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Barbican Theatre and Dance January to August 2020 programme announced

closeup of isabelle huppert

Barbican Theatre and Dance January to August 2020 programme announced

The Barbican today announces its full January to August 2020 Theatre and Dance programme in the Barbican Theatre and The Pit. Tickets go on sale to Barbican Members Plus on Friday 25 October 2019 and to Barbican Members on Monday 28 October 2019. 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 go on sale to the general public on Friday 1 November 2019.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre and Dance, said:

“Our new January to August 2020 season in the Theatre and The Pit sees a range of boundary-breaking artists engaged with today’s fast-changing world. Whether by looking afresh at classic texts or giving a voice to those whose stories are seldom heard, these thought-provoking performances take us in new and unexpected directions.

 “We welcome to our stages our Artistic Associates, our partners and the companies with whom we have long-standing relationships, and the creative teams making their debuts here.

 “The internationalism of our programme remains as strong as ever as we bring work to the Barbican from across the globe. This time we have performances in French, German, Arabic, Dutch, Italian, Sardinian, Belarusian and English, as well as physical and wordless productions. 

“We continue our commitment to be a welcoming destination for everyone with accessible performances, talks, Members’ events and opportunities for learning such as our Weekend Labs.”

As part of Inside Out announced today (see separate press release), a year exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity, encompassing events, exhibitions, screenings, live performances and concerts across all art-forms, in all of the Barbican’s venues and public spaces throughout 2020, we bring The Glass Menagerie, Death in Venice, Isadora Now and Dogs of Europe to the Theatre and Last Gasp and DROWNTOWN to The Pit.

Continuing our relationship with Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe, The Glass Menagerie is a UK premiere and Barbican co-production, and stars French stage and screen actress Isabelle Huppert in Tennessee Williams’s bewitching masterpiece about loneliness, lost dreams and illusions, directed by Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove.

Internationaal Theater Amsterdam return to their London home as Ivo van Hove directs Death in Venice, based both on Thomas Mann’s intimate novella and the author’s own life. This theatrical adaptation by former Dutch poet laureate Ramsey Nasr includes new music by Nico Muhly played live by Britten Sinfonia and is a UK premiere.

Viviana Durante Company return to the Barbican in a tribute to the American dancer Isadora Duncan, a timeless feminist icon who made work that enabled women to express themselves physically on their own terms. Isadora Now consists of Dance of the Furies created by Duncan in 1905, Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan by Frederick Ashton performed by Viviana Durante herself, and a world premiere choreographed by Joy Alpuerto Ritter, and co-commissioned by the Barbican, set to specially composed live music by Lih Qun Wong.  

Split Britches return to the Barbican with their UK premiere of Last Gasp, a call and response to urgent global predicaments performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver from the USA. Also, on Saturday 13 June, Shaw and Weaver invite audiences to sit, think, dream and get involved in stimulating conversation during a free ‘Porch Sitting’ in the Fountain Room on Level G.

Rhiannon Faith Company from the UK returns to the Barbican with her new gritty dance theatre production DROWNTOWN which casts a light on people suffering from social isolation and holds up a mirror to community breakdown. There is also a Weekend Lab on 4 & 5 July 2020.

Co-founders of Belarus Free Theatre, Nicolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada are exiled from their native country and make theatre with their Minsk-based ensemble over Skype. Now the company make their Barbican debut with Dogs of Europe, based on the novel by Belarusian author Alhierd Bacharevic. This epic fantasy and political thriller about the dangers of looking away when authoritarianism takes root is a UK premiere and Barbican co-commission. There is also a Weekend Lab on 16 & 17 May 2020.

We are delighted to continue our relationship with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre to bring the transfer of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical Evita to the Theatre this summer. Directed by Jamie Lloyd it enjoyed a sell-out season at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre earlier this year.

Barbican Artistic Associate Cheek by Jowl and Piccolo Teatro di Milano bring The Revenger’s Tragedy (La tragedia del vendicatore), directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod, to the Theatre. Written by Shakespeare’s contemporary Thomas Middleton at a time of growing social unease, the play reveals a government embroiled in shady affairs and a society obsessed with money, social status and fame. This production is performed by a charismatic ensemble of Italian actors and is a UK premiere. There is also a Weekend Lab on 7 & 8 March with Cheek by Jowl's associate Marcus Roche.

