The Wrestling School is presenting a mini-festival of new plays by Howard Barker at the Riverside Studios later this month, running from 29 April to 9 May 2010.

In Hurts Given and Received (29 April to 9 May), Barker re-examines the creative life of the artist. Billed as a "miniature epic adventure", it examines a poet compelled to sacrifice friends and lovers to fulfil the demands of his imagination in his obsessive pursuit of the perfect masterpiece.

The production is directed by Gerrard McArthur and the cast includes Jane Bertish (September), Issy Brazier-Jones (Sadovee 1&2), Suzy Cooper (Feltray), Alan Cox (Detriment & Stays), Nigel Hastings (Bulow & Rib), Mark Lewis (McNoy), Peter Marinker (Always & Umber), Penelope McGhie (Glive), Tom Riley (Bach).

In Slowly (1-9 May), which is directed by Hanna Berrigan, barbarians approach the palace of a decaying culture whilst four princesses debate their fate: to witness the destruction of all they know or to commit the expected suicide. However, in a culture of conformity, it may not be up to the individual to decide.

Howard Barker will direct a one-off rehearsed reading of his latest work, Wonder and Worship in the Dying Ward on 2 May. The ‘Wrestling with Barker’ workshop, which introduces the work of Barker and reveals the company’s approach to putting it on stage, on 6 May is another rare opportunity for Barker fans.

Since his first play was produced on Radio Four in 1969, Howard Barker has been one of the country’s most prolific writers – often described as an “enfant terrible” of modern British theatre – whose credits include 13 Objects, Cheek, Crimes in Hot Countries, Fair Slaughter, Gertrude, A Hard Heart, Scenes from an Execution, That Good Between Us, The Dying of Today and Victory.

- by Jude Offord