5 stars for A View from the Bridge

A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic.. Photo by Jan Versweyveld.The reviews are in for A View from the Bridge. Read below to find out what the critics think and click here to see the amazing audience response so far.

★★★★★
“Magnetic, electrifying, astonishingly bold”
Evening Standard – read the full review here

★★★★★
“One of the most powerful Miller productions I have ever seen.”
The Telegraph – read the full review here.

★★★★★
“Unforgettable”
The Independent – read the full review here.

★★★★★
“Mark Strong is astonishingly good”
Time Out – read the full review here.

★★★★★
“Not to be missed”
The Times

★★★★
“A visceral, vital reinterpretation of a classic play”
The Observer – read the full review here.

★★★★
“A forceful production of visual brilliance”
The Guardian – read the full review here.

A View from the Bridge runs at the Young Vic until 7 June. To book tickets click here or call 020 7922 2922.

Belarus Free Theatre’s Red Forest research expedition: From Bangladesh to Kolkata

Having spent their first 3 days in Bangladesh, Red Forest’s choreographer Bridget Fiske and lighting designer Andrew Crofts head to India for the next part of their research expedition.

DAY 4: CROSSING INTO INDIA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABF
: We journeyed to the border at Benapole to make the crossing to India. I wasn’t ready to leave Bangladesh. We decided to do the two hours train journey to Kolkata. It’s India, why wouldn’t you?

AC: And we were glad we did. The station and the train itself were colourful and intense; the platforms were more like market places and the carriages full of merchants jumping on and off at each stop.

BF: Arriving there was a new density of sound and of people, a crumbling of footpaths and buildings. The positing of things contemporary, old and ancient into this space – Kolkata.

DAY 5: KOLKATA
stairwellBF
: It’s not fast getting anywhere here. I have never negotiated traffic like it. The cars, rickshaws, motorbikes and tuk-tuks come from all sides. After finding Tablas from what felt like a beautifully authentic music craftsman, we ventured to some galleries to look at Indian artworks. I was interested in the way the body was captured, represented and contextualised. What seemed most evocative in the work I saw, including contemporary works, was that sense of the transcendental.

AC: So, sticking to our respective areas of expertise, I’ll mention the light. It’s thick here, I guess from the dust in the air, hazy and bright enough to make you squint all day. It was similar in Bangladesh as well but in that watery landscape it seemed to come from all directions at once, it was so diffused that things didn’t seem to have shadows. Here it’s a little more solid and you’re grateful for the shade from the tall buildings, especially the gloriously crumbling colonial palaces and deco apartment blocks. We went in to one of these looking for an exhibition, the gallery wasn’t open yet but I was happy enough exploring the dusty old staircase.

DAY 6: KOLKATA

GoddessBF: The goddess of knowledge, music, arts and nature Saraswati was celebrated today, she was vivid and she was everywhere. Music was played loud through the day, night and in the light of the next morning.

AC: All the schools were closed and temporary roadside shrines had popped up everywhere, some small, some large they were like colourful market stalls but containing a statue of Saraswati and offerings of flowers, food and money. We decided to cross the city on foot and take it all in on our way over to Asia’s biggest book-fair.

BF: At the Kolkata Bookfair we spoke with activist health professionals, journalists, artists, academics and writers who have been advocating for environment and health in India for a long time. As I understand more the story of India I hope I can justly articulate more about their work, their passions and their desires for India.

AC: The time came to leave. It was dark now and with no taxis to be found we set off through the dark crowded streets, the festival atmosphere in swing, the roads lit mainly by the lights surrounding the effigies of Saraswati.

More on Bridget and Andrew’s experience can be found on BFT’s website.

Red Forest runs at the Young Vic from 12 June – 5 July, click here to book tickets or find out more.

Presented as part of LIFT 2014, a London-wide festival of performance and international theatre taking place 2 – 29 June. Tickets also available through the LIFT Box Office, where a transaction fee applies. 

