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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
Artistic Director of the Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah, today
announces the full cast for Arthur
Miller’s Death of a Salesman, a co-production with Elliott & Harper Productions and Cindy Tolan.
Following her recent award winning success on Company and Angels in America,
Marianne Elliott will co-direct this
production with Miranda Cromwell,
who worked as Associate Director on both of those shows.
Wendell Pierce (making his
UK stage debut as Willy Loman), Sharon
D. Clarke (Linda Loman) and Arinzé
Kene (Biff Loman) will be joined by Ian Bonar (Bernard), Trevor Cooper (Charley),
Martins Imhangbe (Happy Loman),
Joseph Mydell (Ben Loman), Nenda Neurer (Letta), Jennifer Saayeng (Miss Forsythe), Matthew Seadon-Young
(Howard Wagner and Stanley)
and Maggie Service (The Woman
and Jenny) in the production, which opens on 9 May, with previews from 1
“I don’t say he’s a great man…but he’s a human being, and a
terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be
allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally
be paid to such a person.”
Directed by Marianne Elliott
and Miranda Cromwell, Design by Anna Fleischle, Lighting Design by Aideen Malone, Sound Design by Carolyn Downing and Casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG.
Miller (1915-2005) was born in New York City and studied at
the University of Michigan. His plays include All My Sons, Death
of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, After
the Fall, Incident at Vichy, The American Clock, Broken
Glass, Mr. Peters’ Connections, and Resurrection
Blues. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949. Other works
include the novel Focus, the screenplay The
Misfits, the memoir Timebends, and texts for the
books In Russia, In the Country, and Chinese
Encounters, in collaboration with his wife, photographer Inge Morath.Newly
published collections include CollectedEssays and Presence:
Ian Bonar returns to the
Young Vic toplay Bernard. Previous theatre credits for the Young Vic
include Ma Vie en Rose. His other theatre credits include Jellyfish (Bush Theatre), Be
Prepared (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/VAULT Festival), Arden of
Faversham, The Witch of Edmonton, The Roaring Girl (RSC), The Blackest Black (Hampstead
Theatre), Brilliant Adventures (Royal Exchange Theatre), Me
as a Penguin (Arcola Theatre), and DNA and The Miracle (National
Theatre). His television credits include Damilola:Our Loved Boy, New Blood, Holy
Flying Circus, and Going Postal; and for film, Interlude in Prague,Spectre, Skyfall, Kon-Tiki, Starter
for 10, 1234, Atonement, and How to
Lose Friends & Alienate People.
Sharon D. Clarke plays
Linda Loman. Her theatre credits include Caroline,
Or Change (Chichester Festival Theatre/Hampstead Theatre/Playhouse
Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Amen Corner – for which she won an
Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress (National Theatre), Ghost The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre), The Life (Southwark Playhouse), Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air
Theatre), Hairspray (Shaftesbury
Theatre), We Will Rock You (Dominion
Theatre) and the forthcoming Blues in the
Night at Kiln Theatre. Her television credits include as series regular Lola
Griffin in Holby City, Doctor Who, Informer and Flowers; and
for film, Tau, TheDarkestUniverse, Sugarhouse, Secret Society
and Beautiful People.
Trevor Cooper plays Charley.
His theatre credits include An
Enemy of the People, Heartbreak House
(Chichester Festival Theatre), Chimerica (Almeida
Theatre/Harold Pinter Theatre), All That
Fall (Arts Theatre/59E59, New York), King
Lear (Tobacco Factory Theatre), There
is a War, The Swan, Playing with Fire (National Theatre), House of Games, Measure for Measure, Awake
and Sing, The Late Henry Moss (Almeida Theatre), Arcadia (Duke of York’s Theatre), By the Bog of Cats (Wyndham’s Theatre),and The Lieutenant of
Inishmore, King John and The
Prisoner’s Dilemma (RSC). His television credits include as series regular
Sergeant Woolf in Call the Midwife andLen Clifton in This Country, The Windsors,
Wolfblood, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Ballot Monkeys,
Wizards vs. Aliens, Murphy’s Law and Tess
of the D’Urbervilles; and for film, Postcards
from London, Crooked House, A Quiet Passion, Happy-Go-Lucky, Until Death, Dear
Wendy and Vanity Fair.
Martins Imhangbe plays Happy
Loman. His theatre credits include The
Tragedy of King Richard II (Almeida Theatre), An Adventure, The Royale
(Bush Theatre), Absolute Hell, The Barbershop Chronicles (National
Theatre), Luce (Southwark Playhouse),
Octagon (Arcola Theatre), The Skriker (Royal Exchange Theatre), Lionboy (Complicite UK/international
tour), Romeo and Juliet (Orange Tree
Theatre), and A Human Being Died that
Night (Hampstead Theatre).
Arinzé Kene returns to
the Young Vic toplay Biff Loman. Previous theatre credits for the Young
Vic include Been So Long. His other
theatre credits include Misty – also
written by Kene (Bush Theatre/Trafalgar Studios), Girl from the North Country (The Old Vic / Noël Coward Theatre ), One Night in Miami (Donmar Warehouse), Decade (Headlong), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre), Daddy
Cool (Shaftesbury Theatre/international tour) and Torn (Arcola Theatre). As a playwright his credits include One Voice, Good Dog, God’s Property,
Little Baby Jesus and Estate Walls. His television credits
include The Long Song, Flack, Informer, Crazy Face, Our Girl and Youngers. His film credits include Been So Long, The Pass, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Joseph Mydell returns to
the Young Vic to play Ben Loman. Previous theatre credits for the Young Vic
include A Season in the Congo and Elektra. His other credits include The Tragedy of King Richard II, Richard III (Almeida Theatre), Hamlet (RSC), The Comedy of Errors, Edmond, Angels in America – for which he won Olivier Award for Best
Supporting Actor (National Theatre), Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof (Novello Theatre), Mother
Christmas and Anna in the Tropics
(Hampstead Theatre). His television credits include Mrs. Wilson, Homeland, The Missing and Space Precinct; and for film, Woman
in Gold, Tonight You’re Mine and Mammoth.
Nenda Neurer plays Letta.
She represented Rose Bruford at the 2017 Sam Wanamaker Festival, playing
Vittoria in The White Devil. Her other theatre credits include White Teeth (Kiln Theatre), Jerusalem,
The Borrowers (The Watermill Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Orange
Wendell Pierce plays
Willy Loman. His theatre credits include Cost
of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Queenie Pie (Kennedy Center), The Piano Lesson (Walter Kerr Theatre), Serious Money (Royale Theater) and The Boys of Winter (Biltmore Theatre), The Good Times are Killing Me (Minetta Lane Theatre), Tis a Pity She’s A Whore, Cymbeline, Two Gentleman of Verona (Joseph Papp Public Theater), The Cherry Orchard (Classical Theatre of
Harlem), Broke-ology (Lincoln Center)
and Fences (Pasadena Playhouse).
Pierce is also a Tony Award winning producer of Clybourne Park. His television credits include as series regular
Det. Bunk Moreland in The Wire,
Robert Zane in Suits, Antoine Batiste
in Treme, Tom Clancy’sJack Ryan, Confirmation, Chicago PD, Unsolved, The Odd Couple, Ray Donovan, Advocate’s Devil,
Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story, Strapped, Life Support and With Two
Lumps of Ice; and for film, Selma,
Horrible Bosses, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two, Parker, Lay the Favorite
and One Last Thing – for which he won
the Acting Award at the LA Film Festival.
Jennifer Saayeng plays Miss
Forsythe. Her theatre credits include Caroline,
Or Change (Chichester Festival Theatre), Ragtime (Charing Cross Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangereuses, City
of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), The
Etienne Sisters (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory), A Long and Happy Life (Finborough Theatre), Ghost (Piccadilly Theatre) and Not
Quite Gospel (Birmingham Rep). Her television credits include Emerald City, Vera and the forthcoming Summer
Matthew Seadon-Young plays
Howard Wagner and Stanley. His theatre credits include Company (Gielgud Theatre), Assassins
(Gate Theatre, Dublin), Big Fish (The
Other Palace), Beautiful (Aldwych
Theatre), BillyElliot (Victoria Palace Theatre), Sweeney Todd (ENO), Urinetown
(Apollo Theatre), The Architects
(National Theatre), School for Scandal (Theatre
Royal Bath), She Stoops to Conquer
(National Theatre) and Les Miserables
(Queen’s Theatre). His film credits include Pride
and Les Miserables.
