Barbican to stage neuroscience season

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London’s Barbican Centre has collaborated with a biomedical research body to create works inspired by a neuroscience conference that is scheduled as part of its spring programme.

Wonder: Art and Science on the Brain marks the first time the Wellcome Trust has worked alongside an arts venue while helping to fund such a project.

It will include an immersive performance based on 19th century Parisian salons, whereby audience members will be fitted with a bespoke period costume and be encouraged to debate with experts.

The piece, by theatre company Untitled Projects, was originally created with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre and Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre.

Also featured is a talk from comedian Ruby Wax on her experiences of mental illness, as well as an audio-visual performance lecture from University of Oxford maths and science professor Marcus du Sautoy.

The season, which will run from March to April 2013, runs alongside the British Neuroscience Association’s conference and its accompanying weekend Wonder: Street Fair, which will include performance and hands-on activities about brain research in the venue’s foyer.

Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican, said: “The two cultures of art and science are so often perceived as remote from each other – in fact they interact on many levels, and this path-breaking collaboration with the Wellcome Trust will enable us to explore the riches of creativity and perception in a new way.”

Also at the Barbican, English National Opera will stage the world premiere of Michel van der Aa’s Sunken Garden, which will use 3D film excerpts directed by the composer and a libretto by English novelist David Mitchell. It will run from April 12 to 20, 2013.

Appearing as part of this year’s London Spill Festival of Performance will be Forced Entertainment’s 24-hour improvisational piece, Quizoola!. Staged in the venue’s Pit space from April 12 to 13, 24-hour and 12-hour tickets will be available and audience members can submit questions for a quiz section in advance of the show.

The programme also features choreographer Deborah Colker’s Tatyana, following its run at the Edinburgh International Festival. It will be produced by the Barbican as part of its Weekend Labs series and will run from January 31 to February 9, 2013.

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