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Howard Barker and The Wrestling School come to Rose Bruford College.

 The Clive Barker Centre for Theatrical Innovation, in partnership with The Stanislavski Centre and The Rose Bruford Centre for Voice and Speech present..


A Weekend with Howard Barker and The Wrestling SchoolBarker Weekend Key Image 8cm

Rose Bruford College is excited to welcome Britain’s most brilliantly innovative playwright, Howard Barker, and his company The Wrestling School to The Barn Theatre on the 18th and 19th of October, for a weekend of readings, workshops and discussions, including a world-first preview of scenes from Barker’s newest play; Prefix.

Over four decades, Barker’s controversial oeuvre has inspired fanatical dedication from actors and directors around the world, as well as inspiring countless younger playwrights such as the late Sarah Kane. This event explores Barker’s most recent writing, and the style and techniques of The Wrestling School.

HEARING – A playreading and a conversation.

Friday October 18th, 7.00pm

Distance – a reading of a new play by Howard Barker, presented by The Wrestling School, directed by Wrestling School Associate Artist Gerrard McArthur, with a cast including Jane Bertish, Suzy Cooper and Philip Cumbus. Followed by Howard Barker in conversation on stage with Gerrard McArthur.

DOING – A day of workshops and discussion.  

Saturday October 19th, 10.00am – 6.00pm

The day begins with a workshop led by Howard with members of The Wrestling School and students of Rose Bruford College on his latest play PREFIX. After lunch, attendees are invited to take part in one of several workshops conducted by members of the company, on its approach to acting and style. The day concludes with a panel discussion and opportunity for Q&A with Howard Barker, Gerrard McArthur and Jane Bertish (The Wrestling School), actress Sarah Belcher, Steve Dykes representing Richard Romagnoli (Potomac Theater Project, NYC) and Dr James Reynolds (University of Kingston).

Working on the plays of Howard Barker has long been a regular feature of the actor training at Rose Bruford College. In recent times, the College has begun to forge a collaborative relationship with The Wrestling School. Wrestling School Associate Artists Jane Bertish and Gerrard McArthur have been frequent guest practitioners at the College over the last 18 months, directing student productions and conducting masterclasses on The Wrestling School’s approach to acting through language and the body. Professor Nesta Jones, Director of Research at the college says:  “This weekend will focus not just on Barker’s writing, but on how The Wrestling School has developed unique approaches to acting, staging and design. Reflecting on this unique company’s work inspires students and practitioners alike to think more imaginatively about the perceived limits and possibilities of their own practice.”

Howard Barker’s plays are known for their fearless exploration of power, sexuality and human motivation. His texts overflow with rich language, challenging ideas, history, beauty, violence and imaginative comedy, all brought together within the extremes of human experience to create a powerful and compelling theatrical experience. Barker describes his work with the term Theatre of Catastrophe. Barker says: “Theatre of Catastrophe takes as its first principle the idea that art is not digestible. Rather, it is an irritant in consciousness, like the grain of sand in the oyster’s gut…”

Barker’s works have been played by the National Theatre (Scenes From an Execution starring Fiona Shaw in 2012), the Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Print Room, The Open Space Theatre, Sheffield Crucible and the Almeida (where Scenes from an Execution received its English stage premiere in 1990), as well as extensively in Europe, the United States and Australia. He is currently Artistic Director of The Wrestling School, a company established to disseminate his works and develop his theory of production. He is the author of plays for marionettes, three librettos for opera, two works of theory, and five volumes of poetry.

“England’s greatest living dramatist” (The Times).

The Wrestling School is a European theatre company based in London that explores the relationship between language, performer and audience through the work of Howard Barker. The award winning Wrestling School has a reputation for outstanding productions of these texts, inspiring enthusiastic audiences with their highly theatrical and imaginative use of language, sound and image.

“..the most important buildingless company in Britain.” (The Independent)

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To find out how to get to Rose Bruford College visit


Event 1 – HEARING

Friday October 18th

7.00pm – 9.30pm

The Barn Theatre

Full Price £15

SCUDD/DramaUK Members £10

Concession £5

Event 2 – DOING

Saturday October 19th

10.00am – 5.30pm

The Barn Theatre

Full Price £45

SCUDD/DramaUK Members £30

Concession  £20










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