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Smack That (a conversation)

Rhiannon Faith

Photos which shows a group of women with identical silver wigs holding their hands out into a circle

Endlessly inventive choreographer Rhiannon Faith shines a light on the complex subject of domestic abuse in an empowering and participatory performance highlighting human resilience.

Beverly is having a party and you are one of her guests. There are games, drinks, shared conversation, energetic dance and heartbreaking moments as she bravely gives a raw and honest account of surviving an abusive relationship.

Each member of the all-female cast, a close-knit group of non-performers and dance artists, fearlessly takes on the persona of Beverly to convey turbulent, real experiences. The unusual setting creates a safe space for them to reveal the challenges they have faced and celebrate their endurance with the audience. Faith’s work with a support group at charity Safer Places underpins this show, which seeks to raise social consciousness around domestic abuse by supporting women to openly talk about it.

This show discusses themes of an adult nature, sexual violence and domestic abuse.
Age guidance: 16+
Duration: 1 hour 20 mins, no interval

14 June 2018
BSL-interpreted performance

Part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Presented by the Barbican and developed through Barbican Guildhall Open Lab. Commissioned by Harlow Playhouse. Supported by Arts Council England, Essex County Council, DanceEast, Rich Mix and artsdepot. With the support of Safer Places

Event information

This show shines a light on the subject of domestic abuse and as such, discusses themes of an adult nature, sexual violence and domestic abuse.

During the show a break-out space will be available to audience members, providing a safe and calm environment for anyone affected by the subject matter. A qualified therapist will be on hand to provide short term support and re-direction to other services as required. This room is a short walk from the Pit and is signposted. A Barbican host can show you the way. You will be able to re-enter the performance whenever you’re ready. 

Barbican becomes a J9 venue

Beginning with the opening of Smack That (a conversation), the Barbican is becoming a J9 venue. This national initiative aims to provide safe and secure opportunities for people to disclose domestic abuse and access a full support system. Staff at each J9 contact point are trained to signpost, advise and spot the signs of domestic abuse. Each venue has a safe place where people can access information and use a phone to call for further help. Look out for the pink J9 heart. Find out more here

J9 Information Pack (PDF, 393KB)


‘An unexpected performance that is as likeable as it is important‘
‘A bold and brave performance … searingly honest and genuinely moving‘
‘Presented with wit and poignancy‘

Part of The Art of Change

Our 2018 season explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.


a young woman reaches out her hand

Watch: interview with the cast of Smack That

During the research and development period, Rhiannon Faith interviewed the participants and dancers to find out about their experiences of the project.


The Pit