Bronx Gothic | Production Photos

Part theatre, part dance and part visual art installation, Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic delves into her memories of growing up in the Bronx, before emerging into a breathtaking exploration of girlhood. Directed by Peter Born.

This UK premiere is now running at the Young Vic until 29 June.
Book tickets now from just £10.

Photography credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Bronx Gothic is now running at the Young Vic until 29 June. Book tickets from £10.

Death of a Salesman | Rehearsal Photos

Take a look inside the rehearsal room for our highly anticipated production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman directed by Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell which opens for previews this week.

Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Suits, Selma) makes his UK stage debut as Willy Loman, with Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke as Linda Loman and Arinzé Kene (Misty, Been So Long) as Biff Loman and Martins Imhangbe as Happy Loman.

Cast includes Ian Bonar, Sharon D. Clarke, Trevor Cooper, Martins Imhangbe, Arinzé Kene, Joseph Mydell, Nenda Neurer, Wendell Pierce, Jennifer Saayeng, Matthew Seadon-Young, Maggie Service and Femi Temowo.

Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Young Vic

DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Rehearsals

Death of a Salesman runs at the Young Vic from 1 May 2019.

Director Marianne Elliott and Miranda
Designer Anna Fleischle
Lighting Designer Aideen Malone
Sound Designer Carolyn Downing
Casting Director Charlotte Sutton CDG
Voice and Dialect Coach Hazel Holder
Fight Director Yarit Dor

With Ian Bonar, Sharon D. Clarke, Trevor Cooper, Martins Imhangbe, Arinzé Kene, Joseph Mydell, Nenda Neurer, Wendell Pierce, Jennifer Saayeng, Matthew Seadon-Young, Maggie Service and Femi Temowo.

Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train | Creating Costume

Kinnetia Isidore is the costume designer behind our production of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train directed by Kate Hewitt. We asked her to give us an insight into the creative design process from script to stage.

Mood Boards

My costume design journey always begins with mood boards. Once I have read the script I like to begin by responding visually, this helps to spark ideas and begins to inform my design choices. Costume design, for me, is really about the psychology of the characters in a play, I really like to get into their heads and interrogate the choices they make in their clothing. I spend a lot of time looking at the setting of the play and trying to imagine what the characters would see on a daily basis. There is a very strong colour theme that came through in all of my mood boards for Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train. I took this from aerial shots of Rikers Island, in New York. This is the main setting of the play and all of our characters experience the brutality and starkness of the prison island.

The Inmates

Jesus Hopped The A Train at the Young Vic

In a way, the costume design for this show was very limited due to 4/5 of the cast members wearing uniforms. We have a lawyer, two inmates and two correctional officers. As the set design was very minimalist Kate Hewitt and I felt that the costumes should be hyper-real. This meant sourcing genuine US prisoner uniforms to help bring our UK audience into the world of a New York prison. My costume supervisor, Rosey Morling, did an amazing job of managing to get hold of several sets of inmate and correctional officer uniforms, even sourcing genuine tool belts and accessories for the officers.

To achieve the filmic detail in the costumes I spent a lot of time researching how inmate uniforms are cared for and laundered. I discovered it is the inmates who are able to gain the ‘privilege’ of doing laundry duty. You do not get the same uniform back when it goes into the wash and are penalised for any attempt to mark or label the garments. Items are built to last but washed at soaring temperatures, giving them their saggy, worn out look. Our fabulous breakdown artist, Anna Smith, carried out the painstaking task of very gently wearing all of the uniforms down to look aged.

Reference Image

Reference image for Rikers inmates.

‘Jonathan holding pruning shears, GreenHouse Program’. All photographs made at the Rikers Island jail complex, New York, 2014. Copyright the artist and courtesy Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York. Lucas Foglia, Rikers Garden. Prison Nation, Aperture 230, Aperture Spring 2018, Publication No.: 0003-6420.

Angel Cruz, played by Ukweli Roach

Jesus Hopped The A Train at the Young Vic

Angel Cruz is our 30 year old bike messenger who has been incarcerated for shooting a cult leader reverend in the ass, on a mission to save his friend from a cult. Angel begins his journey in Manhattan Correctional Center, ‘The Tombs’ in New York. We meet him on his first night of incarceration, when he is feeling vulnerable, as a new inmate.

