Monday, 7 September 2015

Tooting Arts Club to stage Barbarians following Sweeney Todd

Tooting Arts Club will revive their own production of Barbarians by Barrie Keeffe at the former Central Saint Martins School of Art building in Soho. 

The temporary venue is being launched in collaboration with Emily Dobbs of Jagged Fence Theatre. 

Barbarians opens on 3rd October (previews from 29th September) and runs until 7th November 2015. A limited number of tickets will be available at £10 for under-26s, students and the unemployed.

Keeffe said: "I’m delighted that Barbarians is going to St Martins. It’s the perfect home for it. When I wrote Barbarians I was trying to capture that energy of punk on the stage, so to have it performed at such an important building from that time is very exciting. 

"It sounds odd to say, but I’ve mixed feelings about seeing Barbarians revived. When I wrote it, I thought it was a play of its time, but in a way it’s sad that it’s still so relevant to the situation of young people today. Obviously I’m very happy to see it produced, but shocked that the problems in it are still around today."

Tooting Arts Club’s most recent production was the acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, Tooting, transferring to a found space on Shaftesbury Avenue.

The former Central Saint Martins School of Art building on the Charing Cross Road housed the art school until 2011. Alumni include Jarvis Cocker, Paul Simonon of The Clash, Shane MacGowan, Adam Ant and Glenn Matlock of the Sex Pistols, who played their very first gig in the building in November 1975. They were thrown off stage after 20 minutes.

In 1977, Britain had just emerged from a worldwide recession. It was the Queen’s silver jubilee year but Paul, Jan and Louis had little to celebrate. With widespread youth unemployment and little opportunity on the horizon, there was anarchy in the air. Barbariansfollows the fluctuating fortunes of its three male characters on a journey that is as humorous as it is brutal, to the soundtrack of The Clash, the Sex Pistols and the Jam. Saint Martins provides the perfect setting, steeped in the punk culture of that time, to revive this acclaimed production which is as relevant now as it was then.

The production will be directed by Bill Buckhurst (Sweeney Todd) with design by Simon Kenny, sound design by Joshua Richardson and lighting design by Rob Youngson. The cast includes: Thomas Coombes (The Father), Jake Davies (Yen, X+Y) and Josh Williams (Lord of the Flies, Love and Information).

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