Sardegna Teatro and Compagnia Teatropersona also make their Barbican debut in the Theatre with their award-winning Macbeth (Macbettu). This UK premiere is directed by Alessandro Serra and sees ritual, rites and rhythms rooted in Sardinian culture lend primal, elemental energy to this all-male version of Shakespeare’s play.

Ballet Black return to the Theatre for their fifth consecutive year. For this latest Mixed Bill, Artistic Director Cassa Pancho brings two world premieres: Olivier Award-winning British choreographer Will Tuckett explores ideas of home and belonging while South African company member Mthuthuzeli November contemplates the purpose of life in The Waiting Game. The new Mixed Bill is co-commissioned by the Barbican.

Regular collaborators Katie Mitchell and Alice Birch return to the Theatre with the UK premiere of Orlando performed by the Schaubühne Berlin with whom we have a long-standing relationship. Live cinema meets performance in this galloping romp through 400 years of history based on Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel on gender fluidity.

We continue our long-standing relationship with London International Mime Festival to bring Child (Kind) and Cold Blood to the Theatre, Chimpanzee and ROOMAN to The Pit and a trio of slapstick comedies to our cinemas (programme announced on 24 September).

Peeping Tom from Belgium return to the Barbican with the final instalment of their family trilogy, Child (Kind), a UK premiere. Developed from impressions of childhood shared by the whole company including co-directors Gabriela Carrizo and Franck Chartier this production arises from their fascination with the human psyche and the construction of identity.

Kiss & Cry Collective from Belgium return to the Barbican with Cold Blood created by Jaco Van Dormael and Michèle Anne De Mey – a story of seven surprising deaths performed by dancing hands in elaborate miniature sets, the action filmed live and transmitted to a big screen.

From the USA, Nick Lehane makes his Barbican debut with Chimpanzee, a UK premiere. This heartbreaking puppet play is distilled from the real stories of apes once fostered into American families only to be abandoned to science when they reached maturity.

From Australia, Fleur Elise Noble returns to the Barbican with ROOMAN, a UK premiere. Like a pop-up book, this tapestry of puppetry, projection, animation, dance, music and sound is about a young woman who finds escape from her monotonous surroundings when she meets a kangaroo man in her dreams.

In the cinema, The Slapstick Home comprises three American slapstick comedies from the 1910s and 20s with live accompaniment by Guildhall School Jazz Musicians. The films screened are Charlie Chaplin’s One AM (1916); Buster Keaton’s One Week (1921) and Laurel and Hardy’s Big Business (1929).

Continuing our relationship with LIFT we bring French artist Phia Ménard to the Theatre with the UK premiere of Immoral Tales Part 1 – Mother HouseIn this highly physical, wordless performance, Ménard plays Athena. Using just scotch tape and poles, she painstakingly assembles a cardboard Parthenon as she invokes turbulent changes across Europe and conjures visions of a society facing ruin in this tension-filled, visually arresting show. 

Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue bring their joyous biennial showcase to the Theatre. A Night with Boy Blue sees 70 performers take to the stage with exuberant hip-hop dance. There are also two opportunities on Saturday 30 May to catch a 30-minute afternoon taster as part of Barbican OpenFest.

Coinciding with Artemesia, a major exhibition at the National Gallery, Breach make their Barbican debut in The Pit with their acclaimed production of It’s True, It’s True, It’s True as part of a national tour. This gripping dramatisation of the 1612 rape trial brought by the gifted painter Artemisia Gentileschi interweaves jaw-dropping court transcripts with history, myth, contemporary insight and moments of satire to ask: how much has really changed?

Diverse City make their Barbican debut in The Pit with Mid Life. Created by co-Artistic Director Claire Hodgson the show sees three women unpack their real-life stories of menopause with humour, honesty and keen observation.

Director Ofira Henig and actor Khalifa Natour from Haifa return to the Barbican with a one-man show which eloquently moves between storytelling, ancient drama, irony and humour to bear witness to the journey of those stranded in their search for refuge across Europe. The Bees’ Road is performed in The Pit and is a UK premiere.

A screening of Boyz n the Hood in The Pit is complemented by Inua Ellams’ Poetry + Film / Hack. Joined by a line-up of poets including the provocative and passionate voices of Barbican Young Poets alumni, they read new work to open and close the film – their words and verses responding to its blistering themes.