All Stones All Sides

IMG_7781As SFH6 BTEC Acting final year students, we were delighted to get the opportunity to participate in the Schools Theatre Festival and perform on the Young Vic stage.

The project began with weekly in-school rehearsals with professional theatre director Finn Beames, assistant director David Gilbert and project manager Georgia Dale. We knew from the start that we would eventually be performing alongside Norwood School, LeSoCo and Lambeth College with a series of short plays by Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett. We never studied Beckett and it became clear that he was unlike any other playwright we had previously performed.

Rehearsals consisted of discussions around staging and character. Finn challenged us to really consider existentialism and connect with the non-naturalistic form Beckett writes in. Our two plays – Catastrophe and Come and Go – are allegories for friendship, control and decay.

The technical process allowed us to experiment independently with our characters through costume and makeup design. We were fully included in and consulted with all creative decisions from length of false nails to the vision for the projections. The tech rehearsal was was a good insight into how professional theatre is put together and we were overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the production and the number of crew and creative team dedicated to our show.

We are excited by and proud of the performances and can’t wait to invite our families and friends to see the finished product – us performing on the professional stage. We see this as a major stepping stone for our future creative careers. We are hugely thankful for this opportunity and the insight it has given us into professional theatre. Thank you Young Vic!

Streetcar ticket update

Streetcar175x245enewsWow! We’re thrilled by the response to today’s announcement. In anticipation of the demand for tickets to A Streetcar Named Desire we have increased server support for our website and have extra people on the box office phones. We’ve had a record number of calls and website visits and lots of happy customers, but we understand that some of you have been experiencing long waits on the phone and difficulty booking online – we hope this won’t be the case for much longer. We recommend avoiding peak times by booking online later tonight, or ringing our Box Office tomorrow and throughout the week. Call waiting times are no more than 30 minutes and our lovely Welcome Team will assist you from 10am to 6pm Monday – Saturday.

Thanks for your patience and for supporting the Young Vic.

11 Questions with the Sizwe Banzi is Dead company – Matthew Xia

2013′s Genesis Future Directors Award-winner Matthew Xia brings his sell-out production of Sizwe Banzi is Dead back to the Young Vic. Here he answers our 11 Questions.

If you had to pick a favourite line from Sizwe Banzi is Dead, which one would it be and why?
“All I’m saying is be a real ghost, if that is what they want, what they’ve turned us into. Spook them into hell man.”
It’s beautifully poetic. I think it conveys both the position of the black man in apartheid era South Africa and the fire of frustration that burns brightly in Buntu’s heart.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
Thomas Ostermier’s captivating production of Hamlet.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Pickled Onion Monster Munch.

What is your favourite word?
Cafuné – A Brazilian Portuguese word which conveys the feeling of running fingers tenderly through a loved ones hair.

What are you most passionate about?
My work.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?
Write that novel I keep harping on about.

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

Favourite city and why?
London – a true cultural melting pot, flavoured by all those who have arrived here over many thousands of years.

Dogs or cats?
Cats. Dogs are far too demanding.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
Ancient Greece, Athens, the birth of Democratic society and the beginnings of modern theatre and philosophy.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
The power to know exactly what my fiancée is thinking at any given time.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead runs at the Young Vic until 15 March . Returns are available in person or by phone. To find out more, click here.

New trailer for Oh My Sweet Land

They call it a civil war, but there is nothing civil in this. Nothing civil at all.

Check out our new trailer for UK premiere Oh My Sweet Land, which comes to the Young Vic from 9 April.

We’ve just released more £10 tickets for previews – book now at http://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/oh-my-sweet-land.

11 Questions with the cast of Sizwe Banzi is Dead – Sibusiso Mamba

SizweBanzi_imageRichardHubertSmith-7438After a sell-out run last year, Sibusiso Mamba returns to the Young Vic to play Sizwe Banzi in Matthew Xia’s production of Sizwe Banzi is Dead. Here are his answers to our 11 Questions…

Can you describe your character in Sizwe Banzi is Dead in three words?
Scared, optimistic and defiant. 

