Streetcar ticket lottery: July dates

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire rehearsals. Photo by Johan Persson.

To give as many people as possible a chance to see the show, we’ll also be holding our first-ever day seat lottery. Please see the July dates below:

Weds 23 July: drawing at 5.30PM
Thurs 24 July: drawing at 5.30PM
Fri 25 July: drawing at 5.30PM
Sat 26 July: drawing at 5.30PM
Sun 27 July: NO LOTTERY
Mon 28 July: NO LOTTERY
Tues 29 July: drawing at 5.30PM
Weds 30 July: drawings at 1.30PM & 5.30PM
Thurs 31 July: drawing at 5.30PM

Head on down to the Young Vic at 5PM each day and we’ll take your name.  Names will be drawn at 5.30PM with all tickets £20, with a £10 concession for Under 26s. A few bits of housekeeping:

  • There will be a limit of 2 tickets per person for lottery winners
  • On matinee days, please arrive at 1PM for a 1.30PM drawing for the matinee performance only, the usual 5PM time for the evening performance
  • If you don’t get lucky in the lottery, please feel free to join the returns queue

Due to popular demand, day seats and returns will only be available in person.

A Streetcar Named Desire: NT Live broadcast


We’re very excited to announce that A Streetcar Named Desire will be broadcast live from the Young Vic by National Theatre Live to cinemas around the world on Tuesday 16 September.

National Theatre Live performances are broadcast via satellite to over 1100 venues in over 40 different countries  around the world, live in Europe and some US cities, and time-delayed in countries further afield. A Streetcar Named Desire, with Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois, Ben Foster as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby as Stella, is the Young Vic’s first collaboration with NT Live.

For cinema tickets and venue information, visit

A Streetcar Named Desire runs at the Young Vic from 23 July – 19 September. For more information on the production at the Young Vic and day seats, click here.

A Streetcar Named Desire extends + day seat lottery

Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster & Vanessa Kirby | photos by Johan Persson

Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster & Vanessa Kirby | photos by Johan Persson

We’re thrilled to announce that A Streetcar Named Desire will be extended until 19 September!

Because of our flexible auditorium, we’ve also been able to add more seats for every performance. Which means that there will be thousands of tickets on sale next Weds 16 July at 10am!

To give as many people as possible a chance to see the show, we’ll also be holding our first-ever day seat lottery. Head on down to the Young Vic at 5PM each day and we’ll take your name.  Names will be drawn at 5.30PM with all tickets £20, with a £10 concession for Under 26s. A few bits of housekeeping:

  • There will be a limit of 2 tickets per person for lottery winners
  • On matinee days, please arrive at 1PM for a 1.30PM drawing for the matinee performance only
  • If you don’t get lucky in the lottery, please feel free to join the returns queue

Due to popular demand, day seats and returns will only be available in person.

Although we took extra measures with our website and Box Office when we first went on sale, because of overwhelming demand for tickets (a Young Vic record!), many of you had difficulties booking. This time we are doing even more to improve the experience including additional website support and doubling the number of team members on the phones for next Wednesday. However we anticipate that it may take longer to book than usual. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

To return to the Young Vic website, click here.


Act for Change – 2 local teens share their view

Act for Change, June 30, 2014 | Photo by  Jon Holloway

Act for Change, June 30, 2014 | Photo by Jon Holloway

Nowadays there have been many objections to the fact that there seems to be a decline in the number of BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) inspirational characters in TV programmes and theatre productions. As a result, the Act for Change Conference was held at the Young Vic Theatre where many youths, people involved in aspects of drama, and various individuals interested in this debate attended and contributed fascinating ideas.

This conference was about integration and equality in the theatre and TV industry. There were many different opinions being thrown around the room that caused a lot of debate, especially to the panel hosting this. This debate got very heated and one repeated idea was that commissioners shouldn’t insult the audience’s intellect, meaning that the audience members shouldn’t be underestimated for what they know and how much inequality in the drama industry they notice.