London International Mime Festival 2020
Fleur Elise Noble – ROOMAN
Tuesday 14–Saturday 18 January 2020, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 14 January 2020, 7.45pm

Like an immersive pop-up book or graphic novel coming to life, ROOMAN is a rich tapestry of puppetry, projection, animation, dance, music and sound.

A young woman only finds escape from the surroundings of her monotonous, monochrome existence when she meets a kangaroo man in her dreams. Obsessed by his colourful, wondrous and limitless universe, she pursues a dangerous path to spend more time with him. Soon she must make a choice: to give up or to wake up. With the atmosphere of fantastical film noir, this innovative show matches wordless performance with a multidimensional paper set to tell a heart-warming story about falling in love with a fantasy.

From Australia, artist Fleur Elise Noble is the maker of all things visual and has spent seven years creating the universe of Rooman, who she originally encountered in her own dreams.

ROOMAN is on sale.

London International Mime Festival 2020
Nick Lehane – Chimpanzee

Tuesday 21–Saturday 25 January 2020, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 21 January 2020, 7.45pm

In this extraordinary and heartbreaking puppet play, a life-sized chimpanzee escapes the despair of her captive existence by piecing together memories of her childhood in a human home.

Now from her solitary cage in a biomedical facility, she reminisces about the comfort, curiosity and freedom she had growing up in a human family. Our chimp’s bleak present-day reality switches into vivid recollections of discovery and delight: scarves float into the air from a storage box, a teacup fascinates, opera music plays, a tiny toy baby is carefully cradled to her chest.

Three highly skilled puppeteers invest feeling, expression and delicately nuanced movement to the beautifully crafted creature of this poignant non-verbal production, which conveys shifts in time and place through haunting sound and lighting. Written and created by Brooklyn-based Nick Lehane, it is distilled from the real stories of apes once fostered into American families only to be abandoned to science as they reach maturity.

Chimpanzee is on sale.

London International Mime Festival 2020
Peeping Tom – Child (Kind)

Wednesday 22–Saturday 25 January 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 22 January 2020, 7.45pm

Between dance and physical theatre, Peeping Tom’s shows astonish audiences with unsettling imagery, humour and phenomenal choreography that defies logic. Child (Kind) explores perceptions of childhood.

An eerie forest of towering trees and menacing cliffs reveal bizarre and disturbing scenes that hold within them the fears and dreams of a girl caught up in traumatic situations. Uncannily conveying the body language of the young while swirling around the borders of reality, Child features a mezzo-soprano as a child and seemingly elastic dancers who emerge from the scenery in endlessly surprising moves.

The Olivier Award-winning Belgian group follows earlier, much admired productions of Mother (Moeder) and Father (Vader) at the Barbican with the final part of its family-themed trilogy. Developed from impressions of childhood shared by the whole company including co-directors Gabriela Carrizo and Franck Chartier, this last instalment results from their fascination with the human psyche and the construction of identity.

Journalists please note: there is a press trip opportunity to see Child (October 2019-January 2020) before its Barbican run. Please contact the Communications office for further information.

Child is on sale.

London International Mime Festival 2020
Kiss & Cry Collective – Cold Blood
Wednesday 29 January–Saturday 1 February 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 29 January 2020, 7.45pm

Dancing hands star in elaborate miniature sets, the action filmed live to become epic on a big screen.

In this wonderfully whimsical production, the story of seven surprising deaths takes audiences into an array of scenarios that touch on the fleeting fragility of life. Performers and crew conjure visuals onstage which appear as beautifully detailed kaleidoscopic vistas on film: from the razzamatazz of a Fred and Ginger-style dance number to a floating figure in outer space; from a ravaged war-torn cityscape to the recreation of an iconic Boléro ballet.

Set to classic and contemporary music including Ravel, David Bowie and Janis Joplin, Cold Blood brings together intricate hand choreography, tiny props, live cinema and a witty script. The show draws on the film and dance backgrounds of husband-and-wife creative team Jaco Van Dormael and Michèle Anne De Mey – who co-directed Kiss & Cry here in 2017.

Cold Blood is on sale.

Diverse City – Mid Life
Wednesday 19–Saturday 22 February 2020, The Pit
Press night: Wednesday 19 February 2020, 7.45pm

Three women paused at a moment in time – the menopause – talk about their fears, confront losses and invite acceptance as they unpack their real-life stories with soaring humour, honesty and rage.

