Emma Rice's 'The Buddha of Suburbia' transfers to the Barbican

The second RSC show to transfer to the Barbican this winter is director Eleanor Rhode’s production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Olivia Rook
Olivia Rook

The Royal Shakespeare Company will transfer two of its Stratford-upon-Avon shows to the Barbican in London this winter.

An adaptation of Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia, a co-production with Emma Rice's Wise Children, will open on 22 October and follows 17-year-old Karim, who is desperate to escape the suburbs in 1970s south London.

Emma Rice said, “I have truly loved making this show, and spending time immersed in Hanif’s laugh-out-loud funny, rude and anarchic world. His razor sharp wit is The Buddha of Suburbia’s secret weapon, but beneath the jokes lies deep, profound and pure love. In the rehearsal room, I was moved to tears daily by this powerful and political piece, and I am absolutely thrilled that it is transferring to the Barbican. I want as many people as possible to experience this joyful production – especially this iconic London novel’s home crowd. I cannot wait!”

Hanif Kureishi added, “I worked on this idea with Emma for a while, without much of a notion of what it would actually look or sound like. Emma is a wonderfully visual director; her shows are great to look at. But I believe that if you are lucky enough to work with an artist like her, you must let them be as creative and as original as they want to be. And so, when I finally got to see the show, live streamed to my computer at home, I fell in love with it straight away: the colour, costumes, music, and of course her brilliant casting. I was delighted by the response to the show, both from the critics and from the audience, who always had a good time.

"Now I am very excited to see the show in another iteration at the Barbican, in front I hope, of a young and diverse London crowd. We want to give them as good a time as the patrons in Stratford had; and I’m sure Emma’s work, and that of the brilliant actors she has cast, will resonate with a new audience.”

The creative team includes Rachana Jadhav (set designer), Vicki Mortimer (costume designer), Simon Baker (sound and video designer), Jai Morjaria (lighting designer), Niraj Chag (composer), Etta Murfitt (choreographer), and Kev McCurdy (fight director).

The second show to transfer to the Barbican is director Eleanor Rhode’s production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which stars Mathew Baynton (Wonka, Peep Show, Ghosts, Horrible Histories) as Bottom and opens on 3 December.

The creative team includes Lucy Osborne (set and costume designer), John Bulleid (illusion director and designer), Matt Daw (lighting designer), Will Gregory (composer), Pete Malkin (sound designer), Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster (movement director), and Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown (fight and intimacy directors).

RSC co-artistic directors Tamara Harvey and Daniel Evans said, “We’re so proud that these two productions, led by two brilliant directors, will play the Barbican stage later this year. Together, they encapsulate one of our core missions at the RSC: to bring people together to experience new plays side-by-side with those of our house playwright, to deepen our understanding of ourselves, each other and the world around us, and bring joy. Both these productions are naughty, soulful and entertaining, and we can’t wait to share them with audiences in the capital. Meanwhile, in Stratford, we’re looking forward to continuing our inaugural Stratford season with a host of inspiring artists.”

Check back for The Buddha of Suburbia and A Midsummer Night's Dream tickets on London Theatre.

Photo credit: The Buddha of Suburbia artwork. (Photo courtesy of production)

Originally published on

Subscribe to our newsletter to unlock exclusive London theatre updates!

  • Get early access to tickets for the newest shows
  • Access to exclusive deals and promotions
  • Stay in the know about news in the West End
  • Get updates on shows that are important to you

You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy