CriticalDance Forum

London's Barbican Centre
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Feb 26, 2002 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  London's Barbican Centre

A rarely seen grandeur

When it opened, the Barbican, a combination of arts venues and apartments, attracted severe criticism. But, 20 years on, attitudes have changed - and so has the Barbican. Norman Lebrecht and Giles Worsley reassess the controversial concrete colossus Classic British triumph over self-made adversity.

IT is always a mistake to judge a performing space when new. It takes time for the acoustics to settle and longer still for the hall to find a place in the public's affections. Twenty years is about right - a milestone that the Barbican Centre has just passed, modestly and with a minimum of pomp.<BR> <BR>The Barbican has much to be modest about. Built from a hole in the ground with materials that looked obsolescent by opening night, the arts centre's layout proved more convoluted than the Hampton Court maze, and its concert hall resounded in pp passages to the noise of car exhausts and loo-flushings.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Mar 03, 2002 8:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: London's Barbican Centre

Good old Barbican
By Martin Kettle for The Guardian

London's Barbican Centre was the Millennium Bridge of its day. Britain's first - and still this country's only - fully integrated arts centre attracted massive media attention when it first opened its doors 20 years ago this month. And it had an electrifying impact on London audiences. So much so that every time anyone touched one of its metal handrails in those early days, they recoiled with the kind of short, sharp shock that the home secretary of the day, Willie Whitelaw, was busily trying to dole out to young offenders.

The electric banisters were sorted out, but the instant repairs were a warning of things to come. Few buildings in Britain can have been as persistently tinkered with over the years as the Barbican. The concert hall, in particular, feels as if it has been work in progress for large parts of the past two decades.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed May 15, 2002 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: London's Barbican Centre

Barbican fills gap left by the RSC
By Angelique Chrisafis from The Guardian

The Barbican centre last night announced an ambitious season of international theatre, dance and opera premieres to fill the gap left by the crisis-hit Royal Shakespeare Company, but said it was in negotiations for the RSC to return next year. <P>The central London arts centre, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year, was deserted by the RSC last month after having provided two custom-built theatres as a London home for the Stratford company since 1982. The Barbican's management yesterday suggested the RSC could return for a run next year, adding "the ball is in their court".

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Feb 23, 2003 3:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: London's Barbican Centre

Some news of cutting edge collaborations between artists from different disciplines:


Friday 25 April 2003
Michael Clark
Would, Should, Can, Did

Barbican Centre, London

For this premiere, Clark will work with artists from a range of disciplines to create seven artistic experiments. In this special one-off event Clark will collaborate and perform with visual artists Sarah Lucas and Cerith Wyn Evans, musician Susan Stenger, and fashion designer Hussein Chalayan.

More info:


Tuesday 18 March 2003
Counter Phrases
with Ictus Ensemble & Rosas Dance Company

Barbican Centre, London

A collaboration between innovative choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, composer and film-maker Thierry de Mey and ten of the world's leading composers.

The Barbican presents the Uk Premiere of this project, performed live by the trailblazing contemporary music group Ictus Ensemble.

For more info:

<small>[ 23 February 2003, 04:20 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat May 14, 2005 6:52 am ]
Post subject: 

The Barbican has become a significant venue for dance, hosting Merce Cunningham and others:

Tusa to stay at Barbican until 2007
By Alistair Smith for The Stage

John Tusa, managing director of the Barbican Centre, has announced that he will stay at the venue until August 2007 to oversee the completion of current refurbishment work and help celebrate the building’s 25th birthday in March of that year.

He had been due to retire from his post, which he has held since 1995, in March, 2006. However, Tusa has been persuaded to sign an 18-month extension to his contract by the Corporation of London, which owns, funds and manages the Barbican.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

Fortune favours the brave - John Tusa and The Barbican
By Alistair Smith for The Stage

With artistic director Graham Sheffield, John Tusa has rescued the Barbican from its previous plight. The key is taking risks and being dynamic, he tells Alistair Smith

Sitting high up in his Barbican office and sipping on a cup of lemon tea, John Tusa exudes an air of calm confidence which is reflected by the arts centre surrounding him.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:45 am ]
Post subject: 

Barbican turnover nears £11m in triumphant year
By Alistair Smith for The Stage

Flagship London arts venue the Barbican Centre has enjoyed its most financially successful year in at least a decade, according to managing director John Tusa.

Turnover for 2005 was up 10.25% on the previous year, with box office takings nearly hitting £11 million by the end of December. The centre also enjoyed its most successful Christmas period since Tusa took over the running of the site in 1995.

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