Fiona Shaw on The Testament of Mary

Actress Fiona Shaw discusses her collaboration with director Deborah Warner to transform Colm Tóibín’s novel into a mesmerising performance that speaks to a universal audience.


I was surprised to be asked to play the Virgin Mary. Like a strange Annunciation, the offer came not from an angel holding a lily but from a playwright (Colm Tóibín) holding a glass of wine! Understandably, I felt unprepared and an unlikely choice. Images from my childhood reinforced this wariness – the pale blue, washed-out figure of a woman who represented passive, bland, characterless goodness. In the New Testament she speaks only twice, and even the Virgin of later life, before her Assumption into heaven, is presented as a beatified, worn woman, a gold halo round her head, surrounded by the protective concern of the men who really mattered to the story – the Apostles.

Skydweller: Top of the Tower

Filmed over the course of one day from the top of Cromwell Tower, one of three residential towers in the Barbican estate, Skydweller combines over 5,000 photographs in a stunning timelapse of the view across London.

With specially composed music by Tom Rosenthal and poetry by artist, poet and Barbican host, Paul Haworth, this short film offers a unique view of our bustling capital and its residents from the calm above.


View more photos from Skydweller on the Barbican Flickr

Skydweller was commissioned to celebrate the launch of our Constructing Worlds season, encompassing a major exhibition in the Barbican Art Gallery, Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, a new commission by LA artist Walead Beshty in The Curve and a specially curated film season, from September.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam present Bruckner

This April, we journey to the sublime and experience the epic force of Bruckner’s most powerful and spiritually uplifting symphonies as the Royal Concertegbouw Orchestra Amsterdam, led by Mariss Jansons, return for their second International Associate residency.


Ahead of their residency, broadcaster James Jolly spoke to Mariss Jansons about the Orchestra and their forthcoming concerts: