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Woyzeck - Omnibus, Clapham

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TWO hundred years after the birth of Georg Büchner and one hundred years after the first performance of Woyzeck, the recently converted 19th century Clapham library will be staging this seminal work, one of the most important in the German cannon.

The story, based loosely on the life of a poor 19th century wigmaker turned soldier, tells of an army barber struggling against poverty, his malicious superiors and his failing mental health.

An army camp. No war, no revolution. Just the daily battles of human life. Woyzeck, an army barber, does what he can to look after his wife and child, earning extra money by performing menial jobs and agreeing to dubious medical experiments.

For six months, he has been forced to eat nothing but peas, and now he suspects the Drum Major of sleeping with his common-law wife. As he struggles to understand his lot in life, suddenly an unexpected voice of reason offers him a way out…

This will be the first in-house production at Omnibus, which opened in October of this year.

Omnibus aims to create an inclusive and vibrant new destination for the arts in London. The venue’s programme will appeal to as wide and diverse an audience as possible, with events spanning theatre, new writing, classical and contemporary music, chamber musicals, literature and spoken word, visual arts, comedy and family events.

The Victorian building, built in 1889, was recently saved from being turned into flats after a seven year campaign by local residents to keep the building for the community.

The historic building will be a welcoming and inspiring space, providing a creative hub that allows actors, directors, writers, musicians and artists to interact and exchange ideas, while actively engaging in creative work with the local community. There are three main performance spaces, including a 90-seat studio theatre and a beautiful multi-purpose space overlooking Clapham Common.

Georg Büchner, born in 1813, died in 1837 before finishing his masterpiece Woyzeck. The piece was finished posthumously by a variety of authors, translators and editors and first performed in 1913, one hundred years after he was born. As well as being one of the most important in the German cannon, the play has had multiple revivals and adaptations including two films and an opera, and has influenced companies and writers such as Simon Stephens, Punchdrunk and Bertolt Brecht.

Presented by Omnibus in association with Big Picnic, Woyzeck is directed by Robyn Winfield-Smith, Associate Director at Omnibus, and translated by Michael Ewans.

Dates: November 19 to December 7, 2013.

Tickets: £10 previews (November 19 and 20), £15, £12 concessions – available from the box office on 0844 477 1000 or online at

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Running Time: 75 minutes.

Omnibus, 1 Northside Clapham Common, London, SW4 0QW