The Ghost Light Is On...

Barbican November Guide

An empty Barbican Theatre lit with just a single white light on a stand stood on an empty stage.
14 Oct 2020
2 min read

As we gradually reopen our Theatre, an innovative and exciting new production gives you the chance to see it as never before.

The Ghost Light, named after the single light that’s left on in a theatre when it is empty to ‘appease ghosts’ and prevent the stage from being completely dark, will be a unique and unlikely-to-be-repeated experience. 

There’s just one ticket available per performance, which can be used by one person or up to six with their guests. You’ll enter the empty theatre, sit down, and share the moment with an artist who performs a short piece, anything from comedy to drama, dance to poetry, just for you and lit only by the ghost light. But you won’t know in advance what – or who – you’ll see. 

The original idea came from Purni Morell and Christian Roe of the company fieldwork. We thought the concept was lovely. And while there are limited tickets, some of the performances will be filmed and available on our website, so you can still see it.

‘What’s brilliant is we’ve got an iconic theatre that many are familiar with under normal circumstances, so it’s wonderful to have an opportunity as an audience member to creep into it when it’s dark, and sit in the auditorium entirely on your own,’ says Barbican producer Jill Shelley. ‘It’s an experience you’ll never normally have – the chance to breathe in that atmosphere of a totally empty theatre.’ 

For us, the Theatre is a living breathing thing: it needs people

Each actor, dancer, or musician will do a couple of performances throughout the run. You may find someone well-known or an up-and-coming talent – but they’ve all been hand-picked by our theatre producers. 

‘It’s about the whole experience – the absence of an audience and normal procedure is as much a part of it as what you see on stage,’ says Shelley.

‘We’re all desperate to see the Theatre alive again. We’ve been terribly sad that we’re not in there every day. For us, the Theatre is a living breathing thing: it needs people, it needs performers and audiences, which are its sustenance.’

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