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Ninagawa Company

Photo of two people on stage in traditional Japanese dress

As the first Ninagawa production to travel overseas just over 30 years ago, the ‘achingly beautiful’ Macbeth became ‘an overnight legend’ (Independent). 

Transposing the action to a 16th-century samurai world, this staging of Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy unfolds in war-torn Japan. Moving through a series of breathtaking images, its total effect is the stuff of theatre history.

To celebrate the work of the late Yukio Ninagawa, whose Shakespearean interpretations are regarded as experiences of a lifetime, his company reprise this epoch-making production. Faithful to the text’s depiction of honour and revenge, yet rich in symbolism, it blurs the divide between the sacred and secular. Masachika Ichimura and Yuko Tanaka, stars in Japan of stage and screen respectively, lead the cast of this revival.

3 hours/including an interval

Age guidance 14+

Performed in Japanese with English surtitles


Presented by the Barbican in association with Thelma Holt, Saitama Arts Foundation and HoriPro Inc

Co-produced by The Japan Foundation


‘Three decades after its UK premiere, Yukio Ninagawa’s samurai Macbeth retains its power to astonish and enthral‘
Neil Norman, The Stage
‘A small number of Shakespearean productions have attained legendary status ... Very few would dispute the inclusion of Yukio Ninagawa's Macbeth‘
‘Blood and cherry blossom: Yukio Ninagawa's samurai Macbeth is back‘
‘‘A play we were used to seeing staged in Stygian gloom suddenly became a thing of wonder and beauty’‘


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With thanks

Japan Foundation
Great British Sasakawa Foundation logo
ANA logo

Barbican Theatre