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The Barbican Centre (Photo: Max Colson)

Taylor Mac’s 24 hour show in new Barbican season

By Robin Johnson, Published November 1, 2017

The Barbican has this morning announced its January to July 2018 Theatre and Dance season, with Taylor Mac’s 24 hour-long music show A 24-Decade History Of Popular Music: The First Act part of a programme which features live music prominently.

Playing as part of LIFT 2018, Mac’s epic show aims to reframe the social history of America through three decades of music, featuring over 246 songs, some original and some pre-existing, and around thirteen hours of original text. The incredible experience makes its European premiere from 28-30 June 2018.

Other highlights include The Royal Opera’s production of Coraline (29 March – 7 April), based on Neil Gaiman’s much-loved story of a girl who discovers a door in her parents’ home which leads to a fantasy world, and Barry Humphries presenting his Weimar Cabaret (11 – 29 July) – a risqué, sophisticated and seductive tribute to the jazz-infused music of the Weimar Republic, featuring Meow Meow and Aurora Orchestra.

There is another chance to see the The Royal Ballet’s Elizabeth (16-19 May), starring its former Principal Zenaida Yanowsky, as well as the phenomenally successful production of Complicité’s The Encounter (14 April – 5 May), directed and performed by Simon McBurney and inspired by Petru Popescu’s novel Amazon Beaming.

2018 starts with London International Mime Festival (performances of shows take place from 16 January – 3 February). The Barbican welcomes back Olivier Award-winning Belgian company Peeping Tom with the UK premiere of Mother (Moeder), which explores the archetypal matriarchal figure, and welcomes for the first time Toneelhuis/FC Bergman with the UK premiere of 300 El x 50 El x 30 El, which follows the inhabitants of a small village community gripped by the fear of an impending flood.

Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black appears twice in this season, with Double Bill (15-17 March) which features a stage version of The Suit, inspired by Can Themba’s novel, and Portuguese choreographer Arthur Pita restaging A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dancers from Ballet Black then appear in Viviana Durante Company’s homage to Kenneth MacMillan, Steps Back In Time (18 – 21 April), accompanied by dancers from The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet.

Other highlights see Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui from Belgium and Bunkamura Theatre Cocoon from Japan present the UK premiere of Pluto (8 – 11 February), based on the iconic manga series Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka, while Cheek by Jowl presents its first Shakespeare production in the French language: Pericles (Périclès, Prince De Tyr), directed by Declan Donnellan and playing from 6 – 21 April.

The season also features the UK premiere of The Second Violinist (6 – 8 September) by Ireland’s Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera, a modern opera written and directed by Enda Walsh and composed by Donnacha Dennehy, that tells the foreboding story of a life falling apart, and Picnic At Hanging Rock (21 – 24 February), a retelling of Joan Lindsay’s cult 1967 novel by Malthouse Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company.

For more information about the new season, please visit the Barbican website.