If you had to pick a favourite line from the play, which one would it be and why?
‘You must understand one thing, we own nothing but ourselves, this world and its laws allows us nothing, except ourselves.’ Because it says so much about the human spirit and our ability to see beyond current circumstances, whatever they may be.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Chicken wings. Or anything with chicken.

What is your favourite word?
Yes.

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

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
New Year’s Eve in Corsica.

Favourite city and why?
Manzini. It’s a tiny city in the centre of Swaziland. It’s where I was born and where I grew up. It holds so many precious memories and it was the cradle of all my hopes and dreams. Although, it must be said that I am falling in love with London all over again!

Dogs or cats?
It used to be dogs but now cats are working their way into my heart.

What is your favourite song?
Following the Light by Jonathan Butler.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
To be able to travel at the speed of thought. Wouldn’t it be nice to want to be some place and a thought later, you’re there!

Sizwe Banzi is Dead is on now until 15 March at the Young Vic. Returns available in person/by phone. Click here to find out more.

11 Questions with Sizwe Banzi is Dead’s Taio Lawson

Matthew Xia and Taio Lawson,  Sizwe Banzi is Dead’s Trainee Assistant Director answers our 11 Questions….

If you had to pick a favourite line from the play, which one would it be and why?
‘Her husband got arrested for that thing… I’ll tell you about it later.’ – Because it opens up a story that is never concluded. I love it.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
I can’t eat that late anymore! Got love handles to lose. However, the food I dream of at midnight is Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.

What is your favourite word?
Obfuscation. As it seems to best describe my general, everyday state of mind.

What are you most passionate about?
There are too many things! I can’t answer this without seeming facetious.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the extra 4 hours?
Fill them with appreciation of all my guilty pleasures. I would listen to Hounds of Love on repeat, watch Love Actually and as much of The Lord of the Rings as possible. And read a Lemony Snicket book. Who said men can’t multitask?

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Cup cakes from Magnolia Bakery in New York.

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
Stromboli, Italy. With my brother and father. Seeing that beautiful volcano.

Favourite city and why?
Paris. Bars are open later and it smells like the same french man has gone around the city peeing on everything. I love his dedication to the cause.

What is your favourite song?
Absolutely impossible to pick. But at the moment I have two. The Lottery by The Stepkids and The Memory by Roy Ayres.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
In the late 40s/early 50s so I could have my teens and twenties in the 60s/70s. The music was just too damn good! I would go to so many gigs! Hendrix, Miles Davis, Bobbi Humphreys, Chich, Stanley Clark, Marvin… the list goes on!

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
To be able to control electronic appliances. That way I could turn on my boiler from my bed when I’m trying to get cosy. Or turn the TV off without having to search for the remote, which I always lose. In fact, the ability to always find the remote control!

Taio Lawson is supported through the Boris Karloff Trainee Directors Programme at the Young Vic.

Sizwe Banzi is Dead is on now until 15 March at the Young Vic. Click here to book now or find out more

Belarus Free Theatre’s Red Forest research expedition: 3 days in Bangladesh

Following Trash Cuisine’s success last year, Belarus Free Theatre’s much anticipated new production Red Forest arrives at the Young Vic from 12 June. In preparation for the show, BFT are on a unique research trip that is taking them across the globe. Choreographer Bridget Fiske and Lighting Designer Andrew Crofts tell us about their first stop, Bangladesh, and the stories they uncovered there that will inspire Red Forest.

DAY 1
Bangledesh-300x228BF
: Our first morning in the mega city of Dhaka and it was full of traffic, noise and dust. We visited the Dhaka slum area of Balumart and spoke with three women who are climate refugees from regional Bangladesh.

