Joint Statement on the Theatre Industry

Following the reports and allegations of the last two weeks, first in America and, more recently, closer to home, we have come together to make clear that there can be no place for sexual harassment or abuse of power in our industry.

We salute the bravery of everyone who calls out this abusive behaviour. We support a theatre culture that empowers people to speak up: a culture where abuse of power is always challenged.

We are committed to working together to ensure that theatre is a safe space for all, where everyone is respected and listened to. The Royal Court Theatre’s Day of Action on Saturday 28 October is one important part of this process.  Together, we are developing further ways to support people to speak up and to hold others to account.

It is the responsibility of the industry to create and nurture a culture where unacceptable behaviour is swiftly challenged and addressed.

We want to be absolutely clear and say again: there is no room for sexual harassment or abuse of power in the theatre.  Everyone deserves to enjoy a happy, healthy and safe working environment. We will support you to speak out, and we will hear you when you do.

Statement from (in alphabetical order)

Almeida Theatre – Rupert Goold, Denise Wood
Battersea Arts Centre – David Jubb
Bridge Theatre – Nicholas Hytner, Nick Starr
Bush Theatre – Madani Younis, Jon Gilchrist
Donmar Warehouse – Josie Rourke, Kate Pakenham
Gate Theatre – Ellen McDougall, Jo Royce
Hampstead Theatre – Edward Hall, Greg Ripley-Duggan
London Theatre Consortium – Emma Rees
Lyric Hammersmith – Sean Holmes, Sian Alexander
National Theatre –  Rufus Norris, Lisa Burger
Old Vic – Matthew Warchus, Kate Varah
Royal Court Theatre – Vicky Featherstone, Lucy Davies
Royal Shakespeare Company – Gregory Doran, Catherine Mallyon
Shakespeare’s Globe – Emma Rice
Soho Theatre – Steve Marmion, Mark Godfrey
SOLT / UK Theatre – Julian Bird
Theatre Royal Stratford East – Nadia Fall, Deborah Sawyerr
Tricycle Theatre – Indhu Rubasingham, Bridget Kalloushi
Young Vic – David Lan, Lucy Woollatt

Lucy Woollatt to step down as Executive Director of Young Vic

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The Board of the Young Vic announced today that Lucy Woollatt will step down as Executive Director of the Young Vic this December. Lucy will be leaving the company after 10 successful years.

Lucy joined the Young Vic as Finance Director in 2008, and was appointed Executive Director in 2010. During her time the company’s income has doubled, the organisation’s structure and profile has been transformed. Four productions have transferred to the West End, one to Broadway and many have toured around the world. The theatre has won six Olivier Awards, four Critics’ Circle Awards, four Evening Standard Theatre Awards and won The Stage Theatre of the Year in 2015. This past summer she was Executive Producer on the sold-out production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at the Apollo Theatre in the West End.

The Young Vic will appoint an interim Executive Director before recruiting for a permanent successor.

Lucy Woollatt says: “My decade at the Young Vic has been the most rewarding in my career to date. I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved night after night at the Young Vic, on tour and in the West End. The appointment of Kwame as Artistic Director is energising and uplifting and I wish him huge success. I would have loved to continue my time at the Young Vic with him, but I have decided that – after 10 years – now is the right time for me to move on to a new challenge. I would like to thank David and the Board for their unconditional support over the past decade.”

David Lan, outgoing Artistic Director says: “For more than half my time at the Young Vic, Lucy has been an ideal Executive Director. Rigorous, imaginative, compassionate, judicious, scrupulous and tremendous fun. Nothing we’ve achieved would have been possible without her willingness to take on all challenges of whatever scale. I’m full of admiration and gratitude.”

Kwame Kwei-Armah, incoming Artistic Director says: “Thanks in no small part to Lucy’s hard work I have inherited a phenomenally successful building to lead. I wish her only the best as she continues her journey.”

For further press information please contact:
Sophie Wilkinson, Press Manager
sophiewilkinson@youngvic.org| 0207 922 2979

Improvising with Chris Heimann and the Young Vic Directors Program

Grace Cordell, a director on the Young Vic Directors Program visited the Young Vic in October to take part in an improvisation workshop facilitated by Chris Heimann. Grace’s travel was paid for by our Go See Fund, part of Reach Out, which aims to support directors based outside of London so they can take part in Young Vic activities and projects.
Grace describes her experience of the (pre-planned) improv workshop…

I was excited by the idea of a workshop purely on improvisation. It’s a lesson that I looked forward to every week whilst training, and now from a directors point of view, I was excited to see how Chris would guide us on how to facilitate this within rehearsal.

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On the tube, I read the initial email through properly- ‘wear movement clothes and be prepared to work barefoot’. The workshop was largely movement based and Chris kept coming back to the balance that needs to be present in order to allow organic response. You must be bold enough to lead, whilst also having the humility to follow. Throughout the session he playfully referred to the magic IF; Michael Chekhov; how Russians think that the English misunderstand Stanislavski.

