The Emperor | Rehearsals are under way

They’re back! The “physically remarkable” Kathryn Hunter reunites with Director Walter Meierjohann and Colin Teevan, following their critical and popular hit Kafka’s Monkey for the world premiere of The Emperor. Based on the book by Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński and adapted by Colin Teevan, rehearsals are under way and we couldn’t be more excited.

Kathryn Hunter in rehearsal for The Emperor ©  Sarah Leech, HOME Manchester-3
Kathryn Hunter in rehearsal for The Emperor. Photo by Sarah Leech

The Emperor is a tale of an autocratic ruler’s regime beginning to crumble. We witness the downfall and debris through the eyes of his staff: a catalogue of characters created by award-winning actor Kathryn Hunter. Exploring the artifice of absolute power, The Emperor features live music performed by Temesgen Zeleke.

Directed by Walter Meierjohann and adapted by Colin Teevan, The Emperor is designed by Ti Green, with movement by Imogen Knight, light by Mike Gunning, sound by Paul Arditti, video by Louis Price and music by Dave Price. Following its premiere at the Young Vic, The Emperor will run at HOME, Manchester Wednesday 28 September – Saturday 8 October and at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg 12 – 14 October 2016.

Check out our behind the scenes chat with Kathryn Hunter, accompanied by the sweet tunes of  Temesgen Zeleke.

For tickets to The Emperor, please call our Box Office on the day of performance. To keep up to date with all the latest news and updates, please do sign up to our newsletter.

Praise for Kafka’s Monkey:

“Ms. Hunter’s performance is perhaps the most physically remarkable I’ve ever seen on a stage.”
The New York Times on Kafka’s Monkey

“If Kathryn Hunter’s performance as ape-turned-variety-performer Red Peter were merely physically impressive, it would be startling enough […] But Hunter is as agile intellectually as she is physically.”
The Guardian on Kafka’s Monkey


Parallel Yerma | In rehearsals with the cast

The Taking Part team at the Young Vic hold workshops, events or productions in response to many of our shows and their themes throughout the year. Taking Part’s parallel productions are led by professional creative teams and the cast is made up of people from our local boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.

Led by director Cat Shoobridge, Parallel Yerma is bringing the translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s original Yerma to life with a cast of 13 young women aged 14-19.

“Throughout the process we have been exploring the ingredients Lorca used in making his own theatre; notably live music, singing and chorus”, Cat explained. “Our production aims to articulate the timeless significance of this story, whilst putting the female voice and experience at it’s heart.”

The Maria studio has been transformed by our production team, with design by Jemima Robinson. Over three shows on 19-20 Sept, the cast of young women will take to the stage, reproducing Lorca’s classic just meters away from a very different, modern adaptation.


The Parallel Yerma set, designed by Jemima Robinson.

To find out more about the work of our Taking Part department, head to

“An extraordinary theatrical triumph” ★★★★★ for Yerma

Billie Piper (Her) in Yerma at the Young Vic. Photo by Johan Persson

Billie Piper (Her) in Yerma at the Young Vic. Photo by Johan Persson.

Simon Stone’s radically modern adaptation of Lorca’s achingly powerful masterpiece has received incredible feedback. Yerma runs through until 24 Sept. Find out what audiences have been saying.

“An extraordinary theatrical triumph”
The Times – read the full review.

“A shatteringly powerful reinvention of a familiar classic”
“from Billie Piper a central performance of such devastating emotional force that I wasn’t surprised to discover myself still visibly shaking from its effects on the Tube afterwards.”
The Independent – read the full review.

“What’s remarkable about Stone’s interpretation is its combination of technical rigour and moments of deeply uncomfortable humour. “
“It’s the quality of the performances that makes this a riveting hundred minutes, and Billie Piper is on raw, ferocious, spellbinding form.”
The Evening Standard – read the full review.

“Billie Piper is astonishing – everything about this production is on-point”
iNews – read the full review.

“Brilliantly staged by the author and impeccably acted throughout, it is a triumph”
“Ms Piper’s gut-wrenching performance in the best play I have seen this year that will remain indelibly stamped upon my heart”

The Sun – read the full review.

