Press room

Barbican October 2018 highlights

A. Rodchenko and V. Stepanova descending from an airplane.
  • Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde opens in Barbican Art Gallery, showcasing the creative output of over 40 artist couples active in the first half of the 20th century.
  • Darbar Festival comes to the Barbican Hall, featuring an impressive line-up of world class musicians including Rupak Kulkarni + Meeta Pandit and Sanju Sahai.
  • The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort), coming to the Barbican Theatre, explores intimacy, gender, emotional paralysis, and the male and female gaze.
  • Barbican Cinema welcomes Margarethe von Trotta for a ScreenTalk to discuss her illustrious career to date, following a screening of her Palme d’Or nominated Rosa Luxemburg (1968).
  • Australian Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director Richard Tognetti arrive for their first season as International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court.


Margarethe von Trotta Revisited
Tue 2 Oct–Sat 6 Oct 2018, Cinema 2

Born in Berlin in 1942, Margarethe von Trotta is arguably the best-known female filmmaker of her generation and a pioneer of the New German Cinema Movement. We’re delighted to welcome her to the Barbican Cinema for a ScreenTalk to discuss her illustrious career to date, following a screening of her Palme d’Or nominated Rosa Luxemburg (1968) – in a newly restored print – about the eponymous philosopher and socialist.

Other newly restored features include von Trotta’s debut feature The Second Awakening of Christa von Klages (1978) and The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975, co-directed with Volker Schlöndorrf).

In association with the ICO, courtesy of Studiocanal and screening under the Vintage World Cinema banner. With thanks to the Goethe-Institute London.

Jeune Femme (15) + ScreenTalk with Laetitia Dosch
Sat 6 Oct 2018, Cinema 3, 2pm
France Belgium 2017, dir Léonor Serraille, 97 mins

Laetitia Dosch explodes on to the screen as Paula – a chaotic, impulsive young woman – in director Léonor Serraille’s livewire character study and sensational feature debut. We’re delighted to welcome Laetitia Dosch for a Barbican ScreenTalk to discuss her career to date; this coincides with her performance in the play The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort) at the Barbican Theatre between 3-6 Oct.

Bloodyminded (15*)
Sun 14 Oct 2018, Cinema 2, 4.30pm

Part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, Bloodyminded is the UK's first interactive live streamed feature film, shot in a single take and broadcast to cinemas and online - once and once only. Guided by the narrator, the film explores the topic of conscientious objection and the viewer is asked to consider their own relationship with violence - as individuals and as members of a society that continues to wage wars on our behalf.


Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas: Academy of Ancient Music
Tue 2 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

A semi-staged performance of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas with the Barbican Associate Ensemble Academy of Ancient Music and music director Richard Egarr concludes the three-year Purcell opera cycle, co-presented by the Barbican. The new semi-staged production is directed by Thomas Guthrie, who expands on Dido’s tragic fate by preceding the opera with an imagined funeral for the late Queen, accompanied by a selection of Purcell’s music. Over 300 years since its premiere, Dido & Aeneas still speaks poignantly of love and loss, retelling Virgil’s tragic tale of Queen Dido and Trojan Prince Aeneas. Distinguished soloists include soprano Christine Rice in the role of the heroine who is joined by young soprano Rowan Pierce as her faithful handmaiden Belinda.

Australian Chamber Orchestra: International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court
Sponsored by Reed Smith LLP

The ACO performs three concerts including the UK Premiere of the movie Mountain in live concert. A cinematic and musical collaboration between the Australian Chamber Orchestra and BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom, Mountain is set to live music by Arvo Pärt, Vivaldi, Beethoven and Richard Tognetti, directed by Jennifer Peedom, with cinematography from Renan Ozturk and narration by Willem Dafoe. The ACO’s first concert as part of this season’s residency sees them perform Mozart’s final three symphonies, while for the final concert the Australian operatic soprano Nicole Car and musicians from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama join the Orchestra on stage:

  • Mozart's Last Three Symphonies  (Mon 22 Oct 2018, Milton Court, 7.30pm)
  • Mountain  (Tue 23 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm)
  • Bach, Beethoven and Bartók (Wed 24 Oct, Milton Court, 7.30pm)

Darbar Festival

Darbar Festival champions Indian classical arts and features some of the finest improvised music around today. Dedicated to Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee (1937-2005), an inspirational teacher of the tabla, the Festival was first established in 2006 in his memory. This autumn Darbar Festival comes to the Barbican for the first time, featuring an impressive line-up of world-class musicians:

  • Rupak Kulkarni + Meeta Pandit (Thu 25 Oct 2018, Milton Court, 6.30pm)
  • Soumik Datta + Malladi Brothers (Fri 26 Oct 2018, Milton Court, 6.30pm)
  • Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar (Sat 27 Oct 2018, Milton Court, 10am)
  • Sanju Sahai (Sat 27 Oct 2018, Milton Court, 2pm)
  • Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi + Omar Dadarkar (Sat 27 Oct 2018, Milton Court, 6.30pm)
  • Ustad Shahid Parvez + Parveen Sultana (Sun 28 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 5.30pm)

Tim Hecker with the Konoyo Ensemble + Kara-Lis Coverdale
Sat 6 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Canadian sound artist Tim Hecker will return to the Barbican this autumn for the first time since 2016 with a special ensemble concert featuring material from his forthcoming record Konoyo. The night will be a celebration of his forthcoming project, fusing electronic production with traditional Japanese gagaku court music from the Konoyo Ensemble.

Hecker has released a number of records exploring intersections between noise, dissonance, and melody. In his varied and celebrated works, digital and organic sources tightly intertwine. The result is a hybrid aesthetic that recalls electronic abstraction and psychedelic American minimalism. Opening the evening, regular collaborator Kara-Lis Coverdale creates colourful and dense arrangements with a unique approach to melody, harmony and sonic detail.

New Rituals: Aïsha Devi feat. Asian Dope Boys + Pan Daijing
Sun 7 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 7:30pm

The London premiere of New Rituals brings together two multi-media performances – Aetherave and Fist Piece – which both use electronic music and visual art as the basis to explore queer identity and spirituality in the post-digital age. Aetherave is a newly-commissioned performative, visual and sonic work. At the heart of the piece are the rave-like sounds of Swiss-born Nepalese-Tibetan musician Aïsha Devi, based on the ancient incantations and hi-fi beats of her new album DNA Feelings (Houndstooth). Asian Dope Boys’s visceral dance stylings and the grotesque yet sacred imagery of Chinese artist Tianzhuo Chen provide an expanded visual celebration to Devi’s sonic explorations. In Fist Piece, Berlin based Chinese artist Pan Daijing explores the unsettling states of femininity through choreography, visuals and sound material. Her live performance at the Barbican will also feature dancer Gregori Homa and video contributions from Ekaterina Reinbold.

Jason Moran: The Harlem Hellfighters
Tue 30 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

Composer, pianist and visual artist Jason Moran celebrates and reflects on the legacy of James Reese Europe, the iconic figure in the evolution of African-American music who introduced war-torn France to the sound of Jazz in the closing years of WWI. Members of Moran’s long-established trio, The Bandwagon, alongside a group of brass and wind players drawn from today’s richly talented new generation of British musicians, will perform new music by Jason Moran, reimagining James Reese Europe’s original music. The performance will also feature visual contributions from filmmaker John Akomfrah and cinematographer Bradford Young.

London Contemporary Orchestra: Other Worlds
Sponsored by Reed Smith LLP
Wed 31 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm

The London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir with conductor Robert Ames present a concert with two contrasting visions of humanity confronting an other-worldly apocalypse, featuring two audio-visual projects. The performance begins with the UK premiere of Giacinto Scelsi’s epic and ominous Uaxuctum: The legend of the Mayan city, which they themselves destroyed for religious reasons (1969) – a piece depicting the end of an ancient civilization. The second half of the concert is John Luther Adams’ apocalyptic piece Become Ocean (2013), which is inspired by the Alaskan landscape and the composer’s preoccupation with climate change and has been described by Alex Ross as ‘The loveliest apocalypse in musical history’. The orchestra will be working with long-time collaborators Universal Assembly Unit to create a unique AI-generated installation in response to these two highly evocative works.