Maggie Service plays The
Woman and Jenny. Her theatre credits Annie
Get Your Gun (Sheffield Theatres), Rules
for Living, TABLE, Collaborators, Earthquakes in London, London
Assurance (National Theatre), The
Country Wife (Royal Exchange Theatre), A
Flea in her Ear (The Old Vic), Well
(Apollo Theatre) and Girl with a Pearl Earring
(Theatre Royal Haymarket); and for film LondonRoad.
Marianne Elliott is
Artistic Director of Elliott & Harper Productions, a company she founded in
2016 with producer Chris Harper. Her credits for the company include Company (Gielgud Theatre – winner of Evening
Standard Award for Best Director and Critics Circle Award for Best Musical) and
Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle
(Wyndham’s Theatre). Her other directing credits include Angels in America (National Theatre/Neil Simon Theatre – winner of
Olivier and Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), co-direction of War Horse (National Theatre/New London
Theatre/Vivian Beaumont Theater – winner of Tony Award for Best Direction of a
Play), The Curious Incident of the Dog in
the Night-Time (National Theatre/Apollo Theatre/Gielgud Theatre/Ethel
Barrymore Theatre – Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Director), Saint Joan (National Theatre – Olivier
Award for Best Revival, South Bank Show Award) and Pillars of the Community (National Theatre – Evening Standard Best
Miranda Cromwell’s directing credits include Half Breed (Talawa Theatre/Soho Theatre/India tour), Magic Elves, HeyDiddle Diddle, Sense (Bristol Old Vic), Pigeon English (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), The Rest of Your Life (Bush Theatre) and DeathandTreason (UK tour). As Associate Director to Marianne Elliott her credits include Company (Gielgud Theatre) and Angels in America (National Theatre/Neil Simon Theatre) and to Melly Still on Coram Boy (Colston Hall). As Assistant Director her credits include, Strife, An Enemy of the People (Chichester Festival Theatre), hang (Royal Court Theatre), and Swallows and Amazon and Faraway (Bristol Old Vic).
Launched in Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Season 1, YV Unpacked is our new strand of work that is free and open to everyone, taking the highest quality art to places where theatre doesn’t normally happen.
Franz Wedekind’s Spring Awakening was our very first YV Unpacked which saw our Young Vic Taking Part team take Caroline Byrne’s adaptation to new audiences across Southwark and Lambeth before returning home to play to audiences at the YV.
Unpacked’s company of Olivia Caley, Charles Furness, Archie Rush, Harold Addo, Oliver Cudbill, Ged Simmons and Barbara Marten spent 4 weeks in rehearsals at the YV in Line Bech’s stunning costumes and working alongside composer Tasha Taylor Johnson, before heading out into our local neighbourhood. The team went on to visit places including Millwall FC Community Trust, Walworth Academy, St Mungos and Pembroke House over a busy two weeks on the road.
Ali Kaviani who is Director of Projects at Pembroke House said – ‘Thank you for the magical moment that just happened in Pembroke House. The audience looked moved, provoked, challenged and entertained’. “I could watch that for hours” one of them said. Wonderful! Please come back.
We shared our new production with 681 people over the two week tour before bringing it back to the Young Vic where audiences from past Young People’s workshops and events enjoyed it alongside Neighbourhood Theatre members and the general public.
After an incredible first run we can’t wait for YV Unpacked to return in 2019 with Ariadne’s She Ventures and He Wins where we’ll be visiting more refugee centers, schools, community hubs and homeless shelters. To hear all the latest news from Young Vic Taking Part and future YV Unpacked projects sign up to our mailing list at youngvic.org