Barbican Rakes in £3.3m with Festival FirstsDate: 6 November 1998
The Barbican has declared its inaugural staging of BITE:98, an international theatre event due to become an annual fixture at the Centre, a success. According to figures just released, the 22-week season averaged 60% ticket sales for its diverse programme of opera, dance, drama and musical theatre, which showcased 14 UK premieres and four London premieres, attracting 80,000 patrons and taking £1m at the box office.
In addition, the Barbican's £3m year-long Inventing America festival, now entering its final months, has attracted 54% first time bookers, with concerts averaging 72% attendance including 20 sell-outs to date. Though events continue until the end of January, the box office has already taken £2.3m.
Barbican managing director John Tusa commented: 'Over the last three years, we have been steadily re-positioning the Barbican from an overwhelmingly 'classical' venue, heavily reliant on our prestitigious resident companies (the Royal Shakespeare Company and the London Symphony Orchestra), to a venue with a broad range of contemporary work, a challenging theatre season that has brough back international theatre on a large scale to Britain, and an ability to mount cross-arts festivals in a way that no one else can or does. The Barbican Centre has become a major promoter and commissioner of new and experimental works, attracting new and younger audiences as a result.'
The Barbican's BITE:99 programme will feature a three-week Beckett Festival in September. Run in conjunction with the Gate Theatre, Dublin, the Festival will mark the first time that the full canon of Samuel Beckett's 19 plays will be performed in the UK. Other highlights will include a collaboration with LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) for two productions; London premieres of Decoufle's DCA in Shazam! and Calixto Bieito's production of Calderon's Life is a Dream, a hit at this year's Edinburgh Festival; the UK premiere of the multimedia Moby Dick and Other Stories composed and directed by Laurie Anderson; and the return of Russia's Maly Drama Theatre as part of a St Petersburg Festival which will run April to June 1999.
For further information, check out the Barbican web site.