Young Vic Taking Part are creating FOREST, a new show inspired by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Treeand we’re looking for people from Lambeth and Southwark to be part of it.
This is the first time we have joined together our three strands of work; Learning, Participation and Neighbourhood Theatre, to create a theatre experience which feels like it is for everyone, using live music and other media to tell stories from the people in our neighbourhood.
Rehearsals: Occasional rehearsals in June/ July (Exact dates TBC). Then, 29 July – 17 August 2019.
Tech and shows: 19 – 24 August 2019
Tree takes you on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the inspiration for the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this major world-premiere production performed in the round, is also directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah.
Music, dance and film combine with an exciting cast to explore the past, present and future of this country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.
We would like to invite artists and companies to submit expressions of interest and a short description of how you think the community of Lambeth and Southwark can respond to Tree. We are looking to form a team of artists from multiple disciplines, so we would like to hear from collectives, companies, film makers, musicians, directors, writers, and designers.
Please tell us what you’d like to do in any of the following ways:
A letter (either on paper or emailed)
A video (no longer than 5 minutes) .mov or .mp4 good for us
A voice recording (no longer than 5 minutes) .wav or .mp3 good for us
A PowerPoint presentation (of no more than 10 slides)
Please email email@example.com with your expression of interest by Friday 23 November at 1pm. We will be meeting people to discuss ideas on 4 and 5 December.
For #LoveTheatre Day we handed over the reigns of our Instagram account to our fabulous Costume department so that we could peek into their mad world of costume changes, wigs, mid-show fixes and other behind the scenes action on our production of Twelfth Night.
Our musical adaptation of Twelfth Night cast includes a 60-strong Community Chorus of non-professional performers from across our local boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth.
Kaleya Baxe, who is currently on placement with our Taking Part team has been meeting with some of the Community Chorus in order to find out more about this fascinating, talented and diverse group of performers.
Our work with young people and our local communities is a major part of our artistic life. At a deep level, it complements and enhances each of the shows we produce.
Our Taking Part team engage with over 15,000 people a year. We offer young people and our neighbours free tickets to all our shows. We also run a wide range of projects, from skills based workshops to a chance to perform on one of our stages.
One day after I’d retired I was going round the back of the Young Vic and I saw all these children so I went and stood in the doorway to see what they were doing- I have an awfully curious mind unfortunately. Suddenly, a man came out and counted me in with them! So I followed them into a room with a piano and he asked us to sing but unfortunately I couldn’t remember all the words. So I thought, Ella Fitzgerald didn’t use words, here we go: da ba da dip da ba baa da ba! I went home laughing the whole way. Then the next morning they called and said, you’re going to join us, aren’t you? And I thought, what have I done?! But I found myself in a most beautiful production and have been in many ever since.
I got involved in the Young Vic originally through work ’cause I worked in drug, alcohol and mental health. I signed up through my work so that I could support clients to come and take part in workshops and watch some of the plays cause a lot of people had never been to the theatre before. It’s been a real confidence boost particularly this year where I lost quite a bit of confidence in my previous job so doing Twelfth Night has kind of boosted me up a little bit cause I felt like I couldn’t really do anything and I was a bit useless, I’m just gonna sit at home and cry. But now I got involved with this and I thought actually, I’m not useless and I can do things and it’s just kind of pushed me forward. I also got a job interview and I got the job because I felt more confident so, yeah I think this experience at this time has been really good.
I first got involved with the Young Vic when the Taking Part team did a performance with a Year 9 class in one of the spaces at the Young Vic performed with a proper set and costume and script writers. I thought it was an amazing thing for the students because there’s not much availability for young people to have access to theatre, and also a lot of them were black or from mixed ethnic backgrounds which they felt like at the time, this is 2012, wasn’t as represented as it is now. Nowadays pretty much everything that my students see has been through the YV free ticket scheme which is so good because with a class of 20 when a West End ticket costs £45, it’s never gonna happen. And these students come from quite poor backgrounds, our free school meal percentage is something like 64%, it’s really high so it just means they have access to really high quality performance where they feel like they’re welcome and they’re represented.
Millie Lynch Bailey
This experience has been really different because I’ve done two other chorusey things and both of those were only young women, so it was me and other girls my age, whereas this is the first time it’s been a totally diverse chorus in every sense; in age, in gender, in race. There are people who are teachers and people who are students and people who work in offices- like there’s one girl studying law so it’s just a completely different bunch. In this I get to make friends with people who I almost certainly would not have met otherwise.
I danced with Matthew Bourne from 1995 to 2006, so the original cast Swan Lake and then every show in between, Cinderella, Carmen, Highland Fling, Spitfire to name a few. Having previously been in the theatre and then coming back in a very different guise, there’s kind of this secret shroud here the minute you walk in, you just feel protected. I think what the Young Vic does here, you never feel like you’re community chorus, you always feel equal from the beginning really. And the principle cast, they’re a phenomenal bunch of people and they just all make us feel as one. I think that comes across in the show. But yeah, there’s a real sense of community and that’s what the Young Vic’s all about really.
How I got involved in the Young Vic was doing a show called See Me Now about prostitution and sex workers. Because I’m a recovering addict and I used to prostitute myself, my friend told me about the show so I got involved and got the part. But the thing was that during rehearsals, I don’t want to get emotional but I was actually informed that my mother had passed and the team were fantastic and really held me you know? Then we were in rehearsals when the show went to Edinburgh and I got the call saying my dad had passed and I just felt like, every time I was at the YV I got the news but I was so grateful because had I not been at the YV I don’t know what I would have done you know, I mean, I’ve been clean now 8 years but because I had a commitment to the Young Vic it really kept me going.
I’m a musician originally from Glasgow but been in London for 35 years now. Working with the Young Vic, there isn’t a highlight- there’s lots of highlights. For me when I feel really good is doing a great show like this is good fun you know and you’re in a better mood when you leave the building than when you came in, so that’s good. But for me it’s just kinda a selfish thing and that’s to get a free education in theatre making.
I’ve always sort of drifted through life, my big joke was that my ambition was to have an ambition. I was homeless for a while and I’d just got myself sorted out and a friend of mine said, oh there’s a play about homelessness at the Young Vic do you wanna get involved? Yeah why not? So I came along and I ended up doing a bit where I told a story about when I was in care and I had 9 backing singers and I gradually climbed up this white sweeping staircase and sang ‘You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman’. And suddenly, I was one line ahead and I had the audience, I could make them cry, I could make them laugh, I just felt so empowered. And I thought, I’m gonna do this.
Twelfth Night runs at the Young Vic until 17 November. Tickets are now sold out but you can contact our Welcome Team on the day for returns and we operate a returns queue before each performance. Call our Welcome Team on 020 7922 2922.
We’re thrilled to announce a second season of shows from our artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah. From exciting world premieres to gripping adaptations of classics we have got it all coming up in 2019.
Death of A Salesman
By Arthur Miller | Directed by Marianne Elliott
Main House | 1 May – 29 June
“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.”
Award-winning director Marianne Elliott brings her unique vision to one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of an African American family.
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.
Created by Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah | Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah
A Young Vic, Manchester International Festival and Green Door Pictures co-production
Young Vic | 29 July – 24 Aug 2019
Manchester International Festival | 29 June – 10 July 2019
Tree takes you on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this major world-premiere production, performed in the round.
Music, dance and film combine with an exciting cast to explore the past, present and future of this country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.
By Federíco Garcia Lorca, in a new version by Marina Carr | Directed by Yaël Farber
Main House | 19 Sept – 2 Nov 2019
We’re all curious about what might hurt us…
What do you do when the day that’s supposed to be the happiest of your life becomes a living nightmare?
A repressed, passionate love affair rears its head on the day two young people tie the knot. What is done cannot be undone.
Multiple award-winning director Yaël Farber (Les Blancs, Mies Julie, The Crucible), brings Federíco Garcia Lorca’s most famous tragedy Blood Wedding to the Young Vic in a new version by Marina Carr.
By Jackie Sibblies Drury | Directed by Nadia Latif
Main House | 28 Nov 2019 – 18 Jan 2020
“Dazzling and ruthless…a glorious, scary reminder of the unmatched power of live theatre to rattle, roil and shake us wide awake.” —The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)
Following a ground-breaking, sell-out run in New York, Jackie Sibblies Drury’sFairview is an interrogation of our subtly destructive preconceptions. This radical examination of power is directed by Young Vic’s Genesis Fellow / Associate Director, Nadia Latif.
