Barbican Theatre, London
The Barbican Theatre is part of the Barbican Centre, an Arts Complex which opened on 3 March 1982 and includes a concert hall, three cinemas, a library and a studio theatre.
In December 1940 the district where the Barbican Centre now stands was bombed by the Luftwaffe - with most of the buildings flattened. The site then lay somewhat neglected until the early 1950s when various proposals as to how to use the land were first put forward. In 1959 a scheme for a mixed development of residential flats, arts centre (with a concert hall and theatre) and premises for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama was approved by the Corporation of London. In the mid-sixties the Royal Shakespeare Theatre became involved in planning the theatre which was to become their London home.
The theatre auditorium consists of a raked stalls and 3 narrow tiers each which juts forward one above the other which means that no seat is further than 65 feet away from the stage.
In 1996 the Royal Shakespeare Company announced, to much public criticism, that it would only spend six months a year at the Barbican Theatre - with the other time spent touring the regions. During the first six-month 'gap', in the summer of 1997, the theatre was refurbished at a cost of £1.9million. The work included renovation work on the stage and the modernisation of technical facilities to enable the theatre to present dance, opera and music theatre. The theatre reopened in September 1997 with the presentation of three operas by The Royal Opera House, whose own London home - The Royal Opera House - was then currently being rebuilt. Then over the following couple of years The RSC presented annual six month reertory seasons with the Barbican Centre presenting short runs of 'international theatre', including dance and opera, for the remainder of the year.
In May 2002 The Royal Shakespeare Company left the Barbican Theatre completely and the Barbican Centre's season of 'international theatre' now takes place for the whole year and includes occasional short seasons by the RSC.
The Barbican Centre was listed Grade II in 2001.