Follow Us on Twitter

Barbican Theatre and Dance – Autumn 2012

Juliette Binoche in Dan In Real Life

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE BARBICAN has announced its autumn 2012 Theatre and Dance season, and with a combination of international co-commissions, new productions from established and emerging British companies and collaborative projects with key Artistic Associates, the Barbican continues to celebrate its 30th birthday year in style.

The season opens with Juliette Binoche in the Festival d’Avignon production of Mademoiselle Julie, directed by Frédéric Fisbach – September 20 to September 29 (Barbican Theatre).

Strindberg’s great naturalistic dramatic poem explores the timeless themes of love and desire set against the backdrop of class and social convention. A classic of late nineteenth-century writing, Mademoiselle Julie is a seminal text at the crossroads of modern theatre.

Director Frédéric Fisbach re-imagines the play in a striking contemporary staging and brings together a chorus before whom the intimate drama and ultimate tragedy of the three main protagonists is played out.

Reflecting the Centre’s reputation as the place to experience international work, autumn 2012 sees the return of Poland’s TR Warszawa with Grzegorz Jarzyna’s production of Nosferatu, based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula – October 31 (Halloween) to November 3 (Barbican Theatre).

TR Warszawa’s third visit to the Barbican, it last performed there in 2010 with Jarzyna’s critically acclaimed production of Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis and T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, one of the most evocative texts in popular culture, is interpreted in Nosferatu using the vampiric myth of life after death and the regenerative power of blood. Seducing his audience into a dream-like state, Grzegorz Jarzyna uses this psychological and metaphysical thriller to explore the conflict between the fear of the unknown entrenched in human nature and our enduring fascination with dark secrets, obsessions and the need for transgression.

Performed in Polish with English surtitles, Nosferatu will open on October 31 with a press performance at 9pm, which will be followed by a series of late night Halloween-themed events in the Barbican foyers.

Also in November, the Barbican is presenting Calixto Bieito’s Forests, co-produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Barcelona International Theatre and originally created as part of the World Shakespeare Festival – November 6 to November 10 (Barbican Theatre).

Forests uses original verse from Shakespeare’s forest and heath scenes to create a vivid theatrical journey beginning in As You Like It‘s forest of Arden, via Macbeth‘s Birnam Wood to the bare wilderness of King Lear‘s cliffs of Dover.

One of Europe’s most prominent theatre directors, Calixto Bieito’s passionate and radical interpretations of classics have stimulated both controversy and critical acclaim. With a cast of English and Catalan actors led by Josep Maria Pou, Roser Camí and George Costigan, Forests will be performed in both English and Catalan (Catalan text will be surtitled).

October sees the continuation of the Barbican’s relationship with National Theatre of Scotland with the London premiere of Enquirer, a site-specific work based on interviews with leading figures in the UK newspaper industry conducted by three journalists, Paul Flynn, Deborah Orr and Ruth Wishart – October 3 to October 21 (Barbican off-site).

Rocked by ongoing allegations of corruption, bribery and other illegal practices, the media becomes the story in this theatrical investigation into the current crisis in newspaper journalism. Enquirer, a co-production with the London Review of Books is edited and directed by Vicky Featherstone and John Tiffany and co-edited by award-winning novelist and journalist Andrew O’Hagan.

Enquirer opened at The Hub in Glasgow in April 2012. The cast of this promenade production includes Maureen Beattie, John Bett, Billy Riddoch, Gabriel Quigley and James Anthony Pearson.

The Barbican continues to develop its relationship with off-site venues in East London and will present The Finalists, a showcase of new theatre – October 11 to October 13 (Barbican off-site: Shoreditch Town Hall and other East London venues).

Selected for their boldness and innovation, fourteen finalists of the annual Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award will present their work in progress to the public and a panel of judges.

Encompassing digital and participatory theatre, live art and dance, this is an eclectic showcase of emerging theatrical talent from Amy Draper, Analogue, The Building Site, Curious Directive, Davy and Kristin McGuire, Future Ruins, Hannah Bruce, Me and the Machine, Shams and Ania Bas, simple8, State of Flux, Studio Dubbelagent, UndertheBed and the vacuum cleaner.

Previous winners of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award include the phenomenon You Me Bum Bum Train and Slung Low, who return to the Barbican with the 2012 Christmas production, 59 Minutes to Save Christmas, an interactive journey around the Barbican Centre for intrepid adventurers of 7+ and brave parents – December 15 to January 6 (Barbican Centre).

Barbican Artistic Associate Michael Clark Company return to the Barbican stage with a double bill of new work choreographed to specially commissioned music – October 17 to October 27 (Barbican Theatre).

This production will continue Clark’s history of collaborating with contemporary artists, designers and musicians, and includes lighting design by artist and filmmaker Charles Atlas, and costumes by Stevie Stewart, formerly of Bodymap.

