, theatre, dance, film, visual arts and learning and runs throughout 2018. Find out more here

Barbican Theatre and Dance programme
New shows recently announced for January to July 2018:

Studio 3 Arts Pit Party: Meat Raffle
A working-class cabaret
Saturday 17 March, 7.45pm & Sunday 18 March 2018, 5.30pm, The Pit

Two nights of electric entertainment recreate the live buzz, subversive energy and community spirit of working-class clubs.

To the sound of a karaoke machine and the sparkle of a glitter ball, this Pit Party is informal and intimate. Whether a men’s choir or award-winning comedian, burlesque maverick or spoken word poet, these eclectic acts tell their stories of protest and triumph. Audiences can get their eyes down for the bingo, try their luck with the meat raffle (with proceeds going to the Barking Foodbank) and enjoy a drink.

Based in Barking and Dagenham, Studio 3 Arts make outstanding art that is accessible, exciting and transformative. Paying tribute to the halls, hubs and clubs that have long been at the heart of communities from Dundee to Dagenham, they bringing together a host of authentic voices from London and beyond for this engaging weekend applauding a grand and expressive tradition of the working-class.

Studio 3 Arts Pit Party: Meat Raffle - A working-class cabaret is part of Barbican OpenFest, a weekend of inspiring art and entertainment open to everyone, which takes place in and around the Barbican Centre. Find out more here

Casson & Friends – Bitesize Barbican: The Dance WE Made
Thursday 22 March 2018, 11.30am–1.30pm, Freestage, Barbican Foyers, Level G

Four dancers twist, shimmy and glide through the Barbican Foyers asking members of the public to suggest a move to add to the mix.

The performers then construct a movement puzzle to choreograph a unique piece performed on the Freestage. Later, audiences can find the video of their dance online.

In 2012, The Dance WE Made set the world record for a dance created by the largest number of choreographers – 152 people contributed.

Casson & Friends are a UK-based dance theatre company that collaborate with a broad range of artists and audiences, to create work that is accessible, interactive and joyful.

Launched in 2017, Bitesize Barbican is a series of free performances presented at lunchtime in the Barbican Foyers.

Spirit of Change: The Transform Pit Party
Friday 8 June 2018, 8–10pm; Saturday 9 June 2018 12.45–4pm and 8–10pm,
The Pit
Journalists are invited to attend any performance; please contact the Barbican’s Communications Office to book your press tickets

Transform, an engine room for bold, local and international theatre based in Leeds, comes to London to bring interactive theatre, bite-sized performances, intimate storytelling and musical ritual to The Pit.

Investigating ideas of activism, race and identity, the artists gathered for this latest Pit Party are united by a fierce independent spirit that carries an ethos of change. Engaging directly with people and place, they are driven by issues facing the world today, their genre-defying work a platform for exchange.

This energising two-day programme, features contributions from adventurous artists and performers from the north of England and beyond including Common Wealth Theatre, Nwando Ebizie, Tania El Khoury, Jamal Gerald, Sachli Gholamalizad, Pauline Mayers, and Sarah Vanhee. Audiences are encouraged to watch, converse, interact one-on-one and get fully involved.

Spirit of Change: The Transform Pit Party is part of our 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Press information
For further information please contact:

Angela Dias, Senior Communications Manager for Theatre and Dance, 020 7382 7168 or angela.dias@barbican.org.uk

Freddie Todd Fordham, Communications Officer for Theatre and Dance, 020 7382 7399 or freddie.todd-fordham@barbican.org.uk

For Spirit of Change: The Transform Pit Party, Amanda Trickett, 0113 243 4713 or amanda@bonnerandhindley.co.uk

For The Second Violinist, Memorial and The Malady of Death – Bridget Thornborrow, 07802 166594 or bridget.thornborrow@barbican.org.uk

For general enquiries relating to Dance Umbrella – Hannah Clapham, 020 7831 7657 or hannahc@thecornershoppr.com

For Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor – Philippa Harland, 020 7845 0512 or philippa.harland@rsc.org.uk