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NEWS: Cheek by Jowl bring French Pericles to Barbican, stage The Knight of the Burning Pestle in Russian

In International, London theatre, Native, News, Plays, Press Releases, Regional theatre, Touring by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Cheek by Jowl have announced UK tour dates for their production of Shakespeare’s Périclès, Prince de Tyr. Performed in French, with English surtitles, the production will run at the Barbican, where the company is an Associate, from 6 to 21 April 2018.

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KING LEAR – RSC, Barbican Centre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

For many actors Lear is the ultimate role, hence the proliferation of productions that appear every year. In 2016 alone we’ve had Timothy West, Don Warrington and Michael Pennington all pop up in the role and Glenda Jackson is currently giving us a female perspective over at the Old Vic. RSC stalwart Antony Sher’s take on the role has been something we’ve been waiting a few years for… so how does he do?

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DOCTOR FAUSTUS – RSC, Barbican Centre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

It’s a rare feeling to sit in the audience for a play and feel you truly don’t know what to expect – in the age of social media, it’s impossible not to have a good idea what to expect, but when two men walk onto the stage at the beginning of Faustus, stare each other in the eye and light a match cast, crew and audience will all find out together who will take the titular role.

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HENRY V – RSC, London

In London theatre, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

Shakespeare has loomed large over London’s theatre scene in 2015, from the fevered anticipation to Benedict Cumberbatch’s performances in (the underwhelming) Hamlet to Kenneth Branagh forming his own company and presenting a series of plays built around a pair of the Bard’s pieces. With such fanfare the RSC’s return to the Barbican with the last of their King and Country cycle (and later the whole cycle in repertory) has almost slipped in under the radar, but the less heralded shows are, in our experience, often the most rewarding…

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Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Chailly – Barbican

In Concerts, Features, London theatre, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

There’s an old conductor’s adage which suggests that the only way safe to start Strauss’ Don Juan is to start before the applause has died – that way no one hears any imperfections in the upward rush of strings. Remembering those words made me smile as Riccardo Chailly and his magnificent Leipzig orchestra lept as one from the starting blocks, stretching every sinew of Strauss’ youthful tone poem as if the imperative of the piece was directly proportionate to the Don’s sexual prowess.

NEWS: RSC Shares Update on Productions at The Barbican Centre

In by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) returns to the Barbican in November with Henry V, followed by a major theatrical event in January 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death – with performances of all four productions of Gregory Doran’s history plays in repertoire.

The season brings together the previously production of Richard II (premiered in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2013) with the recent Henry IV Parts I & II and the new production of Henry V straight from its acclaimed run in Stratford.

Running from 11 November 2015 to 24 January 2016, the repertoire includes the majority of the original cast members. David Tennant reprises the title role of Richard II; Antony Sher and Jasper Britton return as Falstaff and Henry IV respectively in theHenry IV plays and Alex Hassell reprises his role as the young Hal and reaches maturity as King in Henry V.

RSC Shakespeare on Screen
9-31 January 2016
Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3

In January 2016, alongside the work onstage at the Barbican, a special festival of RSC Shakespeare on Screen has been created to complement the King and Country plays.

Curated by John Wyver, RSC Director of Screen Productions, in association with the Barbican, RSC Shakespeare on Screen will uncover highlights from 50 years of Shakespeare in performance. Nine titles have been selected from the huge archive of RSC work captured on stage or reconceived for film and television, and include Trevor Nunn’s iconic 1979 production of Macbeth with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, originally performed at The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, Peter Hall’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1959) with Charles Laughton as Bottom in a rarely-seen partial recording of Hall’s staging which was filmed on three cameras for American television in the theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Gregory Doran’s production of Hamlet (2009) filmed on location in an abandoned seminary in North London, with David Tennant in the title role. Questions about the RSC’s involvement with film and television and the challenges of translating stage productions to the screen will be discussed with current RSC artistic director Gregory Doran and other guests to be announced.

Talks and Debates

A programme of talks and debates explores Shakespeare’s portrayals of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. Guest panellists will include Alex Hassell, Julian Glover and David Tennant amongst others. The talks will be held in the Frobisher Auditorium 1 in the Barbican.