One main subject was that stereotypical characters are constantly being cast by some theatres and the people making the decisions don’t seem to reflect the accurate lifestyle in London. Funds might restrict diversity but we soon learned that the BBC has a £2 billion budget; this revealed that this argument was irrelevant. In 2006 the percentage of BAME characters was 31% this number dropped dramatically to 5.4% and has remained at this figure ever since. These figures not only shocked us, the panel and the audience, but also showed us that there needs to be change and fast, leading to a massive discussion.

It became obvious that it is essential to have more inspirational roles for ethnic minorities. Some people blamed drama schools for this problem, but from personal experience we don’t agree with this because we know plenty of people who have different ethnicities that haven’t had any racial problems in drama schools whatsoever. But this is only from our perspective, as you grow older you begin to realise the seriousness and difficulty in casting and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. This is not only in smaller theatres but in soap dramas that millions watch across nations. For example, Eastenders has a larger number of cast members compared to smaller theatres who have a smaller number of cast members. The exciting debate made us think and acknowledge the huge issue which is evidently significant to our future generations and community.

The quantity of BAME actors isn’t as important as the quality and depth of each role. People from the USA contributed to the discussion also, some audience members felt strongly about this debate and one was later described as ‘feisty’ by the chairwoman. One lawyer mentioned the fact that it isn’t illegal to use creative ideas to mask racism in the UK however it is in the USA. Meaning that in the USA it is forbidden to pretend your casting decisions are based on story when actually you’re just discriminating.

We understand that there is pressure from the creative community, we shouldn’t forget that huge black roles have been played before and there are loads of BAME actors available but they just need to be noticed instead of being portrayed as unimportant extras. Where is the imagination in casting today in comparison to 20 years ago, when integration was first made mandatory? Are we moving backwards and becoming less diverse whilst the community around us becomes more diverse?

In conclusion, we think that this debate has caused a further larger debate with hundreds of people with different perspectives. It has allowed many people to understand numerous views in depth and why people are so passionate about change. We may only be teenagers but what we witnessed that day has definitely given us something new to think about and the level of importance when it comes to diversity is now clear which is usually hidden to the rest of the world. London is a diverse community and this should be reflected in drama productions.

By Udokama Iwumene & Emily McLaughlin, age 14

The Events Remixed & Discussed

The Events is a play about communities, whether they are ethnic, geographical, or just centred around a shared love of singing. When making the show, we worked with Schauspielhaus Wien (Austria) and Drammens Teater (Norway) to create their own versions that have been touring the world simultaneously to the original production. 

On 10 and 12 July, The Events will be presented in a truly unique way. Ramin Gray, Artistic Director, has called upon the UK cast, the Norwegian cast, and the Austrian cast to all take the stage at the same time, in an international, multi-lingual performance. 

Following the matinee performance at 2.45 pm on 12 July, Channel Four’s Matt Frei will be chairing a panel discussion with Rob Liddle from The Spectator and Bjørn Ihler, a survivor from the island of Utøya. The theme of the discussion is It’s Not Easy to be Open When Your Tribe Feels Weak. We would love for you to come along, see a very unique performance followed by a lively debate. More panel guests will be announced soon. 

And in case you can’t make any of those dates, The Events will be on the airwaves this Friday on BBC Radio 4. Tune in here. Jane Anderson from the Radio Times has been given a sneak preview of the radio version and describes it as ‘the best drama I have heard so far this year.’ Artistic Director Ramin Gray and the ATC team will be on Twitter during the broadcast, answering questions and providing live commentary, so keep an eye on hashtag #TheEvents on Friday evening. 

To book for these special performances, or to see The Guardian’s “Best Play of 2013″ in its original form, book now at or call 020 7922 2922. 

And for those of you not London-based, ATC has just announced performances in Leicester, Manchester, and Southampton this autumn.

Casting announced for The Cherry Orchard

Casting was announced today for groundbreaking director Katie Mitchell’s The Cherry Orchard in a new English language version by Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens.

Katie Mitchell returns to the Young Vic for the first time in four years to direct the fifth and final of Chekhov’s great plays following Uncle Vanya at the Young Vic, and Three Sisters, Ivanov and The Seagull at the NT. The cast includes:

Kate DucheneKate Duchêne as Lyubov Ranevskaya. Her past roles for Katie Mitchell include Hansel and GretelA Woman Killed With KindnessBeauty and the Beast, Women of Troy, Attempts on Her Life, Waves, Iphigenia at Aulis (National Theatre). Other stage roles include The Cherry Orchard, Faust, The Country Wife, Murder in the Cathedral, Richard III (RSC); Small Craft Warning, The Herbal Bed (West End).

Dominic RowanDominic Rowan returns to the Young Vic to play Alexander Lopakhin. He appeared in Katie Mitchell’s production of After Dido (Young Vic/ENO) at the theatre in 2009, and played Torvald Helmer in Carrie Cracknell’s acclaimed staging of A Doll’s House which played two seasons at the Young Vic before transferring into the West End and on to BAM in New York. Theatre audiences will see him next in Cracknell’s production of Medea at the National Theatre. Other past stage credits include Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike (Royal Court), Henry VIII (Globe), The Misanthrope (West End) and The Spanish Tragedy (Arcola).

Angus WrightAngus Wright plays Gaev. His last appearance at the Young Vic was in Katie Mitchell’s sold-out children’s show The Cat in the Hat. He has performed in Katie’s productions of Wastwater (Royal Court); The Seagull, Dream Play, Three Sisters and The Dybbuk at the National Theatre. Stage credits also include Privates on Parade (West End), Complicite’s The Master and Margarita and Measure for Measure, and Design for Living (Old Vic). More recently he performed in the all-male double bill of Twelfth Night and Richard III, which played on Broadway after its Globe and West End runs.

Gawn GraingerGawn Grainger plays Firs. His extensive stage credits include 20 productions for the National Theatre including: A Small Family BusinessA Woman Killed With Kindness…some trace of her, Saturday Sunday Monday and The Seagull. Past work on stage also includes: Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), Onassis (West End), The Recruiting Officer (Donmar), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Almeida) and Amy’s View (Theatre Royal Bath).

Paul HiltonPaul Hilton returns to the Young Vic to play Peter Trofimov. He was last on stage at the theatre in David Lan’s production of The Daughter in Law. Stage work also includes Rufus Norris’ The Table (NT) and Dr Dee (ENO); Doctor Faustus (Globe); Howard Davies’ The President of an Empty Room and Mourning Becomes Electra (NT); Katie Mitchell’s Three Sisters (NT); Michael Grandage’s The Wild Duck (Donmar).

The cast also includes:

Natalie KlamarNatalie Klamar as Varya




Sarah MalinSarah Malin as Charlotte Ivanovna




Tom MothersdaleTom Mothersdale as Yasha




Sarah RidgewaySarah Ridgeway as Dunyasha




Hugh SkinnerHugh Skinner as Yepihodov




Catrin Stewartand Catrin Stewart as Anya




The Cherry Orchard begins 10 October. Tickets from £10 for all performances. Book now at


How do you explore the inner workings of the mind on stage?

Arts writer James Woodall, who recently interviewed Peter Brook in Paris, discusses the themes of The Valley of Astonishment and Peter’s previous work…


To create theatre based on one of our more imprecise faculties, memory, might seem a bit like trying to make a painting of the sky, or compose a symphony based on silence. In devising The Valley of Astonishment Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne have, however, had an ample dose of the very component that gives memory its shape: time.

Some seeing this new show might recall seeing just over twenty years ago a wonderful play from the Bouffes du Nord, also exploring the mind, called The Man Who. It was inspired by neurologist Oliver Sacks’s 1985 book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. That book’s, and the play’s, subject was individuals with extraordinary mental conditions, more physical than psychological, in which their brains played debilitating tricks on them. The eponymous man who mistook his wife for a hat was afflicted with visual agnosia, able to identify familiar objects only through the music with which he associated them.

That quiet play was the opposite of Peter Brook’s tumultuous dramatisation of the Indian epic, The Mahabharata, premiered in southern France in 1985, and first staged in English in Glasgow two and a half years later. Yet The Man Who was, like the ten-years-gestated Mahabharata – and like so much of Peter’s theatre – minted from extensive research and concentrated hours of reading, discussion and improvisation. As is The Valley of Astonishment.

None other than the late Harold Pinter had handed Peter a copy, probably in the late 1970s, of Sacks’s book Awakenings (1973), about patients returning to normal life after decades in a strange state of sleeping sickness that struck after the First World War. “This is remarkable, you must read it,” Peter remembers Pinter saying. (Pinter also wrote a play, A Kind of Alaska, inspired by Awakenings. The Robert de Niro-Robin Williams film version of the book appeared in 1990.) Peter also managed, with his legendary persuasiveness, to get Sacks to consult with his Paris troupe over the twelve months or so while The Man Who was put together.

Ideas had taken root and a process begun. Nothing of Peter Brook’s ever arrives ready-made. With a mind that still teems with familiarising metaphors, he likens his work to what you do in the kitchen.

“We listen and reconstruct a certain condition, trying it out until gradually – for me this is the basis of all work – you have form, as in cooking. It’s the end of a process. Until you’ve actually taken it out of the oven you can’t know how it’s crystallised. You might have a recipe but you never start with the form.”

A fair guess is that Peter has been thinking about how to “stage the brain” for over thirty years. On the way to The Valley of Astonishment, there have of course been famous theatrical forays into South Africa (The Suit and Sizwe Banzi is Dead), Shakespeare (The Tempest and Hamlet), Mozart (Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute) and Mali (Tierno Bokar).

But a crucial staging post on the road to tonight was a 1998 production seen neither in English nor in Britain, Je suis un phénomène (“I am a phenomenon”). In this warm portrayal of Solomon Shereshevsky, a Russian journalist active in the 1920s and 1930s (played sixteen years ago by Maurice Bénichou), Peter’s investigations into neurology took an exuberant turn. Shereshevsky could, simply, remember everything; his story was from The Mind of a Mnemonist (1968), by neuropsychologist Alexander Luria (a hero, as it happens, for Oliver Sacks). Shereshevsky’s life as a mnemonist-in-public resembled, as Je suis un phénomène beautifully displayed, a circus.

“He ended,” says Peter, “a very unhappy man. He got caught up in performing, and developed a greater and greater terror of each performance not being up to standard. Just like an old actor, he felt such suffering if it wasn’t a good performance, and such relief if it was.” In Je suis un phénomène, Shereshevsky became a victim of his own freakishness: the play’s exploration of a vast memory hinted finally at human tragedy – but with no melodrama and certainly no overstatement.

It is thus to reveal no great secret that a certain amount of the 1998 French play turns up in the 2014 English one. Importantly, The Valley of Astonishment is lighter (in all senses), yet more diffuse than its predecessor, perhaps even more compellingly theatrical – and funnier. Je suis un phénomène was in fact originally intended to be a film; in its journey to The Valley of Astonishment, Peter attributes much of the re-transformation to his close collaborator.

“None of it,” he explains, “is directly from Luria’s book or from our old film script. What we’ve gleaned from them has been rewritten by Marie-Hélène, not least of all in the protagonist going from a man to a woman. The ideal person for this was Kathryn Hunter. The journalist she plays, Sammy Costas, is a very different figure from Shereshevsky. In our new story we’ve found a way for her to get to a point where she is liberated.”

So the story has moved on. And the one that Kathryn Hunter tells in this vibrant play, together with her two fellow actors, Marcello Magni and Jared McNeill, will, with such elegance and the minimum of fuss, astonish…

James Woodall


The Valley of Astonishment opens at the Young Vic on 20 June and runs until 12 July. Click here to see pictures from the show or visit to book tickets.

You can read James’ interview with Peter Brook in the programme for The Valley of Astonishment, available before each performance for £3.

Now Is The Time To Say Nothing

Caroline Williams, director of Taking Part’s astonishing parallel production Now Is The Time To Say Nothing, tells us more about the making of the show. 


Photo by Helen Murray

“The audition for this project was not entirely what one might expect from a casting at a theatre – singing and dancing were not on the agenda. Our quest was to find a group of young people who were brave enough to work together to ask difficult and (perhaps more scarily) simple questions. We were set to make a sound and film installation – our topic was the war in Syria and how experiencing this conflict through various screens, laptops and televisions effects our relationship with the conflict.

Before we began the process, I had seen Reem Karssli’s film Every Day, Every Day. Compared to the officious news reports on Syria, Reem’s piece is painfully human in its portrayal of the humdrum reality of living in a conflict. The film is full of beautiful quiet moments but two stuck out: one in which Reem’s sister folds her washing and in a quiet, non-dramatic way explains that she’s lost all hope, another is a rare moment when it snows and Reem is able to go out into the snow and film without fear of bombs or gunfire. After a few crackly Skype calls with the very warm and articulate Reem she excitedly agreed to take part in our project at the Young Vic. Reem was now living safely in Jordan and would allow us to use her footage in our piece as well as be available to devise new material.


Photo by Helen Murray

I had chosen a set in which we played with the experience of watching television. I was interested in thinking about how you could make something on the screen appear to be living in the space, an inkling early on told me that this moment would involve snow. Video artist May Abdalla and sound artist Keir Vine recorded the rehearsals as we introduced the young people to wireless headsets and the technical language of the piece. We learnt about Syria and explored the different media devices through which we hear about conflict abroad. During the first week the group watched Reem’s film and then met her on Skype. They asked Reem questions about Syria and about her life and family. After meeting her the group felt compelled to do something to help. We devised an art action that was performed in Hyde Park.  The group found that it was hard to engage people passing by when, unlike them, they didn’t know someone in Syria.  At one point one of the group asked ‘how do we make a story where everybody believes they know someone in Syria and that the story is about them?’ We set out to try and write one, playing with a story being second person – how could we hypnotise the audience into believing the story was about them?

Two weeks before our show opened Reem told us she had decided to go back into Syria. Her decision suddenly made our piece feel even more urgent. On a practical level we still had a lot of recording to do with her and would need to now navigate power cuts and a bad internet connection. From Reem’s point of view she was now directly facing the fear and limitations to her freedom that her film had first shown us. If before our piece had seemed important it now took on an even clearer personal resonance – we had to make it good, for Reem. Watching the young people’s faces as they listened to what they had made was unforgettable. We all wished somehow that Reem could have seen it too.”

Benedict Andrews launches his first poetry collection at the Young Vic

On Friday 13 June, Benedict Andrews will launch his first poetry collection Lens Flare at the Young Vic.

‘Benedict Andrews is one of the original imaginations of Australian theatre. For ten years now he has been applying his complex startling vision to some of our dramatic literature, as well as illuminating new writing, both nationally and internationally. His work is marked by the intense and fragile beauty of its imagery and the sense of deep metaphor lying beneath the narrative surface. In an artform that needs to be both popular and pragmatic, Benedict manages to remain that rare thing: a poet.’
Neil Armfield

Benedict will direct A Streetcar Named Desire here this summer, and was last at the Young Vic with his ‘absurdly good’ (four stars, Evening Standard) Three Sisters in 2012. To find out more about his first poetry collection, click here.

The launch for Lens Flare will take place on Friday 13 June from 5.30pm – 7.30pm in the Clare at the Young Vic. If you’d like to join us, please RSVP to

11 Questions with the cast of A View from the Bridge – Jonah Russell

Photo by Jan Versweyveld.As A View from the Bridge comes to a close this weekend, Jonah Russell, who plays the Officer, answers our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in A View from the Bridge in three words?
Looks like me.

What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?
Phoebe Fox’s hair – she doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
Attempts On Her Life, Martin Crimp.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Egg nog.

What is your favourite word?

What are you most passionate about?
David Lynch: his work, hair and coffee.

If the days were 28 hours long what would you do with the extra 4 hours?
Re-design the clock face.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?

Dogs or cats?
Dogs if you’re crossing the polar ice cap, cats if you have a mice/rats problem.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
Wild West – I like check shirts.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
I’d be Upgrade Man – so I’d always get first class on flights and good mobile phones.

A View from the Bridge closes this Saturday at the Young Vic and tickets are now sold out. You can watch the trailer for the show here.