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9 June 2011
Duckie to turn Barbican into Christmas market

Natalie Woolman: The Stage

Less than six months after its all-night sleepover show Lullaby, Olivier-award winning company Duckie will transform the Barbican Theatre into a Christmas shopping arcade this December.

The Copyright Christmas Show will see the Barbican stage become an indoor shopping arcade in which audiences of 200 can “shop” during the promenade performance, which will feature 22 performers.

Duckie producer Simon Casson said there would be ten to 12 shopping environments for the audience to browse but he warned that visitors should “watch out for those Christmas rip-offs”.

He told The Stage: “Everybody loves and hates Christmas shopping so we are going to explore that, and capitalism is collapsing and we want to explore that.

“We live in a really materialistic society where the shopping mall has taken over from the church as the thing that people really celebrate at Christmas time, so we are going to look at that.”

Outside the venue, Duckie is hosting a “pop-up Christmas market” with 50 stalls of arts, crafts and vintage produce that will run alongside the show. Casson said this would offer audiences an alternative to the corporate capitalism shown in the main production.

He added: “These days everybody buys each other such rubbish for Christmas, and it’s all made in China and no one actually wants the stuff that they are bought and they are just spending loads and loads of money on nothing. We are trying to provide an alternative to that so, in the marketplace, it is independent craftspeople, artisans and also lots of retro-hawkers, which means people like you or me or anyone we know setting up second-hand stalls to sell their beautiful old stuff recycled.”

The show follows other Duckie shows at the Barbican during the festive period, including C’est Barbican!. Casson said that Duckie deliberately made shows around events such as eating in The Class Club and sleeping in the forthcoming Lullaby.

He explained: “That’s what people like to do - they like to sleep, shop, eat. Why can’t we make the theatre that? Why does the theatre have to be this thing that’s written by a playwright that lasts about two hours with an interval in the middle that starts at half seven that everyone stays sober for and treats with reverence. We like the idea that theatre is part of life.”

Directed by Mark Whitelaw, The Copyright Christmas Show will run from December 10-31 in the Barbican Theatre. The market will run over the same period and will be open to all visitors to the arts centre.

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