The Barbican Arts Centre - the largest integrated arts centre in Europe, featuring all the art forms under one roof (and under one management) – has undergone a £14 million facelift and announced its 25th anniversary season, which will reflect its artistic exploration and development over the last quarter-century.

Festivities – in the form of “25 landmark events which embody the heart and spirit of the arts programme and showcase some of the most original and iconic artistic work” – are scheduled throughout 2007. Theatre highlights include: Russian productions of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (care of Cheek by Jowl -15 to 19 May) and Platonov (Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg - 12 to 18 March), the National Theatre of Iceland’s staging of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt; Ozmosis, a festival of Australian theatre (October/November); and a new work by Complicité inspired by the story of Indian mathematician Ramanujan, directed by Simon McBurney and featuring music by Nitin Sawhney (September).

The major renovation of the Barbican’s public spaces, which was unveiled yesterday, includes a new front entrance leading to the transformed foyer spaces, new box office and bar areas designed to make theatregoers feel more welcome. The project, which took three years to complete, was funded by the City of London Corporation.

Artistic director Graham Sheffield commented: “We are proud of our programme and our contribution to the arts in London and the UK. We are proud of our international profile, in commissioning and co-producing partnerships with arts centres, festivals, artists, and companies across the world from the favelas of Rio, through the Weiner Festwochen, to the Sydney Festival.

“Here at the Barbican, we do something different - our unique configuration of spaces and art forms give us a rare fluidity, and the ability to combine and juxtapose art forms in fresh, unconventional and illuminating ways. This is our defining characteristic and one which permeates the programme in our birthday year.”

On the 25th anniversary itself (3 March 2007), the London Symphony Orchestra will present a gala concert conducted by Sir Colin Davis. Dance, film and music events make up the complete schedule for 2007.

- by Caroline Ansdell