AC: They took us in to their tiny one-roomed homes, that didn’t have so much as a door, to tell us they came to be there. They had all lost their land, homes and livelihoods in the Bhola and costal regions where rising water levels are destroying the land. These meetings were a tough introduction to what people face when driven to leave their homes. This evening we drove out of the city, starting our journey to some of the areas effected by climate change to see the problems first hand and meet the people living there.

DAY 2
riverbankBF: As we travelled for over two hours on a motorised wooden boat we were confronted by the extent of the river bank erosion. Cascades of earth had obviously moved, fallen away and root systems were massively exposed. This journey led us to two climate refugee resettlement communities.

AC: Here a government scheme had rehoused people and given them a small piece of land to work. The homes were secure and the land seemed so productive with all kinds of fruit and veg growing on every available bit of space; bright green rice fields stretched out from the village and people fished in the small river nearby. One man had been a tailor and also grew rice and vegetables on his land. He spoke of how cruel the river was, how the day his home and land disappeared he’d woken up a ‘king’ but by nightfall he was a beggar. Thanks to the re-housing scheme his family is now secure again.

DAY 3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABF: As we came further south and arrived in Koyra I was struck by how barren the land was. The cracked earth, the mud walls all because of the saline water that had destroyed this once fertile land when Cyclone Aila hit in 2009.

AC: We arrived by boat and swapped on to motorbikes as there are no roads on the island. The bikes were efficient for navigating the maze of paths between what were once rice fields and are now cracked grey pits of muddy clay.

BF: I feel lost for words expressing what happened next. A large community gathering occurred where people shared their testimonies the day of Cyclone Aila; what life was like before and what it has been like since.

AC: There were young and old, men and women; people spoke of the frantic fight to survive and the terrible losses experienced on the day the cyclone hit as well as the ongoing struggle to save the community now their land has been wasted.

BF: The hospitality of communities and people was so incredibly generous. I have become aware of a desire to find ways to return and to support the communities we have met. I hope by starting to share the stories of these people that it will be a beginning to this process.

More on Bridget and Andrew’s experience can be found on BFT’s website.

To book your tickets for Red Forest at the Young Vic, click here.

11 Questions with the cast of Happy Days – Juliet Stevenson

Juliet Stevenson as Winnie in Happy Days. Photo by Johan Persson.

‘Juliet Stevenson lights up the role of Winnie’ (★★★★ The Observer) in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Young Vic until 8 March. She took a little time out from being buried in her mound to answer our 11 Questions

Can you describe your character Winnnie in Happy Days in three words?
Indomitable, lonely, resourceful.  But equally – desperate, funny, optimistic… I am cheating because 3 words don’t do her justice.


What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

On this show I am pre-set, sleeping in my mound,  so ten minutes before the performance begins I am usually clambering up into the set, before taking my ten minute pre-show kip. Not really asleep of course – doing leg and foot stretch exercises underneath the set to keep the circulation going while I wait for the start….

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
Impossible question! Too many contenders… A Dolls House, Yerma, Measure for Measure would be among my favourites worked on… Oh, and Happy Days is right up there now….

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Nutella.

What is your favourite word?
Another impossible one! Cantankerous, melancholy, effervescent… among many others. Come to think about it, this might double as the answer to question number 1.

What are you most passionate about?
Probably the welfare of children – my own and the world’s.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?
Read. I never have the time I would love to have for reading for my own pleasure.

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

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
With my partner Hugh and the children, exploring North Eastern Australia, travelling up the coast and into the rainforest, fishing on the Daintree River, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef – every moment of it was magical.

Favourite city and why?
A toss up between London, Paris and Vancouver. Prague and New York also big contenders.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
I  would say the power to restore life, but unless I kept it mightily secret I imagine I would be overwhelmed by demands to use it. So let’s settle for flight.

Happy Days runs at the Young Vic until Saturday 8 March. Returns and £5 standing tickets are available in person or by phone on 020 7922 2922.