Barbican July and August 2017 highlights
Barbican Art Gallery presents Trajal Harrell : Hoochie Koochie, the first ever performance exhibition of the New York-based choreographer and dancer Trajal Harrell. The exhibition is an ambitious project staging over 14 of Harrell’s performances in a changing, daily programme of live performances. Visitors can explore the immersive space, choosing their own route between performances and stage installations.

Taking place across the Centre, major exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction is a genre-defining exploration of one of popular culture’s most celebrated realms. Alongside the exhibition the Barbican hosts its first-ever outdoor, on-site cinema, which will screen classic science fiction movies 2001: A Space Odyssey, Tron and Gravity surrounded by the Centre’s dramatic architecture . Inside, Sci-Fi Sundays continue with O-bi , O-ba: The End of Civilization, Warning From Space and George Lucas’ directorial debut THX 1138 .

To celebrate Bella Union’s 20th birthday, Ezra Furman and Mercury Rev each play shows at the Barbican. Shubbak Festival returns with a double-bill, featuring Egyptian band Cairokee and Lebanese singer-songwriter and visual artist Tania Saleh. T he Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling make their only UK appearance and Laura Mvula performs with the London Symphony Orchestra . Reggae and ska legends Toots and the Maytals play classics from their back catalogue, and Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason bring their collaboration Music for Sólaris to the Barbican, with a video accompaniment by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson.

Ongoing season Cinema Matters looks at stars, scale and close-ups with screenings including The Incredible Shrinking Man, introduced by author Sarah Bakewell . Complementing Hoochie Koochie in the Art Gallery, the Barbican presents three films by or featuring other artists and performers whose work has informed Trajal Harrell’s own.

The Royal Shakespeare Company employs cutting edge technology in a bold reimagining of The Tempest, featuring Simon Russell Beale as Prospero.


Trajal Harrell: Hoochie Koochie
A performance exhibition

Every Thursday to Sunday; 20 – 23 July; 27 – 30 July; 3 – 6 Aug; 10 – 13 Aug 2017
Thu & Fri: 2pm – 9pm; Sat & Sun: 12pm – 6pm
Media View, Wed 19 Jul, 10am – 1pm

This summer, Barbican Art Gallery presents the first ever performance exhibition of the New York-based choreographer and dancer Trajal Harrell. Following a two year residency at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014–2016), this ambitious project stages over 14 of Harrell’s performances including one of the earliest works he created in 1999, right through to now in a changing, daily programme of live performances. The Art Gallery will be transformed into a space where performances, featuring a selection of different dancers, some including Harrell himself, are scheduled to activate at certain points with film projections elsewhere. Visitors can explore the immersive space, choosing their own route between performances and stage installations.

The selection of works for the exhibition reflect Harrell’s experiments with dance and exploration of diverse dance forms from Japanese butoh dancing to hoochie koochie, postmodern and modern dance, Classical Greek dancing, erotic dancing, voguing and entertainment, alongside his signature use of fashion runway movement, to create performances that are an exquisite blend of fact and fiction. He imagines how historical scenarios could have happened differently and in doing so is able to explore ideas around emotion, the body, gender, femininity and culture.

Events include a high drama performance from Trajal Harrell's seminal series Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church , Vogue-Chi , a movement therapy that mixes the principals of Tai-Chi and voguing and late night voguing event Trajal Harrell: London is Burning celebrating London’s burgeoning voguing scene with performances from international superstars Mister Eric Wallace and Kiddy Smiles

CINEMA: Three Looks with Trajal Harrell
Tue 25 July –Tue 8 Aug 2017, Cinema 2
Complementing the exhibition , the Barbican presents three films by or featuring other artists and performers whose work has informed his own. Includes screenings of Lives of Performers (1972) by Yvonne Rainer, founding member of the legendary Judson Dance Theater ; Mr O’s Book of the Dead (1973) from experimental filmmaker Chiaki Nagano and choreographer Kazuo Ohno; and Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together (1997).

