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The Encounter

Complicité/Simon McBurney

Simon McBurney in The Encounter

First presented here in 2016, The Encounter blew away audiences. Following a hit Broadway run and international tour, ‘one of the most fully immersive theatre pieces ever created’ is back (NY Times).

This is the true story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre lost in a remote area of Brazil in 1969, leading to a startling encounter that is to change his life forever. Simon McBurney’s solo performance threads scenes of his own life with details of McIntyre’s hallucinogenic journey, plunging the audience into a visceral inner voyage. As the mesmerising tale reaches its climax, this extraordinary tour de force asks urgent questions: about how we live and what we believe to be true.

Garnered with Drama Desk, Evening Standard, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards, The Encounter combines virtuosic storytelling and groundbreaking binaural sound design to plug into the power of the imagination, transmitted direct to the audience through provided headphones. Simply put, it is a ‘game-changer … from a man and a company incapable of remaining within known theatrical boundaries (Independent).

Tagged with: Theatre & dance

2 hours/no interval
Age guidance 12+

21-22 Apr
Weekend Lab
led by Kirsty Housley

Thu 26 Apr
Post-show talk

Simon McBurney and Marcus du Sautoy
Free to same-day ticket holders

Wed 2 May
Post-show talk

Simon McBurney, Professor Paul Heritage (Queen Mary University of London) and Takumã Kuikuro (Brazilian filmmaker)
Free to same-day ticket holders

Thu 3 May
Captioned performance

Visually-impaired customers
There is no audio description available for this production because The Encounter is presented through individual headsets using innovative binaural sound technology. 
The performer evokes a strong sense of the storytelling and setting through each audience member’s personal headphones, so although there is a visual element to this production, it can still be enjoyed by visually-impaired customers.

Presented by the Barbican

A Complicité co-production with the Barbican, Edinburgh International Festival, Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens, Schaubühne Berlin, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne and Warwick Arts Centre


‘This is the sort of storytelling that roots you to the spot and fills you with childlike enthrallment.‘
Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Financial Times, Herald, Independent, Scotsm…
‘The intelligence and ingenuity absorb and dazzle.‘


photo of simon mcburney

Barbican Meets: Simon McBurney

What is consciousness? Simon McBurney and Marcus du Sautoy discuss The Encounter.

photo of a foam head

Watch: the making of The Encounter


How did Complicité and Simon McBurney create The Encounter? Head  behind-the-scenes to find out...

Barbican Theatre