There wasn’t really the generic meet and greet name game that usually accompanies skill workshops. Chris briefly introduced himself and his work, and then asked two others in the room to do the same, and then we began. Chris’ open nature allowed the room the breathe a sigh of comfortability and jump right in. We started with a warm up that involved individually, listening and responding to our bodies through movement, warming up where and how we wanted to. Following this we got into pairs and were thrown into more specific movement, starting simply with creating and responding to shapes made with our bodies and eventually moving on to fluid movement and then finally into spoken word. The main point that we were reminded of was to respond truthfully, that was our aim and all we needed to focus on. We weaved between partner work and the entire group watching one pair and before each exercise- Chris made sure to remind the group that this wasn’t a performance, there was no judgement, no expectation, the point was simply to respond. I found this extremely freeing, but did feel like the group needed the reminder before every example. Perhaps this was because of the unfamiliarity of the group, or the pressure that often accompanies one off workshops, or simply that the thought that often accompanies improvisation is fear or expectation to be funny, or entertaining, or just something interesting when in fact the only expectation here was much more interestingly, simply to respond to a feeling or sensation rather than a thought.

One thing that struck me about the session was how present I felt throughout. One of the directors expressed the thrill she felt at feeling present today and I think this was shared with most of us in the workshop. There was a lot to take in but only one main focus, to respond, which I think aided the groups ability to really be in the moment. The concept was simple, the exercises were simple and it revolved around truthfully responding. It’s about how you facilitate the actor to achieve this. It’s easy to tell the actor what you want to achieve but it has to come from a place of truthful response for the actor so that it doesn’t inhibit them. You have to find a way to let them find it them-self in order for it to really be truthful.

The 2 1/2 hours felt much shorter and I left the session feeling as though we were just on the cusp- I wanted to see what happened next. The start of the day was a bit nervous and excited, and by the end I felt as though the main thing I’d take away from the day was how beneficial to the process it was to be present and free and non judged, and how easily Chris guided us toward this. I think the most important thing to do in an improvisation session, be it separately, or within rehearsal for a show is to make sure that the actors feel comfortable enough to just respond truthfully and ultimately do nothing else at all. The less thought that goes into it leaves way for more honest reaction through feeling.

Wings: 11 Questions with Nick Gasson

Nick Gasson is currently starring in Wings at the Young Vic. His character is struggling to rebuild his communication skills after experiencing aphasia – a condition that affects the brain and leads to problems with speech and language.

We caught up with Nick to ask him these 11 questions . . .

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 1. Can you describe your character in Wings in three words?

Recovering stroke victim

2. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything else they are likely to have seen before?

Wings is an extra-sensory experience!

3. What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this Young Vic production?

Working with such an amazing team of actors and crew

4. Emily Stilson was a wing walker. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Going on the ‘tea-cups’ ride at the funfair!

4. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

Apart from hugely impressed at Juliet Stevenson’s performance, I think they will feel like they have a better understanding of what goes on in the head of someone who’s had a major stroke

5. What has it been like working with Natalie Abrahami?

Wonderful. Her approach is always collaborative and the final results are finely detailed

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

Reading the papers!

7. What is your favourite play you’ve either seen, read or worked on?

There have been so many but in terms of taking part, playing the old tramp Davies in 3 tours of The Caretaker. Plays that really stunned me when I saw them include Bent and Angels in America, both at the National Theatre.

What was it that first got you interested in the theatre?

Writing and performing in play at primary school

8. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you recently?

I was in my local bar in Spain and Bobby Davro walked in. You have to be fairly old to know who he is, but he was a popular comedian / entertainer on TV in the 1980’s.

9. What’s the one thing you value most in life?

Got to be either health or the feeling of warm sun on your face

10. Who is your ultimate hero, and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

No longer with us: David Bowie. I’d say ‘Fancy a pint?’. Alive: Judi Dench. I’d say ‘Fancy a cuppa and a chat?’

11. If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?

I wish I’d been born in ’67 rather than ’57. So much changed for the better in those 10 years.

Wings runs at the Young Vic until 4 November. Juliet Stevenson stars as Emily, an aviator who suffers a stroke that destroys her sense of reality. Fragments of her life come together as she struggles to find her voice and sense of self.

Click here to book tickets from £10

 

11 Questions with the cast of My Name is Rachel Corrie | Erin Doherty

Erin Doherty plays Rachel Corrie in this year’s JMK production My Name is Rachel Corrie. She has received plenty of critical praise with The Guardian describing Erin’s portrayal as “one of the year’s great discoveries with a stunning performance” (★★★★). So without further ado, it’s over to the lady herself…

1. Can you describe your character in My Name is Rachel Corrie in three words?

Determined, quick, hopeful

2. What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this Young Vic production?

The opportunity to tell Rachel’s story

3. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

(I hope) Charged

4. Did you do anything unusual to prepare for this role?

We went to Israel and Palestine. We wouldn’t have been able to make this production without it.

5. What was it like working with JMK Award winner Josh Roche?

Fantastic. Collaborative. Enriching.