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Cairokee / Tania Saleh
Sat 1 Jul 2017, Barbican Hall, 8pm
Shubbak Festival – a window on contemporary Arab culture – returns to the Barbican with a double-bill, featuring Egyptian five-piece band Cairokee and Lebanese singer-songwriter and visual artist Tania Saleh. Both will be celebrating the songs of the modern Middle East, reflecting the social and political turmoil experienced in their regions and the world today. In the opening set, Tania Saleh mixes traditional styles such as tarab, mawwal and dabke with folk, alternative rock, bossa nova and jazz. Saleh has released four albums to date and many of her songs have been used in television and radio programmes and film soundtracks worldwide. The second set sees a performance by Cairokee, featuring their trademark mix of rock, rap and traditional Egyptian sounds as well as new material from their upcoming album..

Produced by the Barbican in association with Marsm
Part of Shubbak : A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture runs 1-16 July 2017.

Ezra Furman: That’s When It Hit Me
+ Broen
Thu 13 Jul 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm
Mercury Rev with Royal Northern Sinfonia
+ Lowly
Fri 14 Jul 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

To celebrate Bella Union’s 20th birthday , American musician and songwriter Ezra Furman and guests will present an evening of vicious songs, bold experiments and bizarre epiphanies. Following the release in July 2015 of Perpetual Motion People via Bella Union to great critical acclaim, Ezra put out a 6 track EP entitled Big Fugitive Life , which he dedicated to refugees of all kinds, all over the world. Up and coming Norwegian five-piece Broen support.
On Friday 14 July, American Indie rock band Mercury Rev will be joined on stage by Simon Raymonde and the Royal Northern Sinfonia for an intimate orchestral performance of music from across their catalogue. Mercury Rev’s eighth studio album, The Light In You , was released by Bella Union in Autumn 2015, marking a return to critical prominence for a band whose ability to deliver majestic and intensely personal sweeps of sound has never faltered and who routinely feature on “best of” lists. The concert will encompass rare and first time song performances alongside selections from their legendary back catalogue – all delivered with the Rev's trademark widescreen arrangements and their iconic flair for the modern fairytale. Supporting Mercury Rev are Danish purveyors of noise pop Lowly.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Bella Union
Part of Bella Union 20

Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling
Sun 16 Jul 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

In this special Barbican date and their only UK performance , the Branford Marsalis Quartet – saxophonist and band leader Branford Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo , bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner – share their freewheeling and joyous take on the jazz tradition with the voice of one of today’s most gifted vocalists, Kurt Elling. Together, they perform songs from their collaborative album Upward Spiral – one of the landmark jazz recordings of 2016 – ranging from Gershwin to Sting to Antonio Carlos Jobim, alongside original songs from Marsalis and Elling themselves.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Serious

Laura Mvula
+ London Symphony Orchestra

Fri 21 Jul 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Following her April 2013 Barbican programme debut at the London Edition of Other Voices festival at Wilton’s Music Hall, soulful vocalist Laura Mvula returns this July. She teams up with the Barbican’s Resident Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra , who played on her critically acclaimed second studio album The Dreaming Room (2016), which followed on from her highly praised debut album Sing to the Moon (2013). Together they will present a cross-section of Mvula’s material, with the orchestral versions arranged by Guildhall School of Music & Drama alumnus Troy Miller . Miller, who will also conduct the concert, is a critically acclaimed composer, drummer and conductor as well as producer of artists such as Gregory Porter, Rebecca Ferguson and Laura Mvula's The Dreaming Room. Double Mercury Prize nominee composer, singer and songwriter Mvula is one of the most exciting musical talents to come out of the UK in recent years. Her striking vocals and unpredictable compositions have drawn comparisons to Nina Simone and Prince.

