The drama centres on the inhabitants of a desolate castle as world war threatens. A government messenger confronts a bedridden poet and his mistresses, but is unable to leave, whilst aircraft pass overhead dropping poems. Passion and duty are contrasted with the brinkmanship of war, in a work which aims to study the "futility of will in the face of possession".
In the last three years, 27 of Barker's works have been staged in six languages in 17 countries, from Canada to Slovenia. Regarded on the European mainland as one of modern theatre's major writers, he has also written for radio and was cited as an influence by the late Sarah Kane. His other stage works include (Uncle) Vanya, He Stumbled, Scenes From An Execution and Hated Nightfall. Barker has also published a number of volumes of poetry and the collected essays Arguments For a Theatre.
The Wrestling School was established in 1988 by actors from the RSC and Royal Court teams. The troupe consists of actors, musicians, designers and directors who share a commitment to Barker’s work. It is an Arts Council of England funded company whose overseas tours are supported by The British Council. Past awards include TMA Best New Play and Manchester Evening News Best Actor (both for Hated Nightfall) and Merseyside Arts Best Actress (Kathryn Hunter for Scenes From An Execution).
A House of Correction is directed by Howard Barker. Following the Brighton dates, the production calls at London Riverside, Huddersfield, Liverpool, Plymouth and Sheffield.
- by Gareth Thompson