Claire used to be a disco-dancing champion, now she juggles family and work. Jacqui’s a carer to many but there’s stuff she needs to get off her chest. Karen’s survived eating disorders and she’s got something to say. Join our emotional-load-bearers, up-all-nighters and piece-picker-uppers as they find their way through the frustration, freedom and possibility of those middle years.

Layering elements of song, movement and live BSL interpretation into the narrative, this transformational and witty show connects experiences from different cultures and communities into a collective whole. Created by Diverse City’s co-Artistic Director Claire Hodgson who wants to encourage more openness around the subject of menopause, Mid Life does so with generous empathy and keen observation.

Viviana Durante Company – Isadora Now
Friday 21–Saturday 29 February 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tuesday 25 February 2020, 7.45pm

A remarkable evening of performance paying tribute to the American dancer Isadora Duncan, a timeless feminist icon who made work that enabled women to express themselves physically on their own terms.

To open, a rare opportunity to see Duncan’s own choreography. Dance of the Furies was created in 1905 and exemplifies daring, courage and ambition - qualities that were widely disapproved of in female dancers at the time. Next the evocative Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan by Frederick Ashton, performed here by the legendary ballerina Viviana Durante in her first solo appearance for a decade. And to close, a new and fearless group piece by choreographer Joy Alpuerto Ritter set to specially composed live music by Lih Qun Wong.  

With an all-female ensemble, Durante’s show celebrates one of Duncan’s biggest legacies – a freedom of movement and spirit that has inspired artists and thinkers everywhere – while introducing original dance profoundly influenced by that same revolution today.

The dancers are Begoña Cao, Viviana Durante, Nikita Goile, Sharia Johnson, Charmene Pang and Serena Zaccagnini.

Isadora Now is part of Inside Out: a year exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

Cheek by Jowl/Piccolo Teatro di Milano The Revenger’s Tragedy (La tragedia del vendicatore)
Wednesday 4–Saturday 7 March 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 4 March 2020, 7.45pm

Intrigue, corruption, lust and the thirst for power collide in Cheek by Jowl’s first Italian show – a ‘lavish, decadent, perverse world’ (Corriere della Sera, Milan).

Seeking retribution for the murder of his fiancée by the Duke, Vindice is drawn into a terrible helter-skelter of punishment that throws his very identity in crisis. Written by Thomas Middleton (1580-1627) at a time of growing social unease, the play confronts us with a government embroiled in shady affairs and a society obsessed with money, social status and fame.

Created by director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod for Milan’s renowned Piccolo Teatro, The Revenger’s Tragedy is transformed into a macabre dance of death and performed by a charismatic ensemble of Italian actors.

The Revenger’s Tragedy is performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Journalists please note: there is a press trip opportunity to see The Revenger’s Tragedy (February 2020) before its Barbican run. Please contact the Communications office for further information.

Ballet Black – Mixed Bill
Thursday 26–Sunday 29 March 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 27 March 2020, 7.45pm

The hugely popular Ballet Black is back with a mixed bill full of lyrical contrasts and beautiful movement.

For her latest programme, Artistic Director Cassa Pancho brings original work: The Royal Ballet’s Olivier Award-winning choreographer Will Tuckett blends classical ballet, poetry and music to explore ideas of home and belonging while Mthuthuzeli November contemplates the purpose of life in The Waiting Game. Expect sensational solos, seductive duos and fiercely dynamic pieces performed seamlessly by the group.

Ballet Black is transforming the dance landscape by giving a platform to artists of black and Asian descent as well as to new and established choreographic voices whose unexpected stories and themes come from the heart to resonate with modern audiences.

Breach – It’s True, It’s True, It’s True
Tuesday 31 March–Thursday 9 April 2020, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 31 March 2020, 7.45pm

This gripping dramatisation of a 1612 rape trial brought by the gifted painter Artemisia Gentileschi roars down the ages, centuries after shocking Renaissance Rome.

When Agostino Tassi, the pope’s favourite artist, was accused of raping 15-year-old Gentileschi, the ensuing seven-month case was widely publicised. It’s True, It’s True, It’s True interweaves jaw-dropping court transcripts with history, myth, contemporary insight and moments of satire to ask: how much has really changed? Filled with ire and using modern language, the devised show shines a spotlight on a remarkable woman who went on to triumph through her art.

With three female actors interchanging roles on a set that at times suggests a courtroom, at others an artist’s studio, the story is driven by a soundtrack that contrasts punk and baroque music. Including reenactments of Gentileschi’s celebrated biblical paintings, Breach’s visceral play has won The Scotsman Fringe First and The Stage Edinburgh Awards.

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True is on a national tour in October and November 2019 and the run at the Barbican coincides with the Artemesia exhibition at the National Gallery from Monday 6 April–Sunday 26 July 2020.

Schaubühne Berlin – Orlando
Thursday 2–Sunday 5 April 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 2 April 2020, 7.45pm

Live cinema meets performance in this galloping romp through 400 years of history starring a heroine who is born a hero, or a hero who becomes a heroine. For Orlando, it doesn’t really matter.

As visionary today as it was when written in 1928, Virginia Woolf’s dazzling novel on gender fluidity is gleefully adapted, extending across centuries to the present day. As Orlando travels between historical periods, countries and lovers, glancing knowingly at the audience, their journey is caught on camera, mixed with pre-recorded footage and projected – all with a wardrobe team making quick-fire changes in plain sight.

Regular collaborators Katie Mitchell and Alice Birch explore Woolf’s material, interweaving life and art, reality and fiction, in an optimistic examination of how people, nature, systems and reigns are in a constant state of flux. Featuring a narrator, eight actors and crew synchronised to the second with adept precision, Orlando defies rigid categorisation in more ways than one.

Orlando is performed in German with English surtitles.

Journalists please note: there is a press trip opportunity to see Orlando (October/November 2019) before its Barbican run. Please contact the Communications office for further information.

Orlando goes on sale at the end of November.

Internationaal Theater Amsterdam – Death in Venice
Thursday 16–Sunday 19 April 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 16 April 2020, 7.45pm

An intense infatuation fuels the tension between social expectations and personal desire in a show that deftly combines theatre and music, directed by Ivo van Hove.

Celebrated author Thomas Mann is in crisis. He is struggling with writer’s block and a forbidden attraction to a young boy. Secluded in his workshop, he creates a fictional counterpoint of himself: Von Aschenbach, the man he dares not be in real life. A classical score played live by Britten Sinfonia supports the ensuing whirl of emotions portrayed onstage as he sends his alter ego to Venice.

Adapted by former Dutch poet laureate Ramsey Nasr, who performs the role of Aschenbach, Death in Venice is based both on Mann’s intimate novella and the author’s own life. Highlighting the inner struggle of an artist who channels his experiences into his literature, the drama also introduces the viewpoint of Mann’s wife. New music by American composer Nico Muhly features alongside Strauss and Schoenberg.

Death in Venice is performed in Dutch with English surtitles.

Death in Venice is part of Inside Out: a year exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

Inua Ellams - Poetry + Film / Hack - Boyz n the Hood15
Thursday 23 April 2020, 7.45pm, The Pit

Complementing this screening of Boyz n the Hood, Inua Ellams and a line-up of poets read new work to open and close the film – their words and verses responding to its blistering themes.

In his 1991 depiction of inner-city life in Los Angeles, director John Singleton navigated topics of masculinity, fatherhood, poverty, police harassment and addiction. This showing gathers incredible performers to share specially commissioned poems as meditations on characters and key moments from the seminal picture.

Joining Inua Ellams for this film hack are established poets who tour nationally and internationally, their collective experience ranging from storytelling and theatre to radio and television. They include the provocative and passionate voices of Barbican Young Poets alumni, with Michelle Tiwo co-curating the event.

manmaRo Project – The Bees’ Road
Thursday 30 April–Saturday 2 May 2020, The Pit
Press night: Thursday 30 April 2020, 7.45pm

This one-man show eloquently moves between storytelling, ancient drama, irony and humour to bear witness to the journey of those who become stranded in their search for refuge across Europe.

An actor wants to share his experience, to save the world, but instead he must simply stand by and watch. As landscapes are crossed and cultures meet, even animals and a tree become involuntary observers of these traumatic tales of flight and displacement.

Director Ofira Henig and actor Khalifa Natour describe the troubling plight of refugees from a range of perspectives in this timely and affecting performance of words, song, poetry and movement. The independent artists have been working together for 30 years, both presenting In Spitting Distance at the Barbican in 2008.

The Bees’ Road is performed in Arabic with English surtitles.

Belarus Free Theatre – Dogs of Europe
Wednesday 13 – Saturday 16 May 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Thursday 14 May 2020, 7.45pm

From one of the world’s bravest theatre companies comes a visceral, psychological drama set in the near future, depicting a dystopian super-state in which individual rights have given way to control.