Produced by the Barbican

Toots and the Maytals
+ Captain Accident
Fri 28 Jul 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm 
Reggae and Ska founding fathers Toots and the Maytals bring the summer spirit to the Barbican with a performance of classics from their back catalogue.
Toots Hibbert is a consummate performer and old-school entertainer. Drawing on his church choir upbringing, his soulful voice is carried by the funk-infused Reggae of the band. Their live shows are renowned for their exuberance, and the audience becomes more than spectator when Toots unleashes his call-and-response routines. Releasing their first album in the early 60s, Toots and the Maytals quickly established themselves as leading purveyors of the reggae sound, and were pivotal in popularising the genre beyond Jamaica. Their take on the style, drawing on funk, rock, soul and even country was unique, revolutionising not only reggae, but influencing countless others and they have been covered by artists as diverse as The Clash, The Specials and Amy Winehouse. Support comes from Cardiff-based Captain Accident , whose energetic blend of rock, reggae and soul has earned him the respect of many, and has seen him become a regular on the festival circuit.
Produced by the Barbican

LSO highlights

The third in a series of brand new community operas for children is given its world premiere on Sunday 9 July in a concert with Sir Simon Rattle, which will showcase much of the Orchestra’s groundbreaking learning programmes. Also performed on 9 July is Sibelius’ Symphony No 2 which sees musicians from the Guildhall School performing side-by-side with the LSO on stage. On Tuesday 11 & Wednesday 12 July Sir Simon Rattle will conduct the LSO in the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde , Lang Lang appears as soloist in Bartók’s Piano Concerto No 2, and, after the interval the LSO performs An imaginary orchestral journey through the works of Joseph Haydn, featuring excerpts from Symphonies Nos. 45, 46, 60, 64, 90 and 101, as well as from The Creation , The Seasons , The Desert Island and The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross , bringing the Orchestra’s 2016/17 Barbican season to a close.


Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction
Sat 3 Jun–Fri 1 Sep 2017, Barbican Centre
Media view: Thu1 Jun, 10am-1pm

Major Barbican exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction is a genre-defining exploration of one of popular culture’s most celebrated realms. This unprecedented show takes place all over the Centre, encompassing literature, contemporary art, film, music, comic books and video games to present a new, global perspective on Science Fiction.

Curated by Swiss historian and writer Patrick Gyger , this festival-style exhibition explores Science Fiction as an experimental genre, delving into its storytelling roots to discover how its visionary creators captured imaginations around the world to become one of the most popular and enjoyable narratives today. Featuring work never before shown in the UK, the show places rare and iconic pieces alongside familiar, well-loved classics, next to new contemporary art commissions, hoping to surprise and challenge visitors’ perception of the genre.

The exhibition includes contemporary art commissions from Conrad Shawcross and Trevor Paglen and existing art works from Isaac Julien, Larissa Sansour, Dara Birnbaum and Soda_Jerk . The Barbican’s Silk Street entrance will be overtaken by the creators of Black Mirror and inside a new interactive version of Nasa HQ from the set of blockbuster film The Martian will be on display by VFX designers, Territory Studio. The show also includes over 200 books from around the world, including original manuscripts and typescripts, over 50 film and TV clips, featuring some of the most memorable cinematic moments in Science Fiction as well as rare, unseen footage, pulp magazines, adverts, concept art, film props, comics, video games and robots.

To coincide with the exhibition opening, the Barbican will host an exciting public programme of concerts, screenings, talks, and events hosted in partnership with the New Scientist and Penguin Classics.

The New Scientist brings together leading scientific and cultural figures to explore how today’s cutting edge ideas, discoveries and inventions inspire the literature, art and games of tomorrow. The Gamer’s Club meets on Thursday 13 July to discuss the provocation: “reality is overrated”. Here Lucy Prebble talks to Pat Kane , to discuss what happens when virtuality and simulation becomes better than the real thing. The series closes on Thursday 27 July with The Transhumanists’ Club in which geneticist, author and broadcaster Adam Rutherford talks to digital anthropologist Beth Singler and award winning writer Joanna Kavenna to ask: do new technologies, from artificial intelligence to genetic engineering, enhance our humanity or endanger it?

