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The latest content and news from the Barbican. Book tickets at

Schaubühne Berlin: The Forbidden Zone

Offering a uniquely female perspective on war, science and the advance of chemical weapons, The Forbidden Zone is a show of epic scale and intricacy directed by Katie Mitchell for the Schaubühne Berlin. Written by Duncan MacMillan and part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, The Forbidden Zone offers a platform for the voices of Clara Immerwahr, a chemical scientist, and Mary Borden, a suffragette and wartime nurse.

Clara Immerwahr, wife of the famed chemist Fritz Haber, commits suicide when her husband’s research leads to the development of chlorine gas during the First World War. Over 30 years later, her granddaughter, a scientist committed to finding a poison gas antidote, faces similar despair. Interweaving multiple narratives across time and location, the multimedia production also features feminist texts by Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, adding another dimension to an already multidimensional storyline.

With elaborate period sets, including a life-size replica of a 1940s subway carriage that moves across the stage, as well as real-time camera footage projected on screens to intensify the performances of the Schaubühne ensemble, The Forbidden Zone is a heightened drama that pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre. Performed in English and German with English surtitles, the dynamic production is a unique account of the female voices often forgotten throughout history.

Director Katie Mitchell also leads a two day intensive Weekend Lab at the Barbican on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May, aimed specifically at actors and directors, to coincide with the UK stage premiere of The Forbidden Zone.

Read the full press release in our newsroom.

Schaubühne Berlin: The Forbidden Zone runs from 26–29 May 2016.