An iconic British dancer, choreographer and artist who first came to prominence in the early 1980s, Michael Clark is renowned for his legendary collaborations with bands, fashion designers and visual artists including Wire, Leigh Bowery, Trojan, Peter Doig and Sarah Lucas.

Clark’s return to the Barbican will follow the company’s residencies in Tate Modern’s immense Turbine Hall in 2010 and 2011, and the Whitney Museum of American Art for the Whitney Biennial 2012.

The Barbican’s Creative Learning programme is central to the ethos of the building, and in November the inspirational talents of Artistic Associate Boy Blue Entertainment’s young dancers Da Bratz and Bluez combine with The Young People of Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning to present Unleashed – November 23 and November 24 (Barbican Theatre).

Unleashed is a new show which brings together a professional theatre team working with the ideas of young poets, drummers, filmmakers and musicians. In a high-energy urban explosion, directed by Walter Meierjohann, the voice of the young people of East London is unleashed on the Barbican main stage.

Following a sold-out run at the Barbican in 2011, Compagnie MPTA/Mathurin Bolze return with Du Goudron et des Plumes – November 28 to December 1 (Barbican Theatre).

One of today’s most original and brilliant young circus creators, Mathurin Bolze explores friendship, co-operation and trust through a combination of thrilling acrobatics, bewitching lighting and original music by Philippe Foch and Jérôme Fèvre, all played on an ingenious set.

The Barbican consolidates its strand of high quality international theatre for children with Dutch company Het Filiaal, who present Miss Ophelia during half term – October 31 to November 7 (The Pit).

This stage adaptation of the book Ophelia’s Shadow Theatre by Michael Ende uses lively narrative, imaginative puppetry and a beautiful score to tell the story of soft-spoken and ordinary Ophelia, who one day experiences something quite extraordinary.

From November 13 to November 17, the award-winning live art and experimental theatre group, Sleepwalk Collective, is presenting As the Flames Rose We Danced to the Sirens, the Sirens – an hour of troubling intimacy in which Iara Solano Arana of Sleepwalk Collective samples and replays the iconography of B-movies and early cinema in an attempt to re-work cinematic and cultural clichés into something heartfelt and profound (The Pit).

Much-loved emerging Welsh artist Hugh Hughes returns to the Barbican with a brand new show, Stories from an Invisible Town – November 28 to December 8 (The Pit).

When Hugh Hughes returned to his childhood home in Llangefni to help his mum move house, a tapestry of memories from his past began to unfold. In Stories from an Invisible Town, Hugh, with his sister Delyth and brother Derwyn, shares these family stories with the audience in an unpredictable, playful and engaging evening.

The live show is presented alongside a unique new online space,, where visitors can get lost in a collection of reminiscences manifested as short films, photographs, animations, maps, diagrams, audio clips and poems.

Stories from an Invisible Town is produced by Hoipolloi whose previous shows at the Barbican include Hugh Hughes’ Floating, Story of a Rabbit and 360, with all three also presented as a trilogy, The Wonderful World of Hugh Hughes , in autumn 2010.

Beginning in the Pit foyer, non zero one present the time out, a playful and personal interactive performance set in the changing room of a swimming pool before a water polo final – October 23 to November 4 (Barbican Centre).

the time out looks at teams and what it means to be part of one, using live sound mixing, audio and projection. It is written and performed by non zero one who are Sarah Butcher, Iván González, Cat Harrison, John Hunter, Fran Miller and Alex Turner, with music by Robert Logan.

non zero one are affiliates of the National Theatre Studio and will perform you’ll see [me sailing in antarctica] on the roof of the National Theatre from July 6 to July 15 as part of London 2012 Festival.

Informed by the digital elements evident in some of the work in the Barbican spaces this autumn including Nosferatu, Stories from an Invisible Town, Miss Ophelia and the time out, the Barbican Weekender is a free programme of music, film, theatre and visual art across the foyers, celebrating the influence of digital technology on the arts with a range of activities for everyone – November 3 and November 4 (Barbican Centre).

Looking forward to 2013, the London International Mime Festival will be resident at the Barbican during their annual January slot, followed by Cia de Dança Deborah Colker, one of Brazil’s leading contemporary dance companies, with Tatyana – January 31 to February 9, 2013 (Barbican Theatre).

Tatyana explores the four main characters from Pushkin’s classic novel, Eugene Onegin, and adds a fifth – Pushkin himself, who interacts with the desires, thoughts and actions of the four main characters of his masterpiece. Set to an eclectic soundtrack featuring Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Prokofiev combined with contemporary music, Tatyana is performed on a striking set with Colker’s physically daring, sensual choreography.

The Barbican dates follow performances at the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival.

For more information call the box office on 0845 120 7511 or visit