Press room

Barbican May 2018 highlights

Max and Julia at the Barbican

Barbican May 2018 highlights

  • The Pit stage becomes The Situation Room - a daring new forum for public discussion as Split Britches ask the audience to consider whether we are hurtling towards doomsday in Unexploded Ordnances (UXO).
  • Barbican Young Poets join forces with dancers from Boy Blue fusing the vitality and energy of spoken word with movement, as they share personal experiences of our nation in A Change is Gonna Come.
  • Oscar® Winning Scores includes a rare opportunity to hear composer Justin Hurwitz talk about his Academy Award winning score for Damian Chazelle's La La Land, in conversation with Gary Yershon.
  • The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the Barbican for a residency featuring three concerts with Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel as well as Tuning into Change, a cross-cultural exchange involving young musicians from Los Angeles and Great Britain.
  • Acclaimed composer Max Richter and artist Yulia Mahr curate a weekend of numerous events, both ticketed and free, including concerts and film screenings, will take place across the Barbican Hall, foyers, cinemas, and the neighbouring venues of LSO St Luke’s, Milton Court Concert Hall and St Giles’ Cripplegate. 
  • Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins looks at the continuing fascination of artists with those on the margins of society through the work of 20 exceptional image-makers, including Bruce Davidson, Paz Errázuriz, Casa Susanna, Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, Boris Mikhailov, Daido Moriyama and Dayanita Singh.
  • Make! A Season of Contemporary Craft continues in the Barbican Shop with a panel discussion on bike building, polystyrene workshops with Silo Studio, and weaving demonstrations and workshops with Christabel Balfour.

 

THEATRE AND DANCE

Julie Cunningham & Company – Sarah Kane’s Crave
Thu 10–Sun 13 May 2018, The Pit
Press night: Fri 11 May 2018, 7.45pm

Julie Cunningham has established a reputation as an extraordinary contemporary dancer – arresting, poised, sophisticated and precise – during a long career in which she has performed with Merce Cunningham Company and Michael Clark Company. Since making her move into choreography, with the double bill To Be Me seen at the Barbican, she has been developing work that responds directly to poems and text.

Now from Cunningham comes an enigmatic new piece combining dance and spoken word based on Sarah Kane’s powerful play, Crave.

In Crave, the iconic playwright investigates dark and potent themes including rape, incest, addiction and instability. Featuring four actors and four dancers, Cunningham’s version connects meticulous and stark movement to the poetic style of Kane’s writing. With a focus on the inner world of the characters, akin to a stream of consciousness, the harrowing subject matter is given space to speak for itself through physicality.

The Royal Ballet – Elizabeth
Wed 16–Sat 19 May 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wed 16 May 2018, 7.45pm

Former Principal of The Royal Ballet Zenaida Yanowsky reprises her award-winning role as Queen Elizabeth I in this dynamic exploration of her life and loves, in a unique chamber work which seamlessly blends dance, music, text and song.

A theatrical exploration of the enigmatic Tudor monarch, Elizabeth utilises letters, diary entries, poetry and plays written by Elizabeth I and her contemporaries, including some of her most famed suitors.

Inspired as much by her private passions and hallmark physicality as by her political triumphs, director/ choreographer Will Tuckett and playwright Alasdair Middleton explore this seminal figure through innovative and atmospheric storytelling, married with expressive and dynamic movement. Yanowsky is joined by an ensemble including Yury Yanowsky, Raphael Wallfisch, Julien Van Mellaerts, Sonya Cullingford and Katie Deacon.

Split Britches – Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)
Tue 15–Sat 19 May 2018, The Pit
Press night: Tue 15 May 2018, 7.45pm
Part of The Art of Change

In Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), Split Britches ask the audience to consider whether we are hurtling towards doomsday. Taking inspiration from the 1964 film Dr Strangelove and its iconic War Room, The Pit stage becomes The Situation Room - a daring new forum for public discussion. Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver take on the roles of the bombastic general and the gentle and ineffectual President, as they invite members of the audience to join them in debating the current global political situation and how to look forward in a rapidly changing world.

As the performers play with the rhythms of urgency and lethargy, whilst investigating current affairs, individual dreams and hidden wishes are re-appropriated as a cumulative solution to what may feel like an uncertain political landscape. Created and developed over two years through a series of residencies with elders and artists that began at the Barbican in 2016 and continued in the US, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) is a hopeful, whimsical, human exploration of ageing, anxiety and the end of the world.

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) 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. Find out more here. Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) is part of Sky Arts Art 50.

