According to press material, the new season, which marks the Barbican's 30th year, “includes the programme of world-class events taking place as part of the London 2012 Festival when the eyes of the world will be on London for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Among the theatre highlights are the return of Simon McBurney and Complicite with a new English language adaptation of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (Barbican Theatre, 20 March to 7 April 2012, previews from 14 March). Paul Rhys and Sinead Matthews will join an ensemble cast of Complicite performers from many of the company's previous shows going back to The Street of Crocodiles.
Elsewhere, following their productions of The Changeling (2006) and The Duchess of Malfi (1995), Cheek by Jowl, led by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, return to Jacobean tragedy with a new production of John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, which is staged in the Silk Street Theatre from 21 February to 10 March (previews from 16 February).
Sydney Theatre Company lead the Barbican’s London 2012 season with Cate Blanchett, the company’s co-artistic director, in Benedict Andrews’ production of Gross und Klein (Big and Small) by Botho Strauss. This Barbican co-commission has a new English text by Martin Crimp and runs in the Barbican Theatre from 14 to 29 April (previews from 13 April).
First staged in 1978, Gross und Klein “whisks audiences down a rabbit hole” and into a curious Wonderland-like world where Lotte (Cate Blanchett) is always trying to fit in. Following a break-up with her husband, Lotte finds herself a stranger to her own society and embarks on a search for human connection and a quest for belonging.
In September, Juliette Binoche stars in August Strindberg’s Mademoiselle Julie, directed by Frédéric Fisbach. Co-commissioned by the Barbican and originally produced by the Festival d’Avignon, it’s a “French language modern-day take on the timeless themes of desire, love and the constraints of social convention”, re-imagined by Fisbach in a contemporary staging. Accompanied by a chorus formed from local groups, it runs in the Barbican Theatre from 20 to 29 September.
Other theatre highlights include two productions running as part of the RSC’s World Shakespeare Festivel: Desdemona ((Barbican Hall, 19 & 20 July), created by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Malian singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré; and the return of Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa with a new Japanese language production of Shakespeare's Cymbeline (Barbican Theatre, 29 May to 2 June).
And cult experiential theatre show You Me Bum Bum Train will return in summer 2012 to a building in Canary Wharf (exact location and dates to be confirmed) following its sell-out 2010 Barbican co-production.
For further details of the Barbican’s 2012 Theatre and Dance season, visit www.barbican.org.uk