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Life is a Dream (La vida es sueño)

Cheek by Jowl

The Cheek By Jowl ensemble perform against a large green structure which has 6 doors cut out of it.

Cheek by Jowl take on Calderón’s astonishing play about free will, fate and the mystery of life in this major new production of the Spanish classic.

A prince chained in a mountain. A young woman disguised as a man in search of vengeance. Revolution, love, murder – but is the real truly real, or is it all just a dream? As one of Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s best-known and most studied works, Life is a Dream was listed as one of the 40 greatest plays of all time in The Independent.

Created by director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod, this is Cheek by Jowl’s first Spanish-language production, performed by an ensemble of Spanish actors. This acclaimed company is an Artistic Associate of the Barbican.

Performed in Spanish with English surtitles

Age guidance: 14+ (contains adult themes and nudity)

Running time: 2 hours, no interval
Latecomers will unfortunately not be permitted

Pre-show members’ talk, Fri 14 Apr, 6pm
Q&A with Cheek by Jowl joint artistic directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod for Barbican Members

Presented by the Barbican.

Co-produced by Cheek by Jowl, Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico (CNTC Madrid) and LAZONA; in collaboration with the Barbican, London and Scène Nationale d’ALBI•Tarn, France.

Barbican presentation generously supported by The Polonsky Foundation. 

Cheek by Jowl is very grateful to the Embassy of Spain in London for their kind support of La Vida es Sueño and also to Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and to the Instituto Cervantes London.

Image credit: Javier Naval


‘Whatever Cheek by Jowl does next constitutes a major happening‘
The Guardian
‘Exceptional, highly original and surprising... we don't remember ever having seen a more original, daring and transgressive staging of Life is a Dream‘
La Última Bambalina