In a press statement, Toni Racklin, head of theatre at the Barbican, commented, "We are thrilled to be co-producing Antigone and presenting this new production here at the Barbican and taking it to stages around the world. Antigone illustrates how a major new production can be realized through our strong relationships with global partners. We bring back Juliette Binoche, following her mesmerising performances in Mademoiselle Julie here in 2012, and Ivo van Hove, with whom we have a long-standing relationship through Roman Tragedies and Scenes from a Marriage. Our international programme enabled these two world class artists to meet and collaborate for the first time and we have specially commissioned the eminent Canadian poet Anne Carson to write this new translation."
Van Hove added, "While searching for a play for our first collaboration, Juliette and I very quickly agreed that Antigone would be the right artistic challenge for both of us. The play itself has the explosiveness of a nuclear bomb. It deals with all possible relationships: man against woman, political against ethical leadership, the laws of society against the right of the individual, family and its unbreakable blood ties. Antigone should resonate with everyone the world over. It feels natural to make this production in the context of an international collaboration between the Barbican, Luxembourg and my own Toneelgroep Amsterdam. After three wonderful presentations of work I made with Toneelgroep Amsterdam (Roman Tragedies, Antonioni Project and Scenes from a Marriage) I feel at home at the Barbican. It is very important that high level collaborations get produced at a time when people have a tendency to stick together behind their own borders. Art can change the world!"
Binoche has previously appeared on the London stage in Pirandello's Naked at the Almeida, in-i at the National Theatre with Akram Khan and Mademoiselle Julie at the Barbican. She has appeared on Broadway in Pinter's Betrayal at the American Airlines Theatre, for which she was nominated for the 2001 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and received a 2001 Theatre World Award.
Van Hove is currently represented in London by his new production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge (at the Young Vic through June 7). This year he also staged the world premiere of the opera Brokeback Mountain at Teatro Real in Madrid. He is now working on the Foundtainhead, a stage adaptation of the novel by Ayn Rand with his ensemble at Toneelgroep Amsterdam.
Carson is a poet, essayist, translator, playwright and classicist. She frequently references, modernizes and translates Greek mythology. Carson is a MacArthur Fellow; she has received the Lannan Prize, the TS Eliot Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and was an Anna-Maria Kellen fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2007. As well as adapting Antigone for the Barbican, Carson is currently adapting The Bacchae for a future production.
The production will be designed and lit by Jan Versweyveld, with costumes by An d’Huys, video design by Tal Yarden and dramaturgy by Peter van Kraaij.
Tickets are on sale now to Barbican members and from May 16 to the general public. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0845 120 7511 or visit www.barbican.org.uk/theatre.