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September 2018 highlights at the Barbican

September preview

HIGHLIGHTS at the Barbican this September include:

The UK premiere of The Second Violinist – in the Barbican Theatre from Thursday, September 6 to Saturday, September 8.

Winner of the 2017 Fedora–Generali Prize for Opera and Best Opera at the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2018, The Second Violinist is produced by Landmark Productions and Irish National Opera, and is a dazzling modern opera that tells the foreboding story of a life falling apart, unfolding like an unnerving thriller driven along by a haunting and compulsive score.

Martin, an orchestral violinist, is consumed by social media platforms, morbid fantasies and violent video games. Seeking solace in the music of Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, his inner turmoil becomes ever more apparent as he searches for beauty in a dark, dark world.

The latest collaboration between internationally renowned Irish playwright Enda Walsh and composer Donnacha Dennehy, this brooding production switches between multiple timelines. It marries multi-layered set and video design with a score, rich in amplified sounds, harmonies and overtones – reflective of the heightening tension onstage – and played live by the dynamic music group, Crash Ensemble.

Lyrical and ethereal singing by three soloists and a 16-strong chorus contrasts with Aaron Monaghan’s central performance, physically fraught, essentially wordless and utterly involving.

Alan Fielden with JAMSMarathon, the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award Winner 2018 – in The Pit from Thursday, September 20 to Saturday, September 29.

A man on the front line of a conflict between two countries is told by his general to relay a message to the king: ‘we’ve lost the war, the enemy is coming.’ The journey he takes and the people he meets along the way lead him to question his faith in the mission.

Marathon is less about the Greek myth and more about the performers onstage struggling to re-enact the play they’ve created of the same name. Under a kind of collective amnesia, they experiment with form, style, live music and pyrotechnics to evoke the sense of confusion felt by many people in today’s society.

JAMS are a group of young artists intent on creating unpredictable and collaborative theatre.

Boy Blue with Blak Whyte Gray – in the Barbican Theatre from Wednesday, September 12 to Saturday, September 15.

The critically acclaimed Blak Whyte Gray returns to the Barbican, following nominations for an Olivier Award and National Dance Award.

The world in flux, a need for change: the artists of Barbican Artistic Associate Boy Blue give expression to experiences of contemporary life. The time is right to ask questions, to break free from the inner tension of a system that isn’t working, and to emerge on the other side to an awakening – a return to their roots, a celebration of their culture.

Fuelled by an emotional energy, the piece pairs the concentrated physicality of select hip-hop dance styles with the rhythmical groove of music and moves evoking Africa.

Blak Whyte Gray is part of the 2018 season, The Art of Change.

METIS with We Know Not What We May Be – in The Pit from Thursday, September 6 to Sunday, September 9.

There has never been a greater urgency for change. But what shape could this take and who will be in charge? We Know Not What We May Be asks if human ingenuity can improve people’s relationships with each other and their treatment of the planet.

Part conference, part durational artwork and part think-tank, this immersive installation brings together the best of contemporary thinking, for a better tomorrow. Starting with a short talk by a visionary speaker drawn from the disciplines of economics, architecture and the environment (speakers include Paul Mason, Kate Raworth and Ha-Joon Chang), audiences become co-workers as they enter The Pit, transformed into the factory of the future.

We Know Not What We May Be is also part of the 2018 season, The Art of Change.

Brink Productions with Memorial by Alice Oswald – in the Barbican Theatre from Thursday, September 27 to Sunday, September 30.

Brink Productions and the Barbican present a theatrical adaptation of Alice Oswald’s brilliantly original reimagining of Homer’s Iliad by a poet who is also a classicist. The concept for the production and direction comes from Brink Production’s Artistic Director, Chris Drummond and Artistic Director of Circa, Yaron Lifschitz, with music by Jocelyn Pook. The UK premiere is presented at the Barbican as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.

In Memorial, Alice Oswald strips away Homer’s narrative and attends to its atmosphere, its enargeia, or ‘bright unbearable reality’ with a memorialising of every soldier named in the Iliad, juxtaposed with exquisite similes describing vast movements in time and nature. The result is a concentrated, intense elegy in which each soldier’s death characterises the man and each death is different, a compelling litany of the war-dead.

In a fusion of music, choreography and theatre, the celebrated Australian actress Helen Morse will perform Memorial, her lone voice embodying the voice of the gods, of the elements, of time itself and of lives arrested in visceral moments of war. The stage will be populated with men and women drawn from a wide cross-section of the community to create a choric presence simultaneously evoking the 215 soldiers named in the poem. Reflective, meditative and dynamic, the show stands as a requiem to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during conflict and war.

Read more about Memorial.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7638 8891 or visit