It’s Grandma’s birthday and the Frasier family have gathered to celebrate. Beverly just wants everything to run smoothly, but Tyrone has missed his flight, Keisha is freaking out about college and Grandma has locked herself in the bathroom.
A Young Vic and Los Angeles Performance Practice co-production
Writer, Performer and Sound Designer Okwui Okpokwasili | Director, Visual and Sound Designer Peter Born
Maria Studio | 1 – 29 June
Part theatre, part dance and part visual art installation, Okwui Okpokwasili’sBronx Gothic delves into her memories of growing up in the Bronx, before emerging into a breathtaking exploration of girlhood.
Created in collaboration with Peter Born, in this UK premiere, Bronx Gothic draws on inspiration from West African griot storytelling and the epistolary style of the Victorian novel to ask what it means to be brown in a world that values whiteness.
Okwui Okpokwasili is a 2018 MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ recipient.
By April De Angelis | Directed by Lekan Lawal
Clare Studio | 6 – 16 February
This is some Interview.
Frank is nervous, his interview with Dr Jacqueline Pitt and Dr Marcia Gray is about to begin. If he can do this, it’s his ticket back to Russia.
But secret motivations reveal themselves as the three get caught in each-others’ crossfire during the course of questioning – and all under the ever-present eye of the higher-ups.
Outlandish and surreal, April De Angelis’Wild East artfully turns the most sterile of settings, a corporate job interview, into a sharp comedy about the permeation of human chaos.
Directed by Genesis Award winner Lekan Lawal.
“Wild East is possibly best described as the funniest play Ionesco never wrote, but even that doesn’t do justice to the job interview gone eccentrically, even apocalyptically haywire.” Variety
Ivan & The Dogs
By Hatti Naylor | Directed by Caitriona Shoobridge
Clare Studio | 10 – 20 July
All the money went and there was nothing to buy food with…So mothers and fathers tried to find things they could get rid of, things that ate, things that drank, or things that needed to be kept warm
…The dogs went first.
Four-year-old Ivan would rather face living on the streets of Moscow than stay home. Now, to survive he faces new challenges; from young gangs of boys to the police, and his own hunger.
But all is not lost as Ivan finds family amongst the other outcasts around him – the dogs.
Genesis Award winner Caitriona Shoobridge directs this one-person play exploring the need for kindness and trust, when despite being betrayed by the people around you, family can still be forged in the face of adversity.
“Hattie Naylor’s writing beautifully conveys the incredible way the boy and dogs connected to each other, and one leaves the theatre feeling disgust for those on two legs, but admiration for those on four.” The Telegraph
YV Unpacked: Spring Awakening
By Franz Wedekind |Adapted from the 1891 text by Caroline Byrne | Directed by Caroline Byrne
The Clare | –
He said roses in the flowerbeds have such meagre blooms every summer because they are over-protected and over pruned.
He said he was a weed.
Am I then the rose?
Moritz has been having dreams about legs in blue stockings again. Wendla wants to feel something, anything. Meanwhile, Melchior’s basically got it all figured out…
A vital, timeless tale exploring the consequences of a society which struggles to be open about sex and sexuality.
Featuring a cast including actor-musicians, Caroline Byrne’s timely adaptation is stripped bare by raw percussive energy composed by Tasha Taylor Johnson and Line Bech’s striking costume designs.
The Jumper Factory
Conceived by Young Vic Taking Part & Justin Audibert |By Luke Barnes |Directed by Josh Parr
Maria Studio | 27 February – 9 March
Created in collaboration with inmates at HMP Wandsworth and written by Luke Barnes, this intimate and powerful new piece explores the stories of people behind bars and the resilience they need to face a world that moves without them.
A preview of the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada production, presented by the Young Vic.
Maria Studio | 21 January – 2 February
Draw Me Close blurs the worlds of live performance, virtual reality and animation to create a vivid memoir about the relationship between a mother and her son in the wake of her terminal-cancer diagnosis.