Barbican Young Poets – A Change is Gonna Come
Fri 25–Sat 26 May 2018, The Pit
Press night: Fri 25 May 2018, 7.15pm
Part of The Art of Change

In the spirit of experimentation, past and present Barbican Young Poets join forces with dancers from Boy Blue in the intimate setting of The Pit.

Under the artistic and creative direction of Jacob Sam-La Rose, a poet and performer of international repute, and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, co-founder of hip-hop dance company Boy Blue, A Change is Gonna Come tunes into the musicality and rhythm of language.

Poets and dancers interact, fusing the vitality and energy of spoken word with movement, as they share personal experiences of the nation in which they live.

Exploiting a range of genres, styles and themes, Barbican Young Poets have evolved to become drivers for change, their voices helping to define the poetry scene in London and across the UK, whilst Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue develop some of the country’s most sought-after hip-hop artists.

A Change is Gonna Come 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. Find out more here.

 

CINEMA

Returning the Colonial Gaze
Wed 2Wed 30 May 2018, Cinema 3
Part of The Art of Change

Focusing on Francophone African and French cinema, the Barbican presents works by bold filmmakers who, in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, reversed the “colonial gaze” to interrogate the former occupying nation from the perspective of their own countries. The five-part season features films by directors from Mauritania, Senegal, Morocco, and Niger, using their art to reclaim the right to represent their cultures and histories, which had been undermined by years of colonial rule - helping to shape the national identities of their countries in the process.  Also included are works by French directors who challenged and critiqued colonial narratives. Featured in the programme are: Med Hondo’s Soleil O; a double bill of works by René Vautier including Afrique 50 and To Be 20 in the Aurès; anthropologist Barbara Knorrp introducing two films where visitors from Senegal and Niger discover France and its inhabitants: Paulin Soumanou Vieyra’s Afrique sur Seine and Jean Rouch’s Little by Little; a double bill of works by Moroccan director’s Moumen Smihi: Si Moh, The Unlucky Man and The East Wind. Closing the series is a double bill of Senegalese and Nigerien films focusing on alienated young protagonists in thrall of Western pop culture: Moustapha Alassane’s An Adventurer’s Homecoming, and Djibril Diop Mambety’s Touki Bouki. Part of the Barbican’s The Art of Change season.  

London Nights On Film
Underground (PG) + live musical accompaniment by Neil Brand

Sun 13 May 2018, 4pm, Cinema 1
UK 1928 Dir Anthony Asquith 84 min

As part of the Barbican’s Culture Mile programming, the presentation of Anthony Asquith’s 1928 silent gem Underground with live musical accompaniment from Neil Brand forms the opening event of the Barbican’s London Nights On Film Season. A portrait of 1920s working-class London with its pubs, shops, lodging houses and, of course, the Underground itself this is an extraordinary tale of jealousy, murder and a fatally flawed love triangle, which culminates in a thrilling chase on the London tube lines. Taking place between May and October, the London Nights on Film complements the Museum of London’s London Nights photography and includes Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners (June), Mitra Tabrizian’s Gholam (September) set in London about an enigmatic Iranian cab driver in September, and Jules Dassin’s 1950s masterpiece Night and the City (October) which was shot on location in London.

Oscar® Winning Scores Double Bill: La La Land and Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench    

The Barbican’s regular Oscar® Winning Scores this month features a double-bill screening plus a rare opportunity to hear composer Justin Hurwitz talk about his Academy Award winning score for Damian Chazelle's La La Land in conversation with Gary Yershon, followed by Hurwitz introducing Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, his first collaboration with Damian Chazelle.

Oscar® Winning Scores Double Bill
La La Land (12A) + ScreenTalk with Justin Hurwitz
Sat 26 May 2018, 3.30pm, Cinema 2
USA/ Hong Kong 2017 Dir Damien Chazelle 128 min

Damien Chazelle’s glorious musical masterpiece follows aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they embark on a whirlwind romance. Ambitious and conflicted, cracks in their relationship begin to emerge, but can their love hold them together? Justin Hurwitz, Academy Award winning composer of this dazzling delight, joins us for a ScreenTalk with Gary Yershon after the film. 

In partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Oscar® Winning Scores
Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench + Intro by Justin Hurwitz
Sat 26 May 2018, 6.40pm, Cinema 2
USA 2010 Dir Damien Chazelle 82 min

A rare opportunity to see Damien Chazelle’s first film on the big screen, with introduction by composer Justin Hurwitz. After connecting with Madeline (Desiree Garcia), a jazz trumpeter (Jason Palmer) embarks on a quest for a more sociable lover, but the pair seems destined to be together.

In partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

 

MUSIC

Powerplant  – The Filthy Fifteen
Tue 1 May 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm
Part of The Art of Change 

The performance of Nicole Lizée’s The Filthy Fifteen forms part of a concert by dynamo percussionist Joby Burgess and his sound and video trio Powerplant – with Matthew Fairclough and Kathy Hinde. The concert celebrates bold new approaches to composition with works by Nicole Lizée, Will Gregory, Graham Fitkin and the world premiere of a Barbican commission by Linda Buckley. Lizée’s The Filthy Fifteen was commissioned by Joby Burgess in 2016 and is inspired by fifteen songs deemed too explicit by a group of parents in America, shocked at the music that their children were engaging with. These parents assembled to form the committee of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in 1985, and their list – which included songs by megastars like Madonna and Prince – was dubbed the "Filthy 15".

Powerplant – The Filthy Fifteen forms part of the Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Los Angeles Philharmonic International Associate Residency 2018 with Gustavo Dudamel
Wed 2–Fri 4 May 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm 
Sponsored by Reed Smith LLP 

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the Barbican for a residency from 2–4 May 2018, featuring three concerts with Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, with programmes including works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ted Hearne, Varèse, Shostakovich, Bernstein and Beethoven. This residency visit will also include a cross-cultural exchange involving young musicians from Los Angeles and Great Britain working with Gustavo Dudamel. Together they will share ideas and create Tuning into Change, a youth manifesto for the future of the arts. Tuning into Change is part of Sky Arts Art 50 and the Barbican’s 2018 season The Art of Change.

Sounds and Visions: The Barbican’s marathon weekend in 2018 curated by Max Richter and Yulia Mahr
Fri 11–Mon 14 May 2018, Various locations and times

Acclaimed composer Max Richter and artist Yulia Mahr take over the Barbican as curators of the Centre’s marathon weekend in 2018. Their ambitious programme is an expansive journey into music, image, and their meeting points in today’s culture. Richter and Mahr’s programme follows previous curation by respected musicians and artists including Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner and Nils Frahm. Numerous events both ticketed and free, including concerts and film screenings, will take place across the Barbican Hall, foyers, cinemas, and the neighbouring venues of LSO St Luke’s, Milton Court Concert Hall and St Giles’ Cripplegate. 

Highlights include: 

  • Richter’s Infra and Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works receive a UK and London premiere respectively in new, full orchestral versions.
  • Two different takes on Bach come from Icelandic pianist Vikingur Ólafsson, presenting a recital of Bach’s keyboard music, and The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble who reinterpret Bach for massed synthesisers.
  • Ambient producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith brings material from her album The Kid to the stage along with new visual accompaniments. 
  • A new project from American saxophonist Colin Stetson – EX EYE in a debut London performance.
  • A new audio-visual show from upcoming electronic visionary Jlin including dance receives its UK premiere.
  • One of many young talents Richter and Mahr have invited to join Sounds and Visions is Caterina Barbieri whose trance-like music demonstrates her minimalist mastery of synths old and new.
  • Roomful of Teeth performing the UK premiere of Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer Prize-winning composition Partita for 8 Voices.
  • Chineke! will be conducted by Fawzi Haimor in a live soundtrack performance and screening of the Golden Globe-winning animated feature Waltz With Bashir, marking the 10th anniversary of its release.
  • Short and feature length films will be screened in ticketed and free showings throughout the weekend; works by an array of directors from the 1950s up to the present day cast a spotlight on subjects such as music, science, technology, the environment and more; in forms ranging from documentary to experimental film – more details to be announced.

Sam Green and Kronos Quartet: A Thousand Thoughts – a live documentary
Kronos Quartet and Trio Da Kali – Ladilikan
Fri 18 May 2018, Barbican Hall, 7:30pm  

In the first of two UK premieres presented in one evening, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sam Green and the Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet team up to create a multimedia concert, A Thousand Thoughts: A Live Documentary by Sam Green & Kronos Quartet. This screening and performance, a co-commission by the Barbican, tells the multi-decade and continent-spanning story of the ground-breaking string quartet, whose career of more than 40 years has seen them attain status as one of the world’s most celebrated and influential ensembles. The evening will include live music, narration, archival footage and filmed interviews with such prominent artists as Philip Glass, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Reich, Wu Man, and Terry Riley, among others. A Thousand Thoughts’ trailer can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/185159503

In the second half of the event, Kronos Quartet invite Trio Da Kali to join them in a rare live performance, to perform material from their recently released collaborative album Ladilikan (World Circuit), a record blending the sounds of West Africa and string quartet. Brought together by the Aga Khan Music Initiative, Trio Da Kali unites three outstanding musicians from the Mande culture of southern Mali who come from a long line of distinguished griots, featuring musical director and balafon player Fodé Lassana Diabaté, bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyanté and singer Hawa ‘Kassé Mady’ Diabate.