“Billie Piper makes a shattering Yerma in Simon Stone’s inspired reworking of Lorca”
The Observer – read the full review 

“Brutal yet ferociously funny”

“This is unmissable, for the brilliant performances, the astonishing set-changes and the music”
Mail on Sunday

“Lizzie Clachan’s design is a reminder that the Young Vic is a place where theatre magic happens”
Time Out – read the full review.

“A sharply witty, slangily modern updating – you can’t take your eyes off Billie Piper”
The Daily Mail – read the full review.

“Piper gives a devastatingly powerful performance”
The Daily Telegraph – read the full review

“An electrifying theatrical experience”
Daily Express – read the full review

“Merciless and mesmerizing”
The New York Times – read the full review

“Wonderfully bold and sensitive writing and direction from Simon Stone”
The Sunday Times – read the full review

“Brendan Cowell brings great sympathy to the role of duffer husband John, Charlotte Randle is skittishly appealing as accidentally fertile sister Mary and many of the show’s swiftly diminishing moments of humour come from Maureen Beattie’s inspired Helen, the women’s no-nonsense mother.”
Financial Times – read the full review 

“Splendidly acted on Lizzie Clachan’s elegant minimalist set”
Sunday Express – read the full review

Head to our facebook page to take a look at more production photos.

Now We Are Here – Reviews

Golda Rosheuvel in Now We Are Here at the Young Vic. Photo by HelenMurray (2).

Golda Rosheuvel in Now We Are Here | Photo by Helen Murray

We’re sad about the fact it’s over, but definitely not sad about the reception it received. The reviews are in for our new Taking Part play Now We Are Here – a brave collaboration of true stories written by four refugees and the award-winning poet and spoken word artist Deanna Rodger.  Take a look below to see what critics made of the show.

“This is seductive theatre, persuasive protest – the stories will haunt you”
The Times – read the full review here.

“Simple but starkly affecting – anyone still in any doubt about theatre’s ability to tackle the pressing stories of the day should acquaint themselves sharpish with the Young Vic’s wholly admirable Horizons season”
The Evening Standard – read the full review here.


The Cast of Now We Are Here | Photo by Helen Murray

“Ian Rickson directs this sensitive, compelling production which strips away everything but the bare minimum needed for these voices to be heard”
The Independent – read the full review here.

“It is absolutely paramount that more of these stories are told so that we are not desensitised by dehumanising statistics and relentless news reports. […] These beautifully told stories with humour and wit are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Theatre News – read the full review here.

“One takes away from “Now We Are Here” great pride in the courage of the individuals presented alongside an abiding wish that an often unforgiving world can — or will — just let them be.”
The New York Times – read the review here.

The Nest | Cast announcement and PJ Harvey composing original score

We’re delighted to announce that Caoilfhionn Dunne and Laurence Kinlan will both make their Young Vic débuts in Conor McPherson’s new translation of Franz Xaver Kroetz’s The Nest this October at the YV Two-time Mercury Award Winning artist, PJ Harvey will be composing an original score with James Johnston accompanying her on the recording for Ian Rickson’s production.


Caoilfhionn Dunne and Laurence Kinlan

Caoilfhionn Dunne and Laurence Kinlan

Caoilfhionn Dunne
Theatre credits include:
Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive and Fathers and Sons (Donmar Warehouse); Wild (Hampstead); Forever Yours, Mary-Lou (Ustinov, Bath); Our Country’s Good, The Veil (National Theatre); King Lear, Christ Deliver Us!, The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant (Abbey); Pineapple, 10 Dates with Mad Mary (Calipo); Plasticine (Corcadorca); La Dispute (Peacock); Playboy of the Western World (Druid USA tour); The Sanctuary Lamp (b*spoke Theatre Company); Bent (Smock Alley); Macbeth (Siren Prods) and Caligula (Rough Magic Seeds III; nominated for Best Actress at the Dublin Fringe Festival Awards).
Film credits include: In View, Wrath of the Titans, Walls, Corduroy, Little White Lies, Get with the Programme and Posession.
Television credits include: Love/Hate III/IV/V, Vexed II and Radio Garda.

Laurence Kinlan
Theatre credits include: The Cripple of Inishmaan (Druid); The Playboy of the Western World, The Plough and the Stars (Abbey); Poor Beast in the Rain, The Threepenny Opera (Gate); Saved (Peacock) and The Night Alive (Gaiety Theatre).
Film credits include: Ned Kelly, Veronica Guerin, Intermission, Angela’s Ashes, Saltwater, Everlasting Piece, Last Days in Dublin, On The Nose, Breakfast on Pluto, The Guard and Soft Sand, Blue Sea.
Television credits include: Love/Hate and Charlie.

PJ Harvey photo credit Seamus Murphy (IMG_1149 high res).jpg

Photo by Seamus Murphy

PJ Harvey has released nine critically acclaimed albums, been nominated for six Grammy Awards, and is the only artist to have been awarded the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize twice (for the albums Stories from the City, Stories From The Sea and Let England Shake). The Hope Six Demolition Project, released this April, reached #1 in the UK Album Charts. Her previous collaborations with director Ian Rickson include original scores for Hedda Gabler (American Airlines Theatre), Ophelia for Hamlet (Young Vic) and the 2014 production of Electra (Old Vic). Harvey has contributed original music to soundtracks including for Mark Cousins’ What’s This Film Called Love?, Tim Robbins’ The Cradle Will Rock, Julian Schnabel’s Basquiat and the BBC2 television series Peaky Blinders. PJ Harvey’s first collection of poetry titled The Hollow of the Hand, in collaboration with photographer Seamus Murphy, was published by Bloomsbury in October 2015.

The Nest by Franz Xaver Kroetz, in a new translation by Conor McPherson, is directed by Ian Rickson and runs 28 October – 26 November in the Young Vic’s Maria. 
Find out more and book your tickets today.

Federico García Lorca | 7 things you might know already but are still pretty interesting

Federico García Lorca, writer of Yerma, is one of Spain’s most celebrated writers. Born in Granada, he travelled a lot in Spain as a young man, and to the US. He was a prominent member of Spain’s Generation of ’27, who explored futurism, surrealism, and symbolism across many art forms. He was possibly killed by nationalist Franco supporters aged 38, most likely due to his political affiliations.

Federico García Lorca

Here are 7 things you might already know about the man but will want to read again…

  1. Lorca published his first book, aged 19, called Impresiones y Viajes (Impressions and Travel) was a series of musings on his travels around Spain, celebrating Spanish culture and criticising poverty.
  2. Lorca took nine years to finish his Bachelors degree, initially planning to become a musician or composer before focusing on writing.
  3. His first play, (The Butterfly’s Evil Spell) was based on a love between a butterfly and a cockroach.
  4. He was a friend, collaborator and possible lover of Salvador Dali during the 1920s – Dali designed the stage for the first production of Lorca’s Mariana Pineda in Barcelona in 1927.
  5. Lorca wrote a short [screen]play about silent movie star Buster Keaton El paseo de Buster Keaton (Buster Keaton goes for a stroll) in 1928.
  6. In August 1936 Lorca was assassinated by supporters of General Franco, one of thousands being killed by nationalists across Spain. His body has never been found.
  7. Blood Wedding (Bodas de sangre) and Mariana Pineda were the only of Lorca’s plays which were published in his lifetime.

Continue reading

Queen of Syria – reviews

Rehearsals for Queens of Syria. Photo by Deema Dabis.jpg

“I have a scream I have to let out. I want the world to hear it.”

The reviews are in for Queens of Syria an extraordinary modern retelling of Euripides’ Trojan Women by a group of Syrian women. Take a look below to see what critics make of the show.

“A raw reminder of our common humanity, hitting an extraordinary pitch of intensity”
The Times – read the full review here.

“A terribly moving show for theatregoers but, most importantly, for members of the human race”
The Evening Standard – read the full review here.

“An eloquent re-working of an ancient text – intense, compelling and humbling”
The Independent – read the full review here.

“It’s a piece full of pain and longing —but there is icy, humbling rage here too”
Financial Times – read the full review here.


Queens of Syria runs at the Young Vic now until 9 July and then goes on a UK tour. More info below:

11 – 12 July 2016
The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Oxford, OX2 7JN
13 – 14 July 2016
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Gardner Centre Road Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RA
15 – 16 July 2016
Everyman Playhouse, 5-11 Hope St, Liverpool L1 9BH
18 July 2016
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UP
19 – 20 July 2016
Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9SU
21 July 2016
Assembly Rooms, 40 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3ET
24 July 2016
New London Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5PW