Wrestling School explores the dynamic between language and communication,
performer and audience through the work of playwright Howard
Barker, and works to develop new forms of expression for text based
The Wrestling School was established to act as a focus for the work of Howard Barker, whose highly distinctive style of writing and its poetic and tragic character required the investment and continuity of an ensemble and a developing performance technique to realise its full potential.
The company was established in 1988 by actors from the RSC and the Royal Court. Whilst not strictly an ensemble, The Wrestling School is made up of actors, musicians, designers and directors who share a commitment to Barker's demanding but rewarding texts. The company has quickly established a reputation for mounting outstanding productions of these inspiring, challenging works, drawing enthusiastic audiences into the text through a rich and compelling experience of language, sound and image.
The name arose from the feeling that the company must 'wrestle' with the ideas in the text before being able to present them effectively on stage. In studying Barker's work and learning new techniques for its presentation, the company behaves like a school, though it is not trying to teach anything to those who witness its productions.
The company has now presented over 30 productions of Barker's texts, many of them the English language premieres as well as workshops, readings and public discussions to over 56,000 people in nine countries. In recent years the company's work has carried it throughout the UK and into mainland Europe, where it is now regarded as one of the leading exponents of text based theatre.
" the most important
buildingless company in Britain "
The Wrestling School