In 2049 a murder investigation sets a man on a quest, his search bringing him to former Belarus and Russia, now a single European territory ruled by an all-seeing secret service. But his journey becomes less about the origins of this reactionary regime, more a revelation about his own role in its creation. Based on the novel published in 2017, by contemporary Belarusian author Alhierd Bacharevic, Dogs of Europe is both an epic fantasy and a political thriller about the dangers of looking away when authoritarianism takes root.

Exiled from their native country, the co-founders of Belarus Free Theatre are political refugees who make underground work that plays to courageous audiences in secret locations across Minsk. Everyone involved is under risk of intimidation, persecution and even arrest. Rehearsing from an adopted base in London and in Belarus via Skype, the company is known for its physical theatrical style and for its human rights campaigns. Having lived in democracies and a dictatorship, its staging of Dogs of Europe is especially prescient.

Dogs of Europe is performed in Belarusian with English surtitles.

Journalists please note: there is a press trip opportunity to see Dogs of Europe (February 2020) before its Barbican run. Please contact the Communications office for further information.

Dogs of Europe is part of Inside Out: a year exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

Sardegna Teatro and Compagnia Teatropersona – Macbeth (Macbettu)
Wednesday 20–Saturday 23 May 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Wednesday 20 May 2020, 7.45pm

Ritual, rites and rhythms rooted in Sardinian culture lend primal, elemental energy to this all-male version of Shakespeare’s play – about a man whose efforts to be king make no sense.

Gibbering, spitting and spinning, the weird sisters emerge, whipping up a cloud of ash in their wake. Their appearance heralds more shadowy scenes speaking of dark ambition and disintegration including a banquet where grain is crumbled and scattered. Later the sight of men in Sardinian cork masks moving to the sound of ringing cowbells foretells of defeat in a symbolic enactment of Birnam Wood arriving in Dunsinane.

Director Alessandro Serra draws on the guttural tone of the Sardinian language, props sourced from rural markets and traditional family totems to transpose Macbeth to Barbagia, a pastoral region from where his grandparents hail. Radiating with stylised movement and powerful voices, his production feeds the supernatural elements of the original, layering them with new materials, sounds and gestures to flawlessly transform a Shakespearean classic.

Macbeth is performed in Sardinian with English surtitles.

Journalists please note: there is a press trip opportunity to see Macbeth (December 2019) before its Barbican run. Please contact the Communications office for further information.

Boy Blue – A Night with Boy Blue
Friday 29 & Saturday 30 May 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 29 May 2020, 7.45pm

Mixing exuberant hip-hop dance displays, a joyful sense of community and the heart-thumping rhythms of an electronic score, Boy Blue’s biennial showcase always culminates in uproarious applause.

Presided over by hosts Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, this evening assembles the entire company from the youngest pupils to professional dancers. 70 performers flood the stage in ensembles that match taut choreography with empowering movement and irresistible musicality. Whether polished routines or politically edged pieces, they bring infectious energy, vitality and wit.

This family-friendly evening celebrates the pioneers of hip-hop dance theatre – and their creative mission to ‘educate, enlighten, entertain’.

There are also two opportunities on Saturday 30 May to catch a 30-minute afternoon taster of A Night with Boy Blue as part of Barbican OpenFest.

OdéonThéâtre de l'Europe – The Glass Menagerie
Friday 5–Thursday 11 June 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Friday 5 June 2020, 7.45pm

Stage and screen star Isabelle Huppert plays Amanda in Tennessee Williams’s bewitching masterpiece about loneliness, lost dreams and illusions, which is directed by Ivo van Hove.

Well-bred but having fallen on hard times, Amanda is locked in a life she never imagined with her two adult children. Aspiring poet Tom works in a factory as the main provider, slipping away to the movies whenever he can to escape his mother’s oppressive nostalgia. Laura, a fragile, self-conscious soul never leaves home, contenting herself with a collection of tiny glass animals. The arrival of a ‘gentleman caller’ one evening holds the promise of so much more.

Intense and elusive, The Glass Menagerie was the first hit for Williams on Broadway in 1945 and his most openly autobiographical drama. For this new show, van Hove collaborates with the renowned Odéon–Théâtre de l’Europe on the classic memory play, releasing ghosts of the past to roam freely and speak for themselves.

The Glass Menagerie is performed in French with English surtitles.

