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

Theatre and Dance Season Launch 2018

Welcoming back artists and companies to the Barbican Theatre and The Pit, this new ambitious theatre and dance programme features live music, cabaret, opera as well as scripted and devised plays. Part of LIFT 2018 and our season The Art of Change, Taylor Mac presents A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act, which reframes the social history of America through three decades of song, while Barry Humphries, from Australia presents his Weimar Cabaret – a risqué and sophisticated tribute to the jazz-infused music of the Weimar Republic.

We present the world premiere of The Royal Opera‘s Coraline based on the story by Neil Gaiman, as well as the UK premiere of The Second Violinist by Ireland’s Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera, a dazzling modern opera that tells the foreboding story of a life falling apart.

There is another chance to see The Royal Ballet‘s Elizabeth, starring its former Principal Zenaida Yanowsky, and Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black appears twice in this season, with Double Bill, and then in Viviana Durante Company‘s homage to Kenneth MacMillan, Steps Back in Time, accompanied by dancers from The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet.

2018 starts with London International Mime Festival, as we welcome back Olivier Award-winning Belgian company Peeping Tom with the UK premiere of Mother (Moeder), which explores the archetypal matriarchal figure. We also welcome for the first time Toneelhuis/FC Bergman with the UK premiere of 300 el x 50 el x 30 el, following the inhabitants of a small village gripped by the fear of an impending flood. Bêtes de foire – Petit Théâtre de Gestes brings its intimate circus tinged with nostalgia to The Pit, whilst Lift Off (Je brasse de l’air) is performed by Magali Rousseau.

Productions which look to novels as their inspiration also feature prominently in our 2018 programme: Picnic at Hanging Rock by Tom Wright is a retelling of Joan Lindsay’s cult 1967 novel, produced by Australias’ Malthouse Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company.

Cheek by Jowl presents its first Shakespeare production in the French language: Pericles (Périclès, Prince de Tyr). Eleven members of the internationally renowned string orchestra Scottish Ensemble collaborate with five contemporary dance artists from Sweden’s Andersson Dance to reawaken Bach’s timeless masterpiece, Goldberg Variations – ternary patterns for insomnia.

We welcome back the phenomenally successful production of Complicite‘s The Encounter, directed and performed by Simon McBurney. And Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui from Bergium and Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon from Japan present the UK premiere of Pluto based on the iconic mange series Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka.

Boy Blue also presents A Night with Boy Blue which sees more than fifty performers present an empowering showcase followed by a BSI Jam: Beats, Streets & Inspiration after the Saturday night show.

Throughout 2018 the Barbican presents The Art of Change season which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape. Find out more about our productions that celebrate The Art of Change.

Read the full theatre press release in our newsroom.