Get Happy at the Barbican

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Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the production first commissioned by the Barbican, Told by an Idiot returns once again for a winter residency, inviting everyone of any age (babies to great-grandparents!) to enter the artfully controlled chaos of Get Happy, a madcap, mischievous show featuring acrobatics, dance, live music and physical comedy. 

Taking its inspirations from sources as diverse as Charlie Chaplin, Dr Seuss and Pina Bausch, the show bursts with life, takes many unexpected turns and involves plenty of interaction and engagement.

The Get Happy cast includes Katy Ellis, Kyll Thomas-Cole, Nick Haverson and Rachel Donovan. It is directed by Paul Hunter, designed by Sophia Clist with sound design from Adrienne Quartly and lighting design by Tom Snell. 

The Cast

This 10th anniversary production is dedicated to a true Idiot, Stephen Harper (1967-2022). 

Paul Hunter, Artistic Director of Told by an Idiot, said:
“We are delighted to end our 30th anniversary year with the revival of our anarchic family sketch show Get Happy. We look forward to welcoming anyone who breathes to the Barbican this festive season.”

Told by an Idiot’s original production of Get Happy was devised as a show accessible to all, to be enjoyed by family members and friends of all ages. It was commissioned by and first performed by its original cast at the Barbican in 2013, where it was revived in 2015. In 2017, the production toured to Luxembourg and Beijing. It was performed outdoors for socially distanced audiences at Greenwich + Docklands International Festival in August 2020. It was also reimagined as Get Happy 21 exploring a new touring model, integrating performance and participation in four communities around the UK in 2021.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre & Dance at the Barbican, said: 

“We are delighted to welcome back the inventive and playful Told by an Idiot to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this wonderful production. Their energy and enthusiasm for connecting with audiences is always such a joyful experience and this Barbican commission will once again be a treat for all the family during the festive season.”

The Barbican’s popular Squish Space will be available before and after selected performances; a free, creative play space for under 5s and their families. Designed by artist/designer duo India Harvey and Lisa Marie Bengtsson, the space brings people together to learn through interaction, collaboration and play. Using a variety of materials and tactile objects, Squish Space features objects crafted from recycled materials, as well as moving image and sound from artists Di Mainstone and Xavier Velastin, to explore ideas of the planet and our ecology. A place for children to spin, jump, hide, touch, and explore, during the run of Get Happy the Squish Space will be open from 10.30am to 16.30pm on Monday 11-Tuesday 19 December.

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS. Dates: 7th – 19th December. Times: Varied – Check website for details and booking:


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