Kaufmann sings the Four Last Songs
Sat 19 May 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Jonas Kaufmann returns for a second time this season to sing a selection of songs by Richard Strauss, including the composer’s monumental Four Last Songs, a work rarely performed by a tenor, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under conductor Jochen Rieder. The programme also includes Elgar’s tone poem In The South, which the composer wrote during a family sojourn to Italy. This concert was originally scheduled for 13 February 2017. On Thursday 17 May Kaufmann will be in conversation with young singers from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

The May 2018 music programme also includes a performance at LSO St Luke’s from trumpeter Tamás Pálfalvi, as part of the ECHO Rising Stars series (Fri 4 May). On Wed 16 May American experimental musician Circuit des Yeux, otherwise known as Haley Fohr, will be joined by her band to perform a new soundtrack to the silent movie Salomé, screened in the Barbican’s Cinema 1. After a sold-out Norwegian tour earlier this year, Susanne Sundfør will bring her critically acclaimed Music for People in Trouble production to the Barbican on Mon 21 May. On Fri 25 May a specially-staged Field Music concert comes to the Barbican, featuring an expanded orchestral line-up with strings, brass, wind and percussion. Sat 26 May sees two contrasting concerts - the first being a collaboration between electronic musician and producer Darren Cunningham, known as Actress and the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO). That same evening in Milton Court Charles Watson – the London based songwriter/producer and member of indie duo Slow Club – will perform material from his forthcoming album Now That I’m A River (released 18 May 2018, Moshi Moshi). Also at Milton Court, the celebrated countertenor, Iestyn Davies joins forces with viol consort Fretwork for a performance of music by two English composers born almost 300 years apart: Henry Purcell and Michael Nyman (Mon 28 May).

LSO highlights

LSO Conductor Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct two works in May which are considered the crowning glory of their composer’s career. Sibelius’ 7th and last symphony is performed alongside the 6th symphony and violin concerto with soloist Janine Jansen. On 17 May and on 20 May, soloists Camilla Tilling, Sasha Cooke, Toby Spence and Luca Pisaroni join the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to perform Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.

100 years of women’s suffrage in the UK will be marked by LSO violinist Sarah Quinn at a free lunchtime concert at LSO St Luke’s on Friday 15 May. She performs music by Dame Ethel Smyth, composer of The March of the Women which became the official anthem of the women’s suffrage movement, and Judith Weir who became the first female Master of the Queen’s Music in 2014.

 

VISUAL ARTS

Yto Barrada: Agadir
Wed 7 Feb–Sun 20 May 2018, The Curve
Free Admission
Part of The Art of Change

Yto Barrada’s first solo exhibition in a public gallery in London transforms the sweeping form of the Curve with a dramatic site-specific installation – including a mural, a new film commission, several sculptures, and a series of live and recorded performances – to consider how a city and its people might address the process of reinvention following disaster. She takes as her starting point the hybrid novel-play by Moroccan writer Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine – Agadir (1967) – which reflects on the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of the modernist city of Agadir, Morocco, in 1960. Weaving together personal narratives and political ideals, Barrada presents a complex portrait of a city in transition, resonating with many of the challenges we face in contemporary society.

Over the past two decades, Barrada’s multimedia practice has explored questions ranging from migration to abstraction, from fossils to botany. She examines the strategies of resistance employed every day in her native Morocco and traces the ‘hidden transcripts’ of objects and people in her work, guiding us through the overlapping realities and fictions of these narratives.

Performances

Throughout the run of the exhibition, actors from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama will perform extracts from Agadir live in the Curve. These will take place on the following Saturdays and are free of charge: 5 & 12 May (11am–8pm).

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins
Wed 28 Feb–Sun 27 May 2018, Barbican Art Gallery
Part of The Art of Change
 

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins looks at the continuing fascination of artists with those on the margins of society through the photographic medium. Some of the most powerful images of the 20th and 21st century are the result of a determined and often prolonged engagement with communities seemingly at odds with, or on the fringes of, the mainstream. Another Kind of Life explores photography’s relationship with this compelling subject through the work of 20 exceptional image-makers, including Bruce Davidson, Paz Errázuriz, Casa Susanna, Larry Clark, Mary Ellen Mark, Boris Mikhailov, Daido Moriyama and Dayanita Singh.

