Bite highlights Bite Barbican International Theatre Events is the
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Bite highlights 2008/2009 Bite (Barbican International Theatre Events) is the Barbican’s programme of international performance in the Barbican Theatre, the Pit and beyond, launched in 1998 as a six-month season and becoming year-round in 2002. 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of bite and over the last 10 years the programme has enriched the international performance scene in London and achieved a national and international reputation as a leader in its field with many productions winning major awards. The core purpose of bite is to bring world-class culture to a world-class city. Since its inception bite has established and nurtured relationships with leading international artists and companies and many have returned to the Barbican several times. In addition, bite has enabled new and young international artists and companies to visit London for the first time. Since bite became year-round its remit has expanded to include work from established UK artists and companies with international reputations. They complement the diversity of the programme and add to its reach. It has also encouraged and promoted new and experimental work by artists and companies based in the UK. As the world’s focus shifts to East London in the run up to the 2012 Olympics and the games encourage people to celebrate the diverse cultural diaspora in London, bite celebrates the international in the local by becoming more outward looking with particular emphasis on the area to the east of its walls and the City. Bite also further develops its partnerships with other organisations creating a powerful network and enabling the co-financing and co-production of projects. This September, the Brazilian cultural group AfroReggae, from the favelas of Rio, returns to the Barbican Theatre with a newly commissioned show, Favelization (Thursday 25 – Saturday 27 September 2008). Favelization forms part of the Cultural Olympiad launch weekend (Friday 26 – Sunday 28 September) and on Friday 26 September tickets for the performance are completely free and lucky recipients are East London community partners that the Barbican works with throughout the year. Favelization is also part of CREATE08, a new summer festival managed by the five Olympic host boroughs. In addition, AfroReggae participates in the Mayor of London’s 4th annual Open Rehearsal (Saturday 27 September) by allowing the public access to its warm-up and rehearsal prior to the evening performance of Favelization. AfroReggae was first introduced to the Barbican by Paul Heritage, Artistic Director of People’s Palace Projects – Queen Mary, University of London. Bite then commissioned the group to create From The Favela to the World for the Barbican Theatre in 2006. The show was a sell-out success and returned to bite the following year. In conjunction with its return, the AfroReggae UK Partnership was formed by the Barbican and People’s Palace Projects and current partners are: Barbican Education; Bigga Fish; Guildhall School of Music and Drama; Shoreditch Trust; The Learning Trust; Theatre Royal Stratford East; Asian Dub Foundation Education; Metropolitan Black Police Association and Contact Manchester. This six-year project to engage communities in East London, Manchester and extending to Newcastle aims to promote AfroReggae’s inspirational vision for young people to strengthen themselves using culture as a weapon to tackle gun crime. Performances by these AfroReggae UK Groups have been showcased at the Barbican during the Do Something Different Weekend as part of this year’s East festival (March 2008), at Stokefest (June 2008) and in local schools. To coincide with AfroReggae’s return to the Barbican this September, the AfroReggae UK Groups showcase their latest skills as part of the performance on 26 September. The relationship with AfroReggae is ongoing and plans include staging free outdoor performances from the band as part of future East and CREATE festivals and providing performance platforms for the AfroReggae UK Groups. People’s Palace Productions is a Barbican Artistic Associate and in 2008 became an Arts Council Regularly Funded Organisation. In October, the bite co-production and undisputed hit of last year, A Disappearing Number by Complicite returns to the Barbican Theatre (10 October –1 November) and tours internationally in the wake of numerous prizes including an Olivier Award for Best New Play. This is the fifth time the company has performed in bite. ../.. Its first production at the Barbican was the bite co-commission The Noise of Time with the Emerson String Quartet in 2001. In 2003, the Barbican co-commissioned an adaptation of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s three short stories taken from his cult novel The Elephant Vanishes, which was performed in Japanese with English surtitles. The show was a smash hit and returned the following year. In 2007, the Barbican co-produced A Disappearing Number based on the true-life collaborations between an Indian mathematical genius and a Cambridge don. Early next year Complicite’s newest Japanese work Shun-kin makes its European premiere at the Barbican. Inspired by two texts by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, A Portrait of Shunkin and In Praise of Shadows this sensual, devised production explores the many shades of darkness and light in human relationships. Shun-kin is a Complicite, bite and Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo co-production. The Noise of Time, The Elephant Vanishes, A Disappearing Number and Shun-kin perfectly reflect the cross-arts, international and UK emphasis of the bite programme. This year, Barbican Artistic Associate Cheek by Jowl completed three years of work in the Barbican Theatre. Each year, since 2006, work from the company’s Russian repertoire has been presented alongside new English-language productions (including Cymbeline, for which Tom Hiddleston won an Olivier Award for Best Newcomer) and this work has toured nationally and internationally. In 2008 the company became an Arts Council Regularly Funded Organisation. The relationship with the Barbican now continues for three more years, but instead of performing in a purpose built space in the Barbican Theatre, Cheek by Jowl performs in the Guildhall School’s Silk Street Theatre, next to the Barbican Centre. A door between the two buildings that has been closed for many years will open to enable audiences to reach the theatre through the Barbican Centre. In a reciprocal arrangement, Guildhall actors use the Pit for their degree performances during this time. The first Cheek by Jowl work to be presented in this space is the UK premiere of its French-language Andromaque (April 2009) by Jean Racine. In future years, Cheek by Jowl performs new work from its English-language and Russian companies. Last year bite began a relationship with Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE) when the two organisations collaborated to bring Back to Back Theatre from Australia to Stratford Station with small metal objects. TRSE also joined the AfroReggae UK Partnership. The relationship between the Barbican and TRSE was further strengthened when bite revived its hit reggae musical The Harder They Come which played in the Barbican Theatre and subsequently transferred to the West End. In 2009 (March) bite again revives a TRSE success, Boy Blue’s Pied Piper, which won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate Theatre. Most recently TRSE has invited bite to become one of the partners in the International Festival for Emerging Artists (IFEA) which brings together the next generation of artists from around the world to share their work and exchange ideas both with each other and with local people. Bite artists and companies offer their expertise to festival participants who are also given access to bite events. Through mutual engagement and support these emerging artists could be part of future bite programmes. Next year bite presents three artists/companies in the second SPILL Festival of Performance. The inaugural festival, which took place in venues around London in April 2007, was an enormous success and the cross arts and international approach makes SPILL a perfect partner for bite reflecting its own ambitions. In its first year SPILL effectively established itself as part of the international festival circuit providing a platform for experimental work, live art and performance with an international focus. The collaboration between bite and SPILL has led to the joint commission of the extraordinarily ambitious trilogy Inferno; Purgatorio and Paradiso, freely inspired by The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri created by Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio from Italy and directed by Romeo Castellucci. These works, co-produced by many prestigious international organisations, take place in the Barbican Theatre and Guildhall School’s Silk Street Theatre in March and April. Also present as part of SPILL is Needcompany from Brussels, which performs in London for the first time with The Porcelain Project (April) in Guildhall School’s Silk Street Theatre. Robert Pacitti, the founder of SPILL, also brings his company’s piece A Forest to the Pit (April). Future bite plans include new work by some of the greats of international theatre: Peter Brook, Deborah Warner, Robert Lepage, Merce Cunningham, Michael Clark (who becomes a Barbican Artistic Associate for a further three years and presents a new bite commission and co-production in 2009), Yukio Ninagawa and James Thiérrée in 2009 and beyond. For further information and images please contact Angela Dias, Media Relations Manager – bite, 020 7382 7168, firstname.lastname@example.org Ella Minton, Media Relations Assistant – bite, 020 7638 4141 ext.7728, email@example.com.