The Barbican Centre and international live entertainment business Trafalgar Entertainment today announce a new theatrical partnership covering the period 2024 – 2026. Together they will present first class, large-scale productions in the 1,200 seat Barbican Theatre over the next three summers, featuring major international talent. The new venture follows the success of Trafalgar’s smash hit musical Anything Goes (2021 and 2022, national television broadcast on BBC Two and global cinema screenings) and its UK premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway sensation A Strange Loop (2023) – both receiving excellent reviews. A Strange Loop is “An absolute blast. A dazzlingly clever multi-layered musical.” (Financial Times) receiving standing ovations every night and has just four more weeks before it closes on Saturday 9 September.
For several years, the Barbican has complemented its rich and varied international spring and autumn theatre programme with independent commercial production companies during its summer season, attracting large-scale and technically ambitious shows thanks to the Barbican Theatre’s epic dimensions. Highlights include Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet (2015, Sonia Friedman Productions) and Jesus Christ Superstar (2016, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).
The new collaboration with Trafalgar will enable the Barbican to further grow and diversify its audience, while continuing to collaborate with a wide range of other production partners throughout the rest of the year to produce work from all over the world, including for example presenting the Royal Shakespeare Company’s record-breaking production of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro, which returns to the Barbican Theatre for a limited run this Autumn (21 November to 23 March 2024).
Beyond the three summer seasons, the Barbican and Trafalgar Entertainment will also collaborate to commission and develop further live theatre events. These could be staged at the Barbican Centre, at other partner venues across the UK, or abroad, and with plans for international cinema broadcasts of these productions, through Trafalgar’s Live Broadcast company (Trafalgar Releasing). The longer-term collaboration will expand Trafalgar Entertainment’s and the Barbican’s ability to commission, develop and stage new shows.
Continuing with the Barbican Centre’s work to broaden access to the performing arts, the arrangement will also introduce a new work placement scheme to support the development of skills, experience and networking in backstage and technical roles. Potential placements include joining the team in Trafalgar Entertainments’ production office or one of their 18 venues to learn about commercial producing, while opportunities at the Barbican include shadowing key roles involved in the development projects and summer season productions.
Will Gompertz, Artistic Director at the Barbican, said:
“As London’s creative catalyst, we’re excited by the new dimension this partnership will bring to our rich and varied artistic programme. From the very beginning, collaboration has been in the Barbican’s DNA: our Concert Hall and Theatre were originally designed with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company respectively. The relationship with Trafalgar will combine the best of the Barbican with the scale and reach of the commercial theatre sector, putting the City of London firmly on the capital’s cultural map.
Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre & Dance at the Barbican, said:
We’re delighted to build on the relationship we’ve grown with Trafalgar Entertainment over the past three years. This exciting new collaboration will give us the opportunity to develop joyful, inspiring new work that reflects the world around us, while we maintain our important relationships with a wide range of other production partners that allow us to showcase artists from around the world to our audiences throughout the year.”
Sir Howard Panter, Trafalgar Entertainment joint Co-Founder and CEO, said:
“This innovative new three year partnership will allow for longer term planning of the premium productions we plan to bring to the Barbican’s stage and beyond, working with the best international creative talent, together with TE’s relationships with some of the world’s leading theatre institutions including the Lincoln Center Theater in New York and the National Theatre in the UK. TE also continues to expand its producing and theatre operations in Australia and into Asia and TE/Barbican productions will also be aimed at these exciting markets. After three very successful summer seasons since 2021, we are delighted to be continuing and developing our strong relationship with the Barbican through this new holistic partnership.”