Architecture on Stage 

The Architecture Foundation and the Barbican in partnership, present Architecture on Stage – a programme of talks by the world's leading architects.

Architecture on Stage: de Vylder Vinck Taillieu
Thu 10 May 2018, Barbican Theatre, 7pm

Belgian architects Jan De Vylder, Inge Vinck and Jo Taillieu discuss the array of projects they have worked on in the past decade, ranging from renovations of homes to institutional buildings.

Architecture on Stage: Yto Barrada and Jean-Louis Cohen
Thu 17 May 2018, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

The John Edwards Lecture is an annual dialogue presenting leading international architects in conversation with influential figures from other disciplines – from artists and filmmakers to writers and philosophers. This year's talk is being given by artist Yto Barrada who will be joined by the renowned architect and architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen.

Architecture on Stage: Diener & Diener
Mon 21 May 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7pm

Father and son architects, Marcus Diener and Roger Diener, discuss establishing Diener & Diener Architects in Basel in 1980.

Architecture on Stage: Ahrends Burton & Koralek
Thu 31 May 2018, Frobisher Auditorium 1, 7pm

Architects Ahrends and Koralek talk about the history and materiality of their work in a conversation chaired by Niall McLaughlin.

 

BARBICAN SHOP

Make!  - A season of contemporary craft in the Barbican Shop is a series of talks, installations and practical workshops that allows visitors to explore traditional crafts with a contemporary twist, to meet the makers behind some of the shop’s favourite products, and to learn new craft skills in a range of workshops.

On Bike Building: A panel discussion
Thu 3 May 2018, 7–9pm, Frobisher Auditorium 1, Barbican Centre 

A panel discussion hosted by Andrew Denham of The Bicycle Academy and featuring five of London’s best known bespoke bike frame builders - Adeline O'Moreau from Mecredi Bikes, Caren Hartley from Hartley Cycles, Matthew McDonough from Talbot Frameworks, Matthew Sowter from Saffron Bikes and Tom Donhou from Donhou Bikes. The panellists will talk about how the business and craft of bike building has changed in recent years, including the fresh appreciation for handmade, personalised frames following the revival of craft and increasing popularity of cycling. The discussion will also look at how the builders’ previous academic studies and interests have shaped their bike designs, and will conclude with a post-talk Q&A session.

NSEPS (Not So Expanded Polystyrene) workshops with Silo Studio
Sat 5 May, 10am–1pm, 11.30am–2.30pm, 2–5pm, Barbican Shop 

Coming from backgrounds in engineering and design, Silo Studio is the design collaboration of Attua Aparicio Torinos and Oscar Lessing, who formed the partnership while studying on the Design Products course at the Royal College of Art, London. Their work mixes craft and technology, looking at how industrial processes and materials can shape design, and they will demonstrating their NSEPS (Not So Expanded Polystyrene) manufacturing process in a series of workshops where participants can make their own objects to take home. (Silo Studio will also be showcasing a selection of their unique pieces in the Barbican Shop from 2 April to 15 April).

Weaving demonstration by Christabel Balfour (London Craft Week event)
Wed 9–Sun 13 May, Mon–Sat: 10am–9pm, Sun: 12–8pm, Barbican Shop
Free Admission

As part of London Craft Week, south London based tapestry weaver Christabel Balfour will be weaving a whole rug in the Barbican Shop over a period of five days. The completed rug will be displayed in the shop until Sunday 20 May. For her rug, Christabel will be taking inspiration from Yto Barrada’s exhibition in the Barbican’s Curve, Agadir (7 Feb to 20 May 2018); drawing from Barrada’s multimedia practice, Moroccan textile traditions and the Brutalist architecture of both Agadir and the Barbican itself.

Weaving workshops with Christabel Balfour
Sun 13 May, Sat 19 May, Sun 20 May, Sun 27 May, Sat 26 May, 10.30am–2.30pm
Fri 25 May, 2–6pm
Barbican Shop 

This four-hour class with Christabel Balfour will cover the basics of hand-weaving before building up to more advanced techniques to make a wall-hanging that can be taken home. Participants will learn how to set up and wrap their looms, create a fringe for their wall-hanging and start weaving, before moving on to building shapes, blending colours and creating texture with soumak and rya knotting.

ENDS