Desdemona

Barbican Hall, Silk Street, London
Desdemona at the Barbican - photo by Pascal Victor

Desdemona is an intimate and profound staged concert by Rokia Traore, Toni Morrison and Peter Sellars.

In response to Peter Sellars’s 2009 Othello, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and the Malian singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré collaborate with Sellars to create an intimate and profound conversation between Shakespeare's Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary from beyond the grave.

Rokia Traoré, the great young singer from Mali, has written the songs and sings the role of Barbary. The musical texture includes African and Western instruments, whose quiet, probing, and gently luminous qualities intensify the intimacy of the evening.

Toni Morrison has written the text that weaves the multiple histories that transmute Shakespeare’s play, for four centuries one of the most iconic, central, and disturbing treatments of race in all of Western culture, into the new realities and potential outcomes that face a rising generation of the early 21st century.

In responding to Shakespeare, and finally letting these women, who are mostly silent in Shakespeare, speak and sing in the fullness of their minds and their hearts, Toni Morrison, Peter Sellars and Rokia Traoré have created their own composite work of art that will speak and sing and bear witness to the stirrings of a new era.

Cast & CreativesEXPAND

author: Toni Morrison, Peter Sellars & Rokia Traoré

music by: Rokia Traoré

About the show
  • Age Suitability: All
  • Genre: Entertainment
  • Opening Night:
  • Closing night:

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Venue InformationHIDE

Barbican Hall
Silk Street, London, United Kingdom, EC2Y 8DS

  • Nearest tube: Barbican, Moorgate, St Paul's Liverpool Street, Bank and Mansion House are all close by
  • Nearest bus: Route 153 stops outside Barbican in Silk Street and runs daily between Finsbury Park, Angel, the Barbican and Liverpool Street Station.
  • Nearest train: Liverpool Street, Farringdon, Blackfriars, City Thameslinkm Barbican, Moorgate
  • Parking:

    The Barbican has four car parks which are accessible from Silk Street and Beech Street. From 17:30 on weekdays and throughout weekends a £5 tariff applies

Venue Access InformationEXPAND

  • How to book: E:access@barbican.org.uk T:020 7382 7389/7083
  • Telephones: Yes - on general foyers.
  • Discounts: yes.
  • Limited mobility: All floors served by lifts, Hall seating is over 3 levels. The rear of the Stalls and the rear of the circle are the most accessible. Hand rails on one side of steps. A more suitable accessible entrance available.
  • Access description: Wheelchair spaces and easily accessible seats on two levels. Some facilities for sensory impaired people.
  • Hearing impaired: Inductions loops.
  • Guide dogs policy: Welcome.
  • Wheelchairs: Yes. Can also loan wheelchairs.
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Disabled toilets: Adapted unisex on stalls level.
  • Bars: Yes - on all levels.