everything that rises must dance

An online dance project with HOME Manchester

An online participatory dance piece for women of all backgrounds, ages (18+) and abilities.

Created by choreographer Sasha Milavic Davies and composer Lucy Railton, everything that rises must dance is a Complicité Homemakers commission.

Join us online for a virtual gathering of women in a performance that celebrates female movement and relationships between women around us now. Previously performed live by up to 200 women at one time, this live online version explores how we can move together in our own space, drawing on the gestural language of our own individual environments to build a new choreography: a connected archive of female movement during this time of separation.

Saturday 20 June, a free online event

Watch on Complicité's Facebook Live
Approximately 10 mins

Ali Wright
Ali Wright
Ali Wright

The Encounter - live discussion

An online discussion with Simon McBurney and guests recorded on Wednesday 20 May

The Encounter will be available to watch online from 7pm (BST) Friday 15 May to 10pm (BST) Monday 25 May 2020.

An online discussion event and public Q&A recorded on Wednesday 20 May: watch on Facebook

Simon McBurney was joined by Filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro on a link to the Xingu region of the Amazon, Writer, Editor and Co-director of The Dark Mountain Project Charlotte Du Cann and Professor of Drama and Performance at Queen Mary, University of London Paul Heritage. Prize-winning writer, novelist, cultural commentator and chair of The Royal Society of Literature, Lisa Appignanesi OBE, chaired the discussion. 

"We are, as a consequence of this pandemic, bodily cut off from one another. Disconnected. Isolated. But perhaps this sense of our separation one from another, is simply a heightening of what we felt before this all began. We are thinking now, not only about how long this will last, but also what happens on the other side. To reconnect we need, perhaps, to learn to listen more closely. To each other. To our communities. To other cultures. To nature itself. 

The Encounter is at its heart a story about ‘listening’, not 'hearing' but listening; to other, older narratives which, at the deepest level, form who we are, and if we do, we can imagine how we can 'begin' again.”

Simon McBurney

COVID-19 statement

“Complicité’s vision – to create work that strengthens human interconnection, using the complicity between the performer and the audience that is at the heart of the theatrical experience – has never been more urgent at this time where violent division has become the norm.

We live in a moment of unprecedented, sometimes brutal and ever accelerating change. So pushing the limits of artistic experiment, which has always been key to the Company’s vision, is a vital tool in unlocking the most urgent and crucial questions of our times, challenging and excavating conventional accepted norms.

As John Berger, a long-term collaborator with the company who died in 2017, said 
At the heart of theatre is a sense of ritual return.

The company is committed to returning. Not returning to remain in the same place. But to return as an act of persistent enquiry; to bear witness to human experiences which demand. Which cry out. So that we can constantly reaffirm that what joins us all is stronger than what divides us.”

Simon McBurney
Artistic Director

Written in February 2019, these words take on a new layer of meaning in this time of crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  But they also continue to guide everything we do.  As the company, along with the rest of the arts sector, went into lockdown, our thoughts were not just focused on how we would survive, but on how we could continue to work in a meaningful way, to continue the spirit of enquiry with renewed urgency.

Although most human interconnection has become mediated by technology, it can still be meaningful.  We have connected with our widespread family of Associates and collaborators around the world; keen to listen to the voices of those who are experiencing this time in different ways – such as our friends in the Amazon rainforest, for whom this crisis is another threat to the way of life they have been fighting to preserve for decades.

We continue to support Culture Declares Emergency, who have created a virtual space for discussion and creative exchange called The Offer.  It may seem like the climate and ecological emergency has to take a back seat to Covid-19, but the truth is that they are intimately linked and we need to keep the debate centre stage, particularly as we start to discuss what we want a post Covid-19 world to look like.

We are also experimenting with how to make new creative work in this digital realm, to stay connected with our audiences and communities wherever they are.

The impact on culture and the arts has been devastating and the end of the tunnel is nowhere in sight yet.  But we are resilient and we will support each other as we travel through this time.  We hope that you will continue to support us, and all the arts and culture that you love, until we can gather together again.

Polly Gifford
Executive Director

Johan Persson
Tsukasa Aoki
Robbie Jack
Sebastian Hoppe

Culture Declares Emergency

Culture Declares Emergency (CDE) is a growing community of arts & culture champions declaring a climate & ecological emergency – from national organisations to individual artists.

What is culture's role in these times?

CDE was launched in April 2019, asking - What is culture's role in these times? How can we act collectively and individually to shift paradigms? What can and must be done and how can we continue to evolve a network for support?

The crisis compels us to imagine new possibilities and to propose systemic change.  Declaring is way to focus thinking and discussion to lead to action.  On 8 July 2019, Complicité was one of over 200 cultural organisations and artists to declare Climate and Ecological Emergency.  The total is now over 700.