My reference images for his costume came from a leaked Instagram video, recorded in 2016 by some inmates incarcerated in ‘The Tombs’. Rather than the classic orange jumpsuits that we are so used to seeing, inmates there wear a variety of beige two pieces with the option of a t-shirt and a raglan sleeve jumper. Sadly the inmates often wear jumpers for protection from attacks while they sleep, rather than for warmth. Angel starts off in a jumper and removes it later on when he meets Mary Jane for the second time and is feeling more relaxed. He also starts wearing his trousers a little lower and begins to roll up the hems, taking on a bit of influence from prison style.

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Halfway through Act I Angel is moved to the notorious Rikers Island prison complex in New York. He exits the stage and does a quick change into his new orange inmate uniform. The orange uniforms have far more notoriety than any other colour and Kate and I had long discussions about the subconscious affect this would have on a UK audience. We are continually bombarded with US prison documentaries and TV shows, such as Orange is the New Black and we wanted to make sure we were making the right decision for the play. In the end, we decided on orange because we felt that Angel re-appearing in orange held such power over the emotion of the audience in that moment.

Angel goes on a slow journey of subconscious costuming as he gains confidence in Rikers and begins speaking back to the dominating serial killer, Lucius Jenkins. When he first enters Rikers it is after he has been beaten and raped in ‘The Tombs’, Valdez, the correctional officer, refers to him as ‘droopy dog’. He wears his trousers high on his waist and abandons the rolled up trouser cuffs he adopted in ‘The Tombs’. As we move through Act II we see him experimenting with rolling up his sleeves to show more muscle, wearing his trousers lower and tucking them into his socks (a style worn by adolescents in Rikers).

Reference image for Angel Cruz trouser styling
https://www.youtube.com/watchv=XQBsPTRLe4s&index=8&list=PLCCke8mUTs3ldQOhjIN6tn1zg6jkW2Q04&t=343s

As an inmate you have a huge amount of your identity taken away from you when you are confined to wearing a uniform. Many inmates find ways to find identity in their clothing by adopting accessories. Angel wears a small diamond in his ear and sports Mary of Guadalupe tattoo on his left arm that we imagine he got for ‘protection’. His St. Anthony chain is revealed in the final moments of the play during Angel’s speech, “Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around, somethin’ is lost…”. This is a small detail that ties him to his public defender, Mary Jane, as she wears a small St. Christopher chain around her neck.

Reference image for Angel Cruz

To achieve the right look for Angel’s hair and facial hair I looked at a collection of works by Bruce Davidson. Davidson is a photographer who captured communities in East Harlem, inhabited by a large community of Puerto Ricans. Melissa Van Tongeran carefully followed a selection of reference images to create the final looks for Angel, Valdez, D’Amico and Lucius. Reference image for Angel Cruz’s hair

Angel's_hair

Bruce Davidson, East Harlem Revisited – Jefferson Pool, East Harlem, New York, 1998

Lucius Jenkins played by Oberon K. A. Adjepong

Jesus Hopped The A Train at the Young Vic
Lucius Jenkins is the charismatic born again serial killer who charms us through the play and shocks us with his attitude towards the brutality of his crimes. Lucius is an old hand in the prison game and has been incarcerated for a long time. He bends the rules a bit and manages to charm Officer D’Amico into sneaking him in all sorts of contraband.

Lucius wears an orange jumpsuit throughout the play. In the documentaries I watched, to research Rikers Island, it was noted that the older inmates tended to choose to wear jumpsuits and the younger inmates tended to choose two piece uniforms. New inmates feel safer in the two piece uniforms and find dressing and undressing an easier task, hence why our new inmate, Angel, wears a two piece. Lucius bends the rules a little by wearing a vest instead of the standard issue prison t-shirt. When we first meet him he is wearing a flashy pair of trainers which he loses when the strict rule-abiding Valdez takes over from the softer D’Amico. He wears his jumpsuit around his waist in his first few scenes and proudly sports not one, but two rosaries around his neck. Later on in the play, when he begins to get worn down in the run up to his execution, Lucius begins wearing his jumpsuit fully closed, as if he is shrinking away and losing his power.

The Correctional Officers

In Rikers Island, neither correctional officer uniforms nor inmate uniforms have changed much since the 1980s. Much of my research came from the writing and photographs of Lorenzo Steele Jr. and Jamel Shabazz, both correctional officers who worked in Rikers from the 1980s – 1990s. I found it fascinating to compare these photographs to the live imagery I found watching documentaries about Rikers, noting just how similar and static the uniforms were over such a long period of time.

My supervisor and I managed to source the genuine standard issue officers shirts and trousers for Valdez and D’Amico. Buying genuine officer badges was not an option so we had to be clever and re-create them. We had the arm patches embroidered using a graphic image of the ‘Correction Department City of New York’ logo. To create the unit ID on the collars and the officer ID badges Tony A Wood managed to mock up a shape for them, using templates, 3D printed them and applied a finish using silver leaf to make them look like real metal. The collar unit ID badges read ‘GRVC’ which stands for the ‘George R. Vierno Center’. This centre on Rikers Island is notorious for violent crime and hosts a 23 hour lockdown unit.

To find out which accessories an officer carried, I watched a lot of footage of officers in action, particularly a clip from ABC News, ‘Correctional Officer, A Day in the Life’, which follows Officer Graham going about his daily routine in a solitary confinement unit on Rikers Island. Most shockingly correctional officers do not carry weapons. We managed to source the genuine holders for handcuffs, torches, inspection gloves and keys.

Valdez played by Joplin Sibtain

Jesus Hopped The A Train at the Young Vic
Valdez is a rule following, law abiding citizen who believes criminals should be punished harshly and held responsible for his crimes. Throughout the play he taunts the prisoners and frequently refers to them as various animals. Although every character in the play is complex, no body holding a morality that is completely black and white, Valdez is often depicted as the ‘bad cop’ officer. To play on this idea, Valdez’s uniform is fully black. His shoes are heavy, suggesting power and dominance, the inmates can hear him coming before he enters. He has the larger of the accessory belts and wears it slung low, almost like a cowboy holster. His officer number, 2215, is taken from a bible verse, which I felt related to his character and some of the text he uses in the play. I felt it also played on the theme of religion in the play. It is a subtle detail that the audience won’t pick up on, but it was something for myself and the actors to think about when creating their characters.

Revelations 22:15, The Holy Bible

“Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

Charlie D’Amico played by Matthew Douglas

D’Amico is a husband and a father, a friendly character who almost marvels at Lucius’ notoriety and celebrity. He sneaks in contraband and enlists his wife to help. D’Amico is often depicted as the ‘good cop’, even though his actions in the play are rather dubious. To play on this idea D’Amico wears a pale blue short sleeved shirt. Blue is said to have a calming effect on the mind and is most often used for nursing uniforms and scrubs in hospitals. Correctional officers face having dreadful things thrown at them on a daily basis: food, urine, faeces…the list is horrifying. D’Amico seems to have managed to charm one of the most dangerous criminals in the 23hour lock-down unit, so I imagine he wouldn’t be worried about covering up his arms for fear of things being hurled at him while on duty. His officer number, 1618, is also taken from a bible verse which I felt related to his character and some of the text he uses in the play.

Romans 16:18, The Holy Bible

“For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.”

Reference image for Charlie D’Amico

Mary Jane Hanrahan played by Dervla Kirwan

Mary Jane Hanrahan is a hard working public defender who earns a small salary but has clawed her way through a male dominated industry to win several cases. She is practical but spunky and I wanted to show this in her costume. Although Mary Jane isn’t confined to wearing a uniform, the restrictions on visitors to prison complexes make her clothing take on a uniform like quality. She and Charlie D’Amico are the only two characters who give us a sense of the period the play is set in, through their costumes. It was important to me that they felt timeless, this story is one that has rung true in the real world for many years and I didn’t want to limit its possibilities with a very modern or a very period costume.

During my research for Mary Jane, I realised that a female public defender would not only be restricted by the visitation regulations on clothing that prisons impose, they often face jibes from male prisoners just because of their gender. In my original design I put her in a boxy, practical two piece suit with a practical pair of loafers. It is neither revealing nor does it draw too much attention to her. While sourcing the costumes my supervisor and I stumbled across the perfect suit for Mary Jane, and it was green! It felt perfect as a subconscious herald to her Irish heritage, which she mentions several times in the play. She wears simple, plain accessories and a St. Christopher chain around her neck. This is to subconsciously draw a connection between her and Angel, as he wears a St. Anthony medallion around his neck.

Visitor information from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

VisitorsPhotoinformation.png

SarahJane

Reference image for Mary Jane: Public Defender Colleen Polak rides an elevator to meet with a client in detention at the St. Louis County Jail in St. Louis, Mo. on Thursday, January 23, 2014. Public defenders take a substantial pay cut in comparison with lawyers who work for private firms. Luke Sharrett, photojournalist for The New York Times. http://sharrett.blogspot.com/2014/05/public-defenders-for-new-york-times.html

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis runs at the Young Vic until 6 April.

Director Kate Hewitt
Set Designer Magda Willi
Costume Designer Kinnetia Isidore
Lighting Designer Guy Hoare
Sound Designer Peter Rice
Movement Director Imogen Knight
UK Casting Director Julia Horan CDG
US Casting Director Jim Carnahan CSA

With Oberon K. A. Adjepong, Matthew Douglas, Dervla Kirwan, Ukweli Roach and Joplin Sibtain

11 Olivier Award Nominations for the Young Vic

We’re thrilled to be celebrating a massive 11 nominations for Young Vic productions in the 2019 Olivier Awards 🎉

Congratulations to all of the nominees – and a huge shout out to everyone involved in bringing all of our productions to the Young Vic stages. You’re all winners to us!

The Inheritance
8 Olivier Award Nominations

Best New Play
Matthew Lopez

Best Director
Stephen Daldry

Best Actor
Kyle Soller

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Vanessa Redgrave

Best Set Design
Bob Crowley

Best Sound Design
Paul Arditti & Christopher Reid

Best Lighting Design
Jon Clark

Outstanding Achievement in Music
Composer: Paul Englishby

Fun Home
3 Olivier Award Nominations

Best New Musical

Best Actor in a Musical – Zubin Varla

Outstanding Achievement in Music
Composer: Jeanine Tesori
Lyricist/Bookwriter: Lisa Kron

The Olivier Award winners are announced Sunday 7 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Jason Manford.

★★★★ ‘This pumping, pounding, pulsing play blazes’ | Reviews Round-Up

Jesus Hopped The A Train

Ukweli Roach and Oberon K. A. Adjepong in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at the Young Vic. Photo by Johan Persson

Reviews for Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train are coming in! Critics are loving this darkly funny yet hard-hitting production by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by Kate Hewitt.

Don’t miss your chance to see this show. Book tickets now.

★★★★ ‘Defiantly spiritual, continually caustic.’ The Observer  | Read the full review

★★★★ This pumping, pounding, pulsing play blazes. Evening Standard  | Read the full review

★★★★ ‘Blistering. A physical punch of a play.The Telegraph

★★★★ Bitingly, blackly funny, and with deathlessly sharp dialogue. Time Out Read the full review

★★★★ Slick and scorching. A powerful piece of work.’ The Stage | Read the full review

★★★★ Fast, furious and brutal prison drama.’ MetroRead the full review

Jesus Hopped The A Train

Matthew Douglas and Oberon K. A. Adjepong in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at the Young Vic. Photo by Johan Persson

★★★★ ‘Engrossing and constantly rivetingWhatsOnStage | Read the full review

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train runs at the Young Vic until 30 March. Find out more and book now.

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train | Production Photos

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis is now running at the Young Vic until 30 March directed by Kate Hewitt. Book tickets from £10.

With Oberon K. A. AdjepongMatthew DouglasDervla KirwanUkweli Roach and Joplin Sibtain

Set Designer Magda Willi
Costume Designer Kinnetia Isidore
Lighting Designer Guy Hoare
Photographer Johan Persson

Ukweli Roach as Angel Cruz and Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins and Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Ukweli Roach as Angel Cruz
Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins and Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Matthew Douglas as Charlie D’Amico and Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins
Ukweli Roach as Angel Cruz and Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins and Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Matthew Douglas as Charlie D’Amico

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis is now running at the Young Vic until 30 March directed by Kate Hewitt. Book tickets from £10.

Set Designer Magda Willi
Costume Designer Kinnetia Isidore
Lighting Designer Guy Hoare

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle

Some of the finest British actors, writers and directors, each with a personal connection to the Windrush story, tell the story of the Afro-Caribbean community in modern-day Britain through a series of monologues to broadcast on BBC FOUR from Sunday 17 Feb at 10pm.

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle is a Young Vic co-production with Douglas Road Productions, in collaboration with BBC ARTS.

Set in the front room of an Afro-Caribbean home, the series explores the highs and lows of one family from the 1940s to the present day through their hopes and desires, challenges and shattered dreams.

Curated by Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah , the series of eight 15-minute monologues is led by four female directors and has been developed by eight leading British writers.

Can love overcome fear? Can perseverance overcome ignorance and racism? What does it cost to belong? Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle challenges our collective understanding of what it means to be part of the Afro-Caribbean community in modern-day Britain.

Danielle Vitalis as Eustice in Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle

Eunice arrives into 1940s England full of hope and ambition, and we follow her dynasty across leaps of a decade to the present day. Each self-contained monologue links to the original arrival of the enthusiastic, young nurse. We hear of Eunice’s baby, conceived out of wedlock with a runaway white doctor, and of Cyrus – her knight in shiny overalls – who offers his heart and loyalty by agreeing to marry her and put his name on the child’s birth certificate, despite the fact that Eunice doesn’t love him.

“Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle is a wonderful entry point for anyone who wishes to take the psychic temperature of a diaspora generation. I’m proud to be associated with this project and I hope you enjoy it. We tell these stories because they are a gateway to understanding for our children.” – Sir Lenny Henry

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic theatre, brings together some of the finest British actors, writers and directors, each with a personal connection to the Windrush story, to tell the tale through a series of deeply emotive monologues.

The impressive cast of nine includes Vinette Robinson (Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Sherlock) as Yvonne; Sir Lenny Henry (The Long Song, Broadchurch) as the older Cyrus; and Montserrat Lombard (Upstart Crow, Ashes To Ashes, Love Soup) in the role of Samantha.

Gamba Cole as Malcolm and Elliot Barnes-Worrell as David
Gamba Cole as Malcolm and Elliot Barnes-Worrell as David

A number of rising stars feature in the younger roles: Danielle Vitalis (Attack the Block, Youngers, Afro Punk Girl) as Eunice; Clifford Samuel (McMafia, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and A Guide For The Homesick) as young Cyrus; Gamba Cole (Damilola: Our Loved Boy, Guerilla, Lucky Man) as Malcolm and Elliot Barnes-Worrell (Poirot, Jericho, Ready Player One) as David. Whilst, Jonathan Jules (Invasion Earth, The Battle Within, Dave Allen at Peace) plays the role of Kev, and, Olivia-Mai Barrett (Disney’s Alex & Co, Penny on MARS) is Michaela.

“This has been an incredibly personal project for me: as a storyteller I’ve felt a huge sense of responsibility in exploring this history. Having the chance to honour my late parents and the pioneering Windrush immigrants – as a generation begins to slip away – has felt incredibly moving. I hope that the series will draw viewers to question their own story and how we collectively move forward.” –
Kwame Kwei-Armah

The team of leading writers for television and stage includes Carmen Harris (EastEnders, The Crouches, Family Affairs); Angie Le Mar (Funny Black Women On The Edge, The Brothers, Forty); Roy Williams (Clubland, Sucker Punch); Juliet Gilkes Romero (RSC The Whip, Best Play Award at Writers’ Guild); and Carol Russell (House of Usher, Comin’Atcha, The Story Of Tracy Beaker). With a number of actors composing scripts: Clint Dyer (Royal Court Theatre, Scala Films, Theatre Royal Stratford); Nathaniel Martello-White (Royal Court, Young Vic), and Kwame Kwei-Armah (Artistic Director, the Young Vic).

Vinette Robinson (Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Sherlock) as Yvonne
Vinette Robinson (Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Sherlock) as Yvonne

The all-female team of directors are led by Bafta Award-winning writer-director Tinge Krishnan (Been So Long, The Exorcist TV series), and includes 2013 London Film Festival Best British Newcomer Destiny Ekaragha (Silent Witness, Gone Too Far); Christiana Ebohon-Green (Holby City, Eastenders, Doctors); and Dionne Edwards (We Love Moses, That Girl).

Lamia Dabboussy, BBC Arts, says: “Following the success of Queers and Snatches, it’s fantastic to once again bring television and theatre together in this way, supporting established as well as emerging writers, directors and producers to deliver this highly moving series of stories. It’s been wonderful to work in partnership with the Young Vic theatre and Douglas Road Productions in making this a reality.”

Kwame Kwei-Armah and Sir Lenny Henry
Kwame Kwei-Armah and Sir Lenny Henry

Inspired by Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, join Sir Lenny Henry, Kwame Kwei-Armah and host Afua Hirsch for an evening of lively discussion about the Windrush generation, Afro-Caribbean culture and heritage, and ideas around identity in Britain today. Find out more.

You can watch the series on BBC FOUR from Sunday 17 to Wednesday 20 February at 10pm each evening, or catch up later on BBC iPlayer.