Il Pomo d’Oro: Featured International Baroque Ensemble 2018-19

Innovative Italian ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro is the Barbican’s Featured International Baroque Ensemble in the 2018/19 season. The period group under dynamic conductor Maxim Emelyanychev was formed in 2012 only but has already garnered critical accolades. Here they will give four performances throughout the season, including two Handel operas with outstanding international casts: mature masterpiece Serse with Franco Fagioli in the title role and the composer’s early work Agrippina with Joyce DiDonato leading the cast (31 May 2019). For their first performance this October, they welcome acclaimed counter-tenor Franco Fagioli, who heads the cast of Serse as the hot-blooded Persian tyrant Xerxes, one of Handel’s most compelling dramatic creations. The following evening, Il Pomo d’ Oro’s  harpsichordist/director Maxim Emelyanychev is joined by Japanese-American Baroque violinist and concertmaster of the Netherlands Bach Society Shunske Sato in a concert at St Giles’ Cripplegate where both display their extraordinary virtuosity in concertos by Bach and Handel:

  • Handel: Serse – Il Pomo d’Oro (Fri 26 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 6.30pm)
  • Il Pomo d’Oro play Bach and Handel (Sat 27 Oct 2018, St Giles’ Cripplegate, 7.30pm)

Also coming up this October:

Brooklyn’s ‘Ambassadors of Love’ They Might Be Giants perform in an expanded line-up of musicians in a set including favourites, rarities spanning their career, and spur-of-the-moment improvisations (Wed 3 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm). Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan teams up with classically-trained collective of European musicians, s t a r g a z e, for a concert featuring reworkings of songs from her three albums (Thu 4 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm). Australia-born/LA-based musician RY X will appear this autumn in a special one-off show in partnership with the London Contemporary Orchestra (Fri 12 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 8pm). French singer-songwriter Keren Ann and renowned Lyon ensemble Debussy String Quartet revisit Keren Ann’s songbook in arrangements written both by herself and by prestigious arrangers such as Maxim Moston (who has worked with Anohni), Eumir Deodato and Thorvaldur Thorvaldsson (Sun 14 Oct 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm). Ex-members of trad-folk group Planksy Andy Irvine and Paul Brady bring the music of their 1976 eponymous album to the Barbican (Mon 15 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm). Danish alternative indie outfit Mew celebrate the 15th anniversary of their album Frengers with two performances including highlights from the band’s extensive seven-album back catalogue in the first half, followed by Frengers played in full in the second. (Sat 20 Oct 2018, Barbican Hall, 4pm & 8pm).

LSO October highlights

Two conductors will make their LSO debuts at the Barbican in October. Jaime Martín, Music Director designate of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra will conduct Stravinsky's The Firebird (Suite) on 21 October, with works inspired by his native Spain by De Falla and Lalo completing the programme, and on 25 October, French conductor Philippe Jordan will conduct Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 and Mussorgsky's Night on the Bare Mountain. The orchestra is also joined by Nikolaj Znaider as soloist in Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No 2. Znaider's appearance as violinist follows his concert on 14 October when he conducts the LSO in Smetana's orchestral hymn to his Czech homeland Má Vlast.


Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord – The Malady of Death (La Maladie de la mort)
Wed 3–Sat 6 Oct 2018, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thu 4 Oct 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.

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.

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

On Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 October 2018, Director Katie Mitchell leads an intensive Weekend Lab workshop in response to The Malady of Death.

Dance Umbrella
Colin Dunne – Concert
Wed 17–Sat 20 Oct 2018, The Pit
Press night: Wed 17 Oct 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 Potts’ The Liffey Banks (1972). 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.

Royal Shakespeare Company – Macbeth
Mon 15 Oct 2018–Fri 18 Jan 2019, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tue 23 Oct 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 as part of the RSC’s 2016 Season.


Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde
Wed 10 Oct 2018–
Sun 27 Jan 2019, Barbican Art Gallery
Media view: Tue 9 Oct 2018,
Part of The Art of Change

Barbican Art Gallery’s pioneering autumn exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde showcases the creative output of over 40 artist couples active in the first half of the 20th century. Drawing on loans from private and public collections worldwide, this major interdisciplinary show features the work of painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, designers, writers, musicians and performers, shown alongside personal photographs, love letters, gifts and rare archival material. Among the highlights are legendary duos such as: Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp; Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin; Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson; Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso; Lee Miller and Man Ray; Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko; Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West; as well as lesser known pairings such as Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt, Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí, Romaine Brooks and Natalie Clifford-Barney and Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt.

For information and images please visit:

Francis Upritchard: Wetwang Slack
Thu 27 Sep 2018–Sun 6 Jan 2019, The Curve
Media View: Wed 26 Sep 2018, 10am–1pm


This autumn, marking the 30th Curve commission at the Barbican, New Zealand born and London-based artist Francis Upritchard has conceived of a new, site-specific installation. Drawing from both figurative sculpture and craft traditions —ceramics, glassblowing to enamelling—she pushes these practices in new directions, bringing them together to create a striking and original visual language of her own.

For full press release and images please visit:


Women in Jazz: A Celebration of the Past, Present and Future
Tue 16 Oct—Mon 31 Dec 2018, Barbican Library
Part of The Art of Change

A musical and social survey of the rich contribution women have made to jazz over the last 100 years, and of the talented upcoming generation who herald an exciting new era.

The exhibition pays particular attention to instrumentalists. While many vocalists such as Ella, Billie, Nina and Cleo are household names, many star players and pioneers have been sadly neglected and deserve to be rediscovered.

Drawing on the rich resources of the National Jazz Archive the exhibition includes photos, posters, journals, video and memorabilia that highlight how 20th century social and political change has played a significant role in women’s growing involvement in jazz.


Love As A Revolution
15 Oct 2018—19 Jan 2019, Level G

What have love and rebellion done for humanity? What can we fight for to make the world a better place? These are some of the questions a Royal Shakespeare Company exhibition challenges people to think about with a mural which will be on display for free at the Barbican Mezzanine, Front of House at the Barbican Centre for the duration of the season.

Love As A Revolution is inspired by the love-story in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  In her large-scale illustrations, artist Jasmine Thompson depicts scenes of courage, solidarity and revolution and invites viewers to take part by writing their own messages of how love and unity can change society.

Troika – Borrowed Light
5 Jun 2018–May 2019, Level G

Borrowed Light is a suspended mechanised structure that moves a 20m-long scroll of photographic film, thereby resembling an artificial infinite loop of sunset and sunrise. The installation was formally inspired by moving panoramas and the potential these offered to blur the boundaries between experience and physical spheres, natural and man-made spaces.

Borrowed Light is a site-specific installation commissioned by Barbican Art Gallery to activate the unique architectural features of the Lightwell at the centre of the Barbican’s public spaces.

Rachel Ara feat.  Kay Le Seelleur Ara – American Beauty (a Trump L'oeil)
Thu 24 May–Sun 14 Oct 2018, Level G
Part of The Art of Change

American Beauty (a Trump L'oeil) uses film, poetry, humour and CGI to create an incongruous image that references film history, utopian architecture and contemporary politics. The iconic brutalist architecture of the Barbican becomes a glitch, a window through which we might catch a glimpse into our future.

Visitors watch as an orange hairpiece dances in the wind in perpetuity around the Barbican Estate, echoing the iconic scene from Sam Mendes’s American Beauty. The title itself a play on the phrase trompe l’oeil – (deceives the eye).

This work was selected from a shortlist of winners and finalists from The Lumen Prize for Digital Art in collaboration with the Barbican’s Level G programme.

CGI and animation by AVR London.

Projections by Christie.

In The Dark and Falling Tree Productions – Soundhouse: The Listening Body
Thu 6 Sep–Thu 4 Oct 2018, Level G

What might a cinema for audio look like? The Barbican explores how radio and podcasting might occupy public space through the installation of a collective listening space and a series of experimental listening events, curated by Nina Garthwaite (In The Dark) and Eleanor McDowall (Falling Tree Productions).

Soundhouse: The Listening Body will present a series of alternative visions for public listening environments. It will play audio work designed to provoke the imagination and stimulate the senses in a radically reimagined collective listening space. It will also host a series of discussions exploring collective listening.

Projections by Christie.

The Hull of a Large Ship
Fri 18 May–Nov 2018, Level G

On 12 December 1968 Chamberlin Powell & Bon (CP&B) submitted a report to the Court of Common Council of the Corporation of the City of London including detailed drawings and a written proposal for the Barbican Arts Centre. This was the last phase of a complex redevelopment that had grown in scope and size since its original conception in the 1950s and was already under construction and partly inhabited by the end of 1960s. To fit the final piece in the restricted site, the architects and engineers resorted to an inventive solution: excavate the site twenty metres below ground level and place the majority of the Centre below the elevated walkways or ‘podium’ level. The architects compared the Arts Centre to ‘the hull of a large ship in which much is contained below the water.’

The sixth of the Barbican Display series exhibits unpublished original CP&B drawings selected by five contemporary European architects: 6a, Office KGDVS, Carmody Groarke, Casper Mueller Kneer and Witherford Watson Mann, who were given the task of proposing a critical intervention on the different spaces, reflecting on the drawing as an unfinished structure that could be adapted to the changing demands of an international arts centre. The original drawings will be displayed side by side with the architect’s proposal.

The exhibition is curated and designed by Daniela Puga.