This second wave of declarers were announced on the day of a dedicated assembly at London’s Roundhouse, which explored how the arts and cultural industry can respond to the “truth of the crisis we are in”. Complicité produced the event as part of our response to the environmental crisis.  From January 2020, we will be hosting a part time Coordinator for CDE, thanks to a grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK.  We will also be interrogating how our creative practice needs to adapt, looking at what we make, how we make it and how we share it.

Complicité Artistic Director Simon McBurney said: "The world is on fire. Those with no voice are the most at risk. The poorest, the most exploited, the most vulnerable. Countries and continents, peoples and habitats, animals and ecosystems. 'Culture' is the story with which we shape the world and give meaning to our lives. So what does it mean when those who feed the fire control the narrative? To survive we must tell different stories and drown out the tired old tales of culture as economic growth with profit its only outcome. We must roar and rage against those who would tell us culture demands respect. How can we respect those who own the world and ransack it for profit? We will not accept the bribes they offer so we ignore the way they have set the whole world on fire.

Culture now must give voice to those at the heart of the flames. Declaring an emergency is only the beginning. Now we need to act. Listen to the cries for help and craft them into chants of power that can change the world."

"When asked to write in a time when diplomacy and politics have such terribly short and feeble arms, the delicate but sometimes lengthy reach of art must bear the burden of holding together the human community." Arthur Miller

See the full list of declarers and find out how you can get involved at culturedeclares.org. Follow on Facebook @culturedeclares, Twitter @CultureDeclares, Instagram culturedeclares

The Lightscaper Photography

Beware of Pity

Based on the novel by Stefan Zweig
Directed by Simon McBurney

A Complicité co-production with the Schaubühne, Berlin.

Behind the scenes videos

Stefan Zweig (1881 – 1942) was an Austrian writer who at the height of his career was the most read author writing in the German language.

Ungeduld des Herzens, published in 1939, is a tense and claustrophobic account of a young man’s slide into a terrible situation, and his inability to extricate himself from it. It’s a devastating depiction of honour, love and betrayal, realised against the background of the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the rise of anti-Semitism.

La Filature, Mulhouse 
13 & 14 May 2020

"Extraordinarily compelling”
★★★★★ Independent

"An illuminating explosion”
★★★★★ WhatsOnStage

"It fizzes on the spot”
★★★★ Observer

★★★★ Time Out

★★★★ Guardian

“Takes on the compelling quality of a thriller”
★★★★ Financial Times

“It draws you in and shakes you"
★★★★ Times

Book tickets here

Gianmarco Bresadola
Gianmarco Bresadola

The Rake's Progress

Simon McBurney directs Stravinsky's opera. 

Playing next in Moscow

The Rake's Progress is available to watch online. Simply click play on the video on this page.

Opera in three acts

Libretto by Wystan Hugh Auden and Chester Simon Kallman
Adapted from William Hogarth
Conductor Timur Zangiev
Director Simon McBurney
Dramaturge Gerard McBurney
Design Michael Levine
Costume design Christina Cunningham
Lighting Design Paul Anderson
Video Design Will Duke

Watch the show online for free. Simply double click on the video player in the top right corner of this page for a full screen view.

Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre

22, 24 & 26 June 2020

Book tickets here

Partick Berger
Patrick Berger
Patrick Berger

Freelancer Task Force

On 21 May 2020, 50 organisations published an open letter to theatre and performance freelancers.  Complicité, along with over 50 others, added their names shortly afterwards

The letter acknowledged the fact that over 70% of the theatre and performance workforce is self-employed, and that the unprecedented impact on the sector of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown, would impact them hardest of all. It also committed to act in support of that vital workforce.

One of the commitments made was to set up a Freelance Task Force.

Each organisation signing up to the letter has committed to paying a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August to join the Freelance Task Force. The aim of the Task Force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis in the performing arts sector. 

The Freelance Task Force Member’s Role

It is up to the Freelance Task Force to establish its own structure as to how it fulfills these aims. In sponsoring a freelancer, the signatories hope each member will work together with all other members to:

- co-ordinate wider conversations with freelancers in their area and/or specialism

- hold and participate in regular Freelance Task Force meetings

- attend meetings and events on behalf of the Freelance Task Force

- lobby on behalf of the wider freelance community

- ensure that information is widely distributed

Complicité offered the opportunity to the core group of Associates that work regularly with the organisation, including on our Creative Learning programme. As well as their own personal experience, they all have a strong relationship with the company and those who work for and with it.

Two people from that group put themselves forward for the role and the company decided that it had the capacity to support them both to be involved, for the full number of days. Therefore, Sasha Milavic Davies and Joyce Henderson will both be participating in the Task Force.

How they work, individually and together, to meet the aims of the Task Force will be up to them. The company has offered support to engage with and feed back to our network of freelancers, as well as their own networks.

If you are a freelancer who would like to get in touch with the Task Force members, please contact admin@complicite.org

Read the open letter.
Please email admin@complicite.org for accessible formats.

Robbie Jack
Sebastia Hoppe
Guy Coletta