Penguin Classics hosts a series of book club events to discuss some of Science Fiction’s most influential and popular works. Over the course of July leading journalists, writers and academics will meet to discuss The Island of Dr Moreau , Frankenstein and Nineteen Eighty Four .

MUSIC: Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason: Music for Sólaris
Sat 29 Jul 2017, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm 
Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason ’s collaboration Sólaris takes its inspiration from Andrei Tarkovsky ’s1973 sci-fi film. Frost and Bjarnason’s compositions include the futuristic atmospheres and pulses associated with sci-fi soundtracks; yet here they are built upon the warm qualities of a string orchestra (Poland’s Sinfonietta Cracovia ), a gentle piano with warping and melting harmonies, and waves upon waves of guitar. The score was created through an innovative process, where Frost’s and Bjarnason’s initial sketches were improvised to the film and fed through music software that attempted to ‘correct’ their distorted sounds into digital musical data. The music will be performed with a video accompaniment by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson. This event complements the concurrent Barbican exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction.

Produced by the Barbican

CINEMA: Sci-fi Sundays
Until Sun 20 Aug 2017, Cinema 3
The Barbican continues its season of sci-fi classics complementing Into the Unknown on Sundays throughout July and August with screenings including O-bi , O-ba: The End of Civilization , Warning From Space and George Lucas directorial debut THX 1138 .

CINEMA: Barbican Outdoor Cinema
Fri 25–Sun 27 Aug 2017, Sculpture Court
The Barbican is hosting its first-ever outdoor, on-site cinema surrounded by the Centre’s dramatic architecture, complementing the major exhibition Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction.
Barbican Outdoor Cinema will host classic science fiction movies including; Stanley Kubrick's defining masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); a landmark film in the history of computer animation , Tron (1982); and Alfonso Cuarón’s visually spectacular space-set thriller , Gravity (2013).


Cinema Matters Part 4: Bigger Than Life
Mon 3–Tue 18 Jul 2017, Cinema 1 and 3
In this on-going season, the Barbican explores the ways in which film has dazzled audiences with out-sized close-ups, big screen spectaculars and movie stars with screenings of Daughters of Darkness , Millennium Actress , Vivre sa vie and The Incredible Shrinking Man , introduced by author Sarah Bakewell .

Part of Film in Focus


Royal Shakespeare Company, in collaboration with Intel and in association with The Imaginarium Studios The Tempest
Fri 30 Jun – Fri 18 Aug 2017, Barbican Theatre
Press performance: Thu 6 Jul 2017, 7pm

On a distant island a man waits.

Robbed of his position, power and wealth, his enemies have left him in isolation. But this is no ordinary man, and this is no ordinary island. Prospero is a magician, able to control the very elements and bend nature to his will.

When a sail appears on the horizon, he reaches out across the ocean to the ship that carries the men who wronged him. Creating a vast magical storm he wrecks the ship and washes his enemies on the shore. When they wake they find themselves lost on a fantastical island where nothing is as it seems.

In a unique partnership with Intel, the Royal Shakespeare Company will be using today’s most advanced technology in a bold reimagining of Shakespeare ’s magical play, creating an unforgettable theatrical experience.

Simon Russell Beale returns to the RSC after 20 years to play Prospero in a production directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran .


Notes to Editors
Press Information
For further information, images or to arrange interviews contact:
Nick Adams, Communications Manager, +44 207 382 5274,
Sagar Shah, Communications Officer, +44 207 382 7321,

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About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory , conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia , Associate Producer Serious , and Artistic Partner Create . Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment , Cheek by Jowl , Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company . International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam , New York Philharmonic , Los Angeles Philharmonic , Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center .

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Press enquiries:

For further information, images or to arrange interviews contact:

Nick Adams, Communications Manager, +44 207 382 5274,

Sagar Shah, Communications Officer, +44 207 382 7321,