Renowned physical theatre company Gecko marks its debut at the Barbican, one of London’s biggest stages, with The Wedding as part of the line-up for prestigious London International Mime Festival 2019, the capital’s longest established international theatre season. This is the first time a UK theatre company has been programmed at the Barbican as part of the LIMF main theatre programme.
The company’s seventh creation, The Wedding features an extraordinary ensemble of nine international performers who guide audiences through a dystopian world in which we are all brides, wedded to society.
This exceptionally timely piece of physical theatre exploring the relationships between individual and state combines Gecko’s trademark style of movement and imagery in an emotionally-charged performance.
Joseph Seelig and Helen Lannaghan, directors of London International Mime Festival, said: “The Mime Festival is delighted to enable Gecko’s thrilling visual theatre work to be seen in one of London’s most prestigious theatres, in partnership with our colleagues at the Barbican. Gecko has arrived there by right.”
Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican, said: “We’re delighted to welcome award-winning physical theatre company Gecko to the Barbican for the first time with their acclaimed production, The Wedding. The international company has a powerful physical vocabulary, so it’s brilliant to be presenting this London premiere with our regular partners, London International Mime Festival.”
This announcement comes at an auspicious time for Gecko. Established by Amit Lahav in 2001, the Company has become the epitome of visceral, provocative physical theatre in the UK, with a unique language of movement, music and set design that come together to create a distinctive and unforgettable experience. Now, in its 18th year, Gecko is the UK’s leading devising physical theatre company, which, despite the more and more challenging arts funding landscape in the country, creates increasingly ambitious shows performing to audiences across the UK and internationally. The company’s work is studied by students preparing for their GCSE and A’Level exams across England and in 2019 the company will begin development of its next production.
A Gecko show always puts the audience at its heart and allows them to interpret and resonate with the performance based on their personal experiences. Amit has devised a rigorous and productive process of developing a show over a period of three years, which includes a ‘creation tour’ where the show changes and progresses whilst on tour in response to the experience of performing for an audience. This demanding method has seen 7 successful shows produced over almost two decades, including The Overcoat, Missing, Institute, The Time of Your Life – a live theatre broadcast aimed at new audiences not necessarily familiar with contemporary subsidised theatre commissioned by BBC Four, ACE and Battersea Arts Centre, and more recently, The Wedding.
Gecko has taken those shows on extensive tours around the UK and internationally, and through building close relationships with venues and their audiences, has established a close-knit network of programming contemporary physical theatre on the mid-scale. In recent years, the company has expanded its touring programme to include themed engagement activity, seeking to diversify audiences encountering their work and deepen their experience.
Amit Lahav, an expert on movement, has been invited to work with multi-award winning, ground-breaking band The Chemical Brothers on imagery for the new songs on their current world tour with directors Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall He has also been working on movement for BBC 2’s documentary about Austrian painter Egon Schiele, Dangerous Desires: The Scandalous Life Of Egon Schiele, directed by Teresa Griffiths. Released in the upcoming weeks to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Schiele’s death, the documentary tells the story of his short and dramatic life in Schiele’s own words, using original letters and writings, and uses Amit Lahav’s choreography to convey the expressiveness of his work, focusing on its physicality and humanity. The company is also extremely excited to be soon announcing its first patrons.
Amit Lahav said “I am immensely proud that Gecko has been invited to perform The Wedding at the Barbican Theatre as part of the London International Mime Festival, our biggest national platform to date, most pertinently for the message it sends to our young audiences: be courageous, daring and experimental.
The shows we create are emotionally expressive, uncompromising and boldly inventive. I feel that these are important values to harvest in the next generation and I’m very happy that the Barbican and LIMF are encouraging that message.
Having always worked with an international ensemble and toured extensively internationally, it also gives me great pleasure to know that Gecko will be the first British company to be seen in this prestigious international slot in the LIMF programme. These performances mark a turning point for Gecko as the ambition of the work continues to grow and I am excited to embark on the next phase of our journey.”