Posted on 24 May 2011

The Barbican theatre today announced it's programme to celebrate it's 30th anniversary next year and as part of the London 2012 Festival celebrating the Olympic Games in London.  The exciting line up includes Oscar winning actresses Cate Blanchett and Juliette Binoche in two separate projects.

Cate Blanchett who along with her husband is the artistic director for the Sydney Theatre Company will star in a new version of the German 1978 play by Botho Strauss, Gross und Klein, by British playwright Martin Crimp, in her first London stage performance for 13 years.  The surreal piece will open at the venue on 14 April 2012 (previews from 13 April) and run to 29 April as part of the London 2012 Festival. Directed by Luc Bondy, the production takes audiences down rabbit hole following Blanchett on an Alice in Wonderland-like adventure through a sequence of scenes, searching for human connection.

Cate Blanchett has been Co-Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company since 2008 alongside Andrew Upton. Her roles on stage include performing in Sydney Theatre Company's Uncle Vanya, Hedda Gabler for which she won the Ibsen Centennial Award, Helpmann Award and the MO Award for Best Actress; Richard II in the celebrated Sydney Theatre Company production of The War of The Roses; and Blanche Du Bois in Tennessee Williams’ A Street Car Named Desire which travelled to much acclaim from Sydney to Washington and New York and for which she received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress in a non-resident production.  Cate’s work in film includes Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth and The Golden Age, Daisy in David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Katherine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, Bob Dylan in I’m Not There and Sheba in Notes on a Scandal alongside Judy Dench. She also featured in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and most recently starred opposite Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. In 2011, she will star in Joe Wright’s political thriller Hanna.

Juliette Binoche will be acting in her native French language when she takes to the Barbican stage in September for her role in August Strindberg’s Mademoiselle Julie.  This will be the first time since 2008 that Binoche has been on a London stage.  Frédéric Fisbach’s contemporary and striking re-imagining of Mademoiselle Julie is an intimate drama about a woman longing to escape the ties imposed by her position as the daughter of a Count, which sees the tragedy of the three main protagonists unfold under the watch of a chorus of local community actors.

Juliette Binoche has appeared in more than 40 feature films, been recipient of numerous international accolades, is a published author and has appeared on stage across the world.  Her last appearance on stage in London saw Binoche starring in a theatrical dance production titled in-i co-created with renowned choreographer Akram Khan. The show, a love story told through dance and dialogue, featured stage design by Anish Kapoor and music by Philip Sheppard. It premiered at the National Theatre in London before embarking on a world tour.

As part of the newly announced season The Barbican will also present a major new work by Complicite, directed by Simon McBurney, and You Me Bum Bum Train, co-commissioned by the Theatre Royal Stratford East, will make a return to a found space in East London.

The first ever UK performances of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’ 1976 production Einstein on the Beach, will be staged at the Barbican from 4 to 13 May. A rarely performed , opera in four acts, it has not received a major production in 20 years, and will now embark on an international tour which begins in spring 2012.  In addition, the Barbican embarks on its previously announced "unprecedented" celebration of Pina Bausch with a 10-work season presented in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells. Also presented as part of the London 2012 Festival the works will be performed from 6 June to 9 July 2012.

The finale of the Cultural Olympiad, the London 2012 Festival will be a 12-week UK-wide cultural celebration that opens on 21 June 2012, Midsummer's Day, and runs until the last day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012. The Festival will provide an outstanding summer of arts and creativity in the UK.

Cate Blanchett, Toni Morrison, Olafur Eliasson, David Hockney, Mike Leigh, Jude Law and Damon Albarn, Rufus Norris and Jamie Hewlett head the line-up of artists featured in the first group of commissions.They will come together to give everyone the opportunity to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation – leaving a lasting legacy for the arts in the UK.

Currently for this summer showing at the Barbican is the ever popular classic Rogers & Hammerstein musical, South Pacific which is booking from 15th August to 1st October.  The production comes from the Lincoln Centre on Broadway where it won 7 Tony Awards.

Book South Pacific tickets online now.

[posted by Louise, 24/05/2011]