Further information here:


An Education programme will run alongside the RSC season, exploring Henry V and the King and Country cycles. RSC Education and Barbican Creative Learning teams will also work with experts from the Museum of London on an active workshop on Shakespeare’s Histories. For more information on the RSC Education workshops visit:

Barbican Box 2016

From November 2015

RSC associate directors will be supporting the Barbican Box education programme for schools and colleges. The project involves a portable box containing tools and stimuli to encourage young people in their personal and imaginative approach to the arts. Joining the programme, schools also get mentoring, teacher training courses, tickets to the Centre’s performances and opportunities to perform at the Barbican – among other benefits.

First Encounter: The Famous Victories of Henry V
19 November 2015

Following its opening in Stratford-upon-Avon in June 2015, and its tour to school halls and theatre spaces across the country, The Famous Victories of Henry V comes to the Barbican for one performance only. Directed by Owen Horsley and using Shakespeare’s original language, the production condenses the three great plays of Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V into a 90 minute adventure for 8 – 13 year olds.


This Realm, This England – the RSC’s free exhibition will be on display in the Barbican Mezzanine Foyer from 6 November 2015 – 24 January 2016. The exhibition features a new lighting installation developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by Stephen Brimson Lewis’ design for the King and Country cycle of plays.

International King and Country tour

Following the Barbican season, Henry IV Parts I & II and Henry V tour to China and are then re-joined by Richard II in Spring 2016 for an exclusive season in New York, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

J.P. Morgan is the Global Tour Premier Partner for all four productions, and will be supporting the upcoming tour from London to China and the US.

Live from Stratford-upon-Avon

Henry V will be broadcast ‘Live from Stratford-upon-Avon’ to cinemas in collaboration with Picturehouse Entertainment on 21 October 2015. For details on screenings

As well as streaming the shows live into cinemas around the world, the RSC also offers another unique opportunity to schools across the UK to experience the Company’s productions for free in classrooms, with a live Q&A following the screening. Henry Vwill be screened in schools on Thursday 19 November 2015.

This hugely popular initiative is made possible through collaboration with Ravensbourne College. Alongside the webcast, the RSC has created an extensive package of online resources for use by teachers and students in the classroom, both in the lead up to the broadcast and for use as follow up materials afterwards.

The £5 ticket scheme for 16-25 year olds gives access to £5 tickets for all RSC productions in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and on tour. £5 Tickets for productions at the Barbican can be booked in advance on the phone or in person with some available for sale on the day of the performance. £5 tickets for 16-25s and the 16-25 Shakespeare Pass are generously supported by BP.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation

A co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and amateur companies across the UK.

This is an arrangement developed between the RSC and Equity.

Between 17 – 21 May 2016, the RSC and the Tower Theatre Company will perform the nation’s favourite Shakespeare play as never before; intertwining professional and amateur actors, who play Bottom and the mechanicals. Following its run in Stratford-upon-Avon and UK tour, the show will arrive at the Barbican, where school children from East London will play Titania’s fairy train.

On Midsummer’s Day this year, the RSC announced the 14 amateur companies from around the UK who will be joining the professional company on their journey. Meet the Bottoms in the trailer and visit the Dream 2016 website to get to know the Tower Theatre Company.

The Barbican Weekender

The RSC will take part in the Barbican Weekender in March 2016 filling the Barbican Centre’s spaces with playful experiences, interactive workshops, insightful talks, fun installations and performances with a difference, offering something for everyone, young and old, families and friends.

Marking the 400th anniversary celebrations in 2016, the next Weekender, PLAY ON, which is a free event, will take place on Sat 5 & Sun 6 March 2016, with Shakespeare being a starting point for featured artists and their modern responses to the playwright’s world which will take centre stage.

Press pass: Critics finally (officially) get their say on Cumberbatch Hamlet

In Features, London theatre, News, Opinion, Photos, Plays by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

As one critic stated upfront: the press night is a major anti-climax. Nevertheless, while the verdicts don’t make a blind bit of difference to the box office on a production that sold out in record time a year ago, it’s time to take pause and review the reviews for #HamletBarbican, a.k.a. the Benedict Cumberbatch show. […]