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The Barbican - June 2018 highlights

June preview

THE Barbican highlights for June 2018 include:

Boy Blue Entertainment – A Night with Boy Blue – in the Barbican Theatre on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2.

A Night with Boy Blue sees more than a hundred performers present an empowering showcase. Pumping music and intricate choreographic formations of impressive precision build to create an infectious atmosphere.

Boy Blue’s founders Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante continue to inspire and mentor the next generation of dancers in the training room. Ground-breaking choreography, original compositions and incredible young artists highlight the calibre of talent emerging from the company that has been at the forefront of presenting hip-hop as an art form in its own right.

A Night with Boy Blue is followed by a BSI Jam: Beats, Streets & Inspiration after the Saturday night show where Asante and guests play their favourite tunes.

Rhiannon Faith – Smack That (a conversation) – in The Pit from Tuesday, June 12 to Saturday, June 16.

Endlessly inventive choreographer and theatre-maker Rhiannon Faith shines a light on the complex subject of domestic abuse in Smack That (a conversation), an empowering and participatory performance highlighting human resilience. Smack That (a conversation) is part of the Barbican’s 2018 season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Beverly is having a party and the audience are her guests. There are games, drinks, shared conversation, energetic dance and heart-breaking moments as she bravely gives a raw and honest account of surviving an abusive relationship.

Each member of the all-female cast, a close-knit group of non-performers and dance artists, fearlessly takes on the persona of Beverly to convey turbulent, real experiences. The unusual setting creates a safe space for them to reveal the challenges they have faced and celebrate their endurance. Faith’s work with a support group at charity Safer Places underpins this show, which seeks to raise social consciousness around domestic abuse by supporting women to talk about their experiences openly.

Smack That (a conversation) has been developed through the Barbican’s Open Lab programme, which supports the development of emerging artists, giving practitioners the chance to experiment in a working theatrical space. Smack That (a conversation) will be published by Oberon in June 2018 and during the month of November 2018 Rhiannon Faith and Oberon will waive the rights for groups to perform the work and fundraise for women’s groups, charities and refuges.

To coincide with the arrival of Smack That (a conversation) in London, the Barbican is becoming a J9 venue. This national initiative aims to provide safe and secure opportunities for people to disclose domestic abuse and access a full support system. J9 venues display pink J9 stickers in their windows, signalling to the public that it is safe to talk. Staff at each J9 contact point are trained to signpost, advise and spot the signs of domestic abuse. Each venue has a safe place where people can access information and use a phone to call for further help.

LIFT 2018: Back to Back Theatre – Lady Eats Apple – in the Barbican Theatre from Thursday, June 14 to Saturday, June 16.

Lady Eats Apple is a tale of creation and destruction in which the epic and every day, mythic and mundane coexist. The audience enters an inflatable universe in which binaural sound design and visuals are used to ingenious effect.

Adam and Eve join an insecure God in a dark paradise, as He creates the world hoping for a little worship. But when temptation takes over, man and woman are expelled into a timeless landscape before this story of immense vulnerability, of tenderness and redemption, resumes in more familiar terrain.

One of the most exciting companies in contemporary theatre today, Australia’s Back to Back is driven by an ensemble of actors with perceived learning disabilities who are co-authors and performers of the work.

Lady Eats Apple is a large-scale, experiential production that exposes the fragility of existence while challenging the assumptions people hold about themselves and others.

Lady Eats Apple is part of LIFT 2018, a London-wide festival of international performance taking place throughout June and part of the Barbican’s 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

The Wooster Group – The Town Hall Affair, based on the film Town Bloody Hall by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker – in the Barbican Theatre from Thursday, June 21 to Sunday, June 24.

The Barbican presents the UK premiere of The Wooster Group’s The Town Hall Affair. The mixed-media piece from New York’s iconic theatre company channels a raucous debate on gender equality that still reverberates today. The Town Hall Affair is also part of the Barbican’s 2018 season, The Art of Change.

In 1971, an audience of literary heavyweights gathered at Town Hall in New York for a discussion – A Dialogue on Women’s Liberation – in which American novelist Norman Mailer moderated a panel including the prominent feminists Germaine Greer and Diana Trilling and the radical lesbian Jill Johnston. The occasion was documented in Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s 1979 film Town Bloody Hall.

The Town Hall Affair, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, features extended clips from the film, and revisits that explosive night by framing it from the point of view of Jill Johnston who disrupted the panel and wrote about the experience later in her book Lesbian Nation. Enver Chakartash, Ari Fliakos, Greg Mehrten, Erin Mullin, Scott Shepherd, Maura Tierney and Kate Valk play the real-life participants from the film onstage.

The Town Hall Affair draws on experimental theatre techniques to delve into the revolutionary fervour of 1970s’ feminist thinking, and is a timely look at how the struggle for gender equality has evolved, nearly 50 years after the landmark debate.

Following the performance on Friday, June 22, there is a post-show talk with members of the company, chaired by host of The Guilty Feminist podcast, Deborah Frances-White.

The film, Town Bloody Hall, upon which The Town Hall Affair is based, is screened at the Barbican on Saturday, June 23 at 4pm, to coincide with The Wooster Group’s London performances.

LIFT 2018: Taylor Mac – A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act – in the Barbican Theatre from Thursday, June 28 to Saturday, June 30.

This June, the Barbican brings Taylor Mac’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act to the Theatre as part of LIFT 2018. Taylor Mac reframes the social history of America through three decades of song in this no-holds-barred extravaganza of music, art, activism and entertaining mass ritual. A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act is also part of the 2018 Season, The Art of Change.

Joined onstage by a 24-piece orchestra and a host of special guests drawn from London’s own performance community, New York’s Taylor Mac has created a once-in-a-lifetime performance in a quest to chronicle how communities grow stronger as they are being torn apart.

Charting the years 1776–1806, Mac asks the audience to conspire with him to reimagine rebellions, revolutions, triumphs and tragedies. Pub song sing-alongs and subversive anthems are rearranged as musical mash-ups to take on a chapter of the defining early years of America’s history. Exquisite costumes and headdresses by Machine Dazzle change throughout the performance to evoke each decade.

May highlights.

For more information, visit www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/theatre-dance.