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Schaubühne Berlin

A person stares in a mirror

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. 

1 hour 45 mins, no interval
Age guidance 16+ (sexual content, nudity, violence and scenes that some people may find upsetting. More Information)

Performed in German with English surtitles

Presented by the Barbican. Co-production with Odéon – Théâtre de l’Europe – Paris, Teatros del Canal Madrid, Göteborgs Stadsteater/Backa Teater and São Luiz Teatro Municipal – Lisbon. In cooperation with the European Theatre Network PROSPERO. Supported by the Friends of Schaubühne Berlin.


‘An absolute blast... riotous, rude and very knowing‘
Time Out
‘Rousing and spectacularly elaborate show‘
‘Masterfully executed … think Fleabag gone Elizabethan‘


Photo of Katie Mitchell talking to camera whilst being interviewed

Watch: Lights, camera, action

Director Katie Mitchell explains why she's always wanted to direct this radical play that was written well ahead of its time.

Barbican Theatre