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

For this project: Listening to Mozart, lying on the floor of my dressing room.

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Erin Doherty in My Name is Rachel Corrie. Photo by Ellie Kurrtz.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Learn to live off little so you can continue doing what excites you.

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

Well I met Juliet Stevenson last Saturday – she’s a huge hero, a superhero, I think I managed to tell her she’s great…not much else came out.

9. What is your favourite play you’ve seen, read or worked on? 

Mercury Fur, directed by Ned Bennett at the Trafalgar Studios in 2012 – blew my brains out.

10. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud? 

A phone conversation with my sister, Grace.

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something you’ve never told anyone before.

I used to think my cat was my twin. Yes. I really did.

My Name is Rachel Corrie is currently sold out, but you can queue for day seats or check the Young Vic website for returns (it might be your lucky day) to catch Erin doing what she does best (10 minutes after lying on the floor listening to Mozart).

Aphasia: Meet Nick Cann

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Nick Cann was chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning when a stroke left him with severe aphasia.

Nick has been kind enough to share some of his experience of aphasia with us to raise awareness of this complex communication and language disorder. 

I was lecturing CFP students in Northampton when I collapsed. An ambulance was called and I was rushed to Northampton hospital.  My wife Jo and children were contacted and later learnt that I had suffered a major stroke which had affected the left-hand side of my brain. When I was admitted to hospital I had a scan of my brain and thrombalised. This was so important with my recovery as it helps to improve blood flow to the brain. I don’t remember much about the day of my stroke but from what I have been told my face dropped, my speech became slurry and I collapsed.

The stroke affected the right hand side of my body having no feeling or movement at all. I was moved to Oxford John Radcliffe specialist hospital due to concerns that swelling in my brain was not decreasing and operation may need to be performed. Luckily for me the swelling stabilised and I did not need to have surgery. The day after my family and close friends came up to visit. I found this very difficult as I could not communicate with my children Jemma 18, Rhys 16, Rebecca 15.

“Initially I couldn’t even say or write my name.”

Due to the stroke I suffer with aphasia and dyspraxia and although I can now read and write most things I really struggled with this, so reading newspapers, Facebook and Twitter became very frustrating and difficult. I couldn’t for weeks and weeks and had confusion with yes and no. Initially I couldn’t even say or write my name. I started saying words and using photos to help me say family and friends names.

nick1When I was home, after 7 weeks in hospital, I began to recover quicker although my speech was still a massive issue. APP’s (www.tactustherapy.com) I went to speech therapy classes weekly and speech improved although even now 4.5 years on I still struggle with words due to my dyspraxia and Aphasia

 

It has been a hard 4.5 years of dedication and determination but every day I am improving and will continue to do so with the support of the Stroke Association Wales, friends and family.

This blog was published in association with the Stroke Association. Click here to find out more and donate to support their work.


Wings is running at the Young Vic until 4 Nov. Emily, a fiercely independent aviator and wing walker, suffers a stroke that destroys her sense of reality.

Fragments of her life come together as she struggles to find her voice and her self.

The Jungle Safe Space performance

Last year we introduced our first set of inclusive performances.  These included a Safe Space performance for those who have experienced mental health problems, a dementia friendly performance and a ‘babes in arms’ performance.  All of these were highly successful and rewarding.

We are pleased to offer a new inclusive performance.  Like the previous events, it is open to all audience members and has been created in partnership with the show’s creative and technical teams.

The Young Vic Safe Space performance of The Jungle particularly welcomes people who have experienced trauma, along with their families, friends, carers, as well as anyone who feels this relaxed atmosphere would be beneficial to them. It will be on 3 January at 2.30pm.

Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, the co-founders of Good Chance Theatre, originally conceived their dome in Calais as a place for people to share their highly traumatic experience and to escape or, if they chose to, to confront the situations they found themselves in. The Jungle Safe Space performance is a continuation of this vision and has been developed through conversations with In Place of War and Freedom from Torture.

There will be a dedicated ‘break-out’ room outside of the auditorium available throughout. During the performance, it will be possible to come and go as you wish. For example, it might be helpful to take some time out to relax in the ‘break-out’ room or bar, use the bathroom or get some fresh air outside.

There are a selection of tickets available to buy online but if you require something more specific or want to talk through your seating options, just contact the Welcome Team via email welcometeam@youngvic.org or give them a call 020 7922 2922.

For the past thirteen years, In Place of War has worked with creative communities in some of the most challenging contexts in the world. In Place of War is a support system for community artistic, creative and cultural organisations in places of conflict, revolution and areas suffering the consequences of conflict. Find out more about their work.

Freedom from Torture provides counselling, group therapy and ongoing support for survivors of torture in the UK, tailoring the support they offer to suit each person. Read about their projects, campaigns and fundraising work.

For a full list of all our upcoming accessible performances, visit our Access for All page.  If you’re coming to see a show and have specific access requirements, please contact us in advance so that we can make your visit as enjoyable as possible. For more information please call us on 020 7922 2922 (Textphone 18001 020 7922 2922).