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Juliette Binoche in Mademoiselle Julie at the Barbican Theatre (Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage Festival d’Avignon)

Juliette Binoche in Mademoiselle Julie at the Barbican Theatre (Photo: Christophe Raynaud de Lage Festival d'Avignon)

Juliette Binoche leads Barbican Antigone

Published May 8, 2014

Juliette Binoche will take the lead role in a new production of Antigone, directed by Ivo Van Hove, which opens at the Barbican Theatre next March.

BAFTA and Academy Award winner Binoche returns to the Barbican’s stage following her debut at the venue in 2012’s Mademoiselle Julie. The French actress, who can currently be seen on the big screen in A Thousand Times Goodnight and boasts leads in numerous other film roles including The English Patient and Chocolat, made her London stage debut in Naked at the Almeida Theatre in 1998. She has since notched up a string of theatre credits including her Tony Award nominated performance in Betrayal on Broadway and collaborative dance piece in-i at the National Theatre.

Translated by TS Eliot Prize-winning poet Anne Carson, Sophocles’ classic play tells the story of the title character, whose dead brother, condemned as a traitor, is denied the right to a burial and left unburied on the battlefield. Defying her governing uncle, Antigone puts personal allegiance over politics and goes ahead with her brother’s funeral, an act that will eventually lead to her own demise.

The production is directed by Van Hove, whose acclaimed production of A View From The Bridge starring Mark Strong and Nicola Walker is currently playing at the Young Vic. The Belgian director returns to the Barbican Theatre following his work on six-hour Shakespeare epic Roman Tragedies and his 2013 production of Scenes From A Marriage.

Talking about working with Binoche for the first time, the director said: “While searching for a play for our first collaboration, Juliette and I very quickly agreed that Antigone would be the right artistic challenge for both of us. The play itself has the explosiveness of a nuclear bomb. It deals with all possible relationships: man against woman, political against ethical leadership, the laws of society against the right of the individual, family and its unbreakable blood ties.”

Antigone, which is produced in collaboration with Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg and Toneelgroep Amsterdam, will receive its world premiere at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg in February 2015 before making its UK debut at the Barbican Theatre next March.

Binoche’s forthcoming role in Antigone adds to what is becoming a star-studded 2015 season for the Barbican Theatre. The actress joins Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, who will take to the venue’s stage to play the title role in Lyndsey Turner’s production of Hamlet next summer.

Tickets for Antigone go on sale on 16 May. Full casting for the production is still to be announced.

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