Journalists please note: there is a press trip opportunity to see The Glass Menagerie (March/April 2020) before its Barbican run. Please contact the Communications office for further information.

The Glass Menagerie is part of Inside Out: a year exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

LIFT 2020
Cie Non Nova – Immoral Tales Part 1 – Mother House

Tuesday 16–Saturday 20 June 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tuesday 16 June 2020, 7.45pm

Part sci-fi punk, part warrior, Athena spares no effort in building a new Parthenon only to be thwarted by a deluge in this amazingly poetic, highly physical performance without words.

Using just scotch tape and poles, this heroic builder painstakingly assembles a pile of cardboard, stabilising the rickety structure and shaping it with a chainsaw until a European landmark emerges. But as soon as the temple is complete, a foreboding cloud appears on the horizon, leaving us with stark images of creation and destruction.

French artist Phia Ménard, who plays Athena, developed Immoral Tales Part 1 –Mother House in response to the Greek financial crisis, refugees being housed in tents, and turbulent changes across Europe. Showing how quickly something can collapse, there are visions of a society facing ruin in this tension-filled, visually arresting show. 

Split Britches – Last Gasp
Tuesday 9–Saturday 13 June 2020, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 9 June 2020, 7.45pm

Equipped with a bulletproof vest, some know-how and a touch of irony, Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver use spoken word and movement as a call and response to urgent global predicaments.

Two icons of lesbian-feminist theatre: solo yet somehow interdependent. Speaking from a microphone of her own narcissistic tendencies, fragile identities and privilege, Shaw’s poetic musings are interspersed with Weaver’s micro dance essays in which she wryly upends ‘how to’ mania. With one reflecting the other, more than a hint of Narcissus and Echo begins to emerge onstage.

Last Gasp brings prickly conversations literally to the table in episodes entitled ‘The Trump in Me’, ‘How to Survive a Loss’ and ‘How to Have the Last Word’. With cultural references ranging from surrealist painter Dorothea Tanning to singer Johnnie Ray, the legendary performance duo eases a little tension while hitting upon survival strategies for a world collapsing around them.

Also, on Saturday 13 June, Shaw and Weaver invite audiences to sit, think, dream and get involved in stimulating conversation during a free ‘Porch Sitting’ in the Fountain Room on Level G.

Journalists please note: there is a press trip opportunity to see Last Gasp (April/May 2020) before its Barbican run. Please contact the Communications office for further information.

Last Gasp is part of Inside Out: a year exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

Rhiannon Faith Company – DROWNTOWN
Tuesday 30 June–Saturday 4 July 2020, The Pit
Press night: Tuesday 30 June 2020, 7.45pm

Gritty dance theatre that casts a light on people suffering from social isolation, DROWNTOWN holds up a mirror to community breakdown with tenderness and honesty.

Six people, weighed down by individual darkness, come to a coastal land. There is no lifeguard. Yearning to make connections and to find strength, they search for guidance. The absence of support sends them into a spiral as they struggle with ideas of shame and hope, unravelling before our eyes. Highly physical, interspersed with autobiographical testimonials and text, this timely performance gives voice to the vulnerable and unheard.

The devisors/performers are Lewis Bramble, Cherie Coleman, Shelley Eva Haden, Thomas Heyes, Donald Hutera and Maddy Morgan.

Choreographer Rhiannon Faith makes socially conscious work that raises awareness of hard-to-navigate issues and which lobbies for change. Engaging here with the symptoms and problems encountered by marginalised groups, she asks how we can champion authentic belonging for every person and save them from drowning. Faith presented the acclaimed Smack That (a conversation) at the Barbican in 2018.

DROWNTOWN is part of Inside Out: a year exploring the relationship between our inner lives and creativity.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – Evita
Saturday 27 June – Saturday 22 August 2020, Barbican Theatre
Press night: Tuesday 7 July 2020, 7.45pm

From a life of poverty to spiritual leader of the nation, Eva Perón was loved, hated, derided and venerated. Dividing the Argentinian people with her patriotic speeches, her ambition, glamour and magnetism transformed her into one of the world’s first major political celebrities.

Following a sell-out season at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this year, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical Evita transfers to the Barbican in summer 2020, its chart-topping score including ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’, ‘Oh What A Circus’, ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ and ‘You Must Love Me’ – the winner of an Oscar for Best Original Song. Reinvented by director Jamie Lloyd, his transformative production was seen by over 75,000 people in 2019.