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In April, the acclaimed Cheek By Jowl Company will return to present Declan Donnellan’s production of “Ubu Roi” by Alfred Jarry in the Silk Street Theatre. This play was banned after its first performance in 1896 because of its bad language and disrespect for authority which caused a huge scandal.

Robert Wilson’s theatrical interpretation of John Cage’s 1959 “Lecture on Nothing” will be performed in February 2013 with music by Arno. Robert Wilson will himself perform this work by John Cage who died in 1992 and was an artistic pioneer whose work can now be seen through the different prism of such a season as “Dancing Around Duchamp”.

Watt Photo © Jeff Clarke

audiences to explore the different threads that connect them to Eugene Ionesco, Alfred Jarry and Robert Rauscenberg, amongst others.

Lecture on Nothing Photo

©Wonge Bergmann / Ruhrtriennale, 2012

The Art Gallery’s major exhibition “The Bride and The Bachelors” is organised together with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The heart of the exhibition will include two unique dance productions, one by the Rambert Dance Company presenting Merce Cunningham’s “Rain Forest” and the second by Richard Alston’s Dance Company performing “Events”.

The Duchamp season in the theatre will include a rare opportunity to see Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros” by Theatre de la Ville from 14 February, which I last saw at the Royal Court in 1960 with Laurence Olivier. This is one of the major absurdist plays of the last century depicting one man’s struggle against his colleagues who are all turning into rhinoceroses leaving him isolated. This will be followed on 26 February by Samuel Beckett’s “Watt” from the Gate Theatre, Dublin. This tells an extraordinary story of fierce humour and pathos.

It is difficult to ignore the enormous success of the Rain Room at the Art Gallery which together with two new cinemas opening proves that this extensive work ensures that the Barbican is a true centre for the Arts. In various places internationally one can find a theatre, a concert hall, a cinema and an art gallery on the same site. But this does not make it an Arts Centre. Thus, the Barbican is unique in having an overall integrated arts policy and programming.

The two new cinemas are opening with a six-week celebration of films connected with other work at the Barbican. “Step Into The Dark” will include twelve films complementing the work of artists from Mike Leigh to Declan Donnellan as well as rare footage of jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis. Finally, one’s diary should include a rare visit from Laurie Anderson with the visionary Kronos Quartet in the European Premiere of their first-ever collaboration appearing in the Barbican’s Spring Season. All this proves that the 1.5 million people attending Barbican events each year more than accounts for the investment provided by the City of London.


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