The experience is by award-winning playwright and filmmaker Jordan Tannahill, in a co-production between the National Theatre’sImmersive Storytelling Studio and National Film Board of Canada, in collaboration with All Seeing Eye, with illustrations by Teva Harrison.
A Young Vic and David Weale-Cochrane and Kwame Kwei-Armah Jr co-production
The 8 Club is a pioneering, free to access, video series investigating the subjects that really matter to young men. Provocative and often unspoken topics for men, such as mental health, ‘toxic masculinity’ and personal relationships are faced head-on.
Release dates to be announced soon.
Taking Part in 2019
Our work with young people and our local communities is a major part of our artistic life, offering free tickets, workshops, projects and the chance to make and perform in shows. Exciting things coming up in 2019 include…
YV Unpackedis a new strand of work, taking the highest quality theatre to people who don’t normally think that theatre is for them. We will be taking shows to refugee centres, prisons, community hubs and homeless shelters as part of this work. Our 2019 Unpacked, following Spring Awakening which will be taken out to the community isShe Ventures, and He Wins, by Ariadne.
The Wonderful Way to Marbleous Town returns in 2019 after a successful run for schools last summer. Directed by Natasha Nixon and designed by Kirsty Harris, this playful non-verbal performance welcomes you into a magical world, where we can discover our true selves. This is part of our work for children and young people who prefer an open and relaxed performance environment. Tickets will be available to SEND schools.
The Freedom Project: Working collaboratively as the UK’s first two Theatres of Sanctuary, The Young Vic and Leeds Playhouse will co-commission a new play exploring the idea of social freedoms.
Written in response to the words and stories of refugees and asylum seekers in London and Leeds, the project will begin at The Young Vic during Refugee Week 2019 and will culminate the following year with a co-production of a new play by Luke Barnes. The piece will be performed by local refugees and asylum seekers in both Leeds and London.
Forest will be our response to Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s production of Tree. For the first time, all three strands of Taking Part will come together to make a new show, including our neighbours and friends of all ages. There will be music, dancing, joy and a great story.
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Melissa Allan as Feste in Twelfth Night. Photo by Johan Persson.
Melissa Allan plays one of the lead characters in Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis’ Twelfth Night, as a forlorn but charming Feste – traditionally played as a fool, and now reinterpreted as a busker in modern-day Notting Hill.
We’ve posed her 11 Questions to find out more about her and her mysterious character –
1. Can you describe your character in Twelfth Night in three words?
Playful, charming and lonely.
2. What’s your favourite thing about working with Kwame and Oskar?
The love that was brought into the rehearsal room every single day and how safe they always made us feel.
3. What fictional family would you like to be a member of?
The Cullen family in Twilight.
4. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to any other versions of Twelfth Night/ Shakespeare they may have seen before?
Shaina Taub’s score is awesome. It’s also an extremely accessible play and there are lots of little twists that are very different from other productions. Having the community chorus with us also makes this version really special.
5. What’s the strangest family tradition in your family?
My uncle gives me and my brother Brussels sprouts for our birthdays and Christmas every year. He’s a joker.
6. What is your favourite midnight snack?
Probably some dark chocolate!
7. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?
Backcombing my hair within an inch of its life.
8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?
I know it’s very cheesy but mum and dad are definitely my ultimate heroes.
9. What was it that first got you interested in theatre?
I watched the movie version of Phantom of the Opera when I was about 12 and was obsessed. My mum and dad then took me to see it in London and I was beside myself.
10. What is your first memory of Shakespeare?
I think it would actually be watching the movie of Romeo and Juliet.
11. If your life were a movie, what genre would it be?
A Tim Burton movie.
Twelfth Night is now playing at the Young Vic until November 17. Tickets are sold out but returns may be available on the day of each performance. Speak to our Box Office for more information on 020 7922 2922.
The Twelfth Night relaxed performance will take place on Wednesday 14 November at 2.30pm. It is open to all audience members, and we particularly welcome those who feel a relaxed atmosphere would be beneficial to them – including those with an autism spectrum condition, learning disability or sensory sensitivities.
Small adjustments will be made to the sound and lighting and there will be a dedicated ‘break-out’ room outside of the auditorium available throughout. During the performance, no one will tell you to be quiet if you make noise and it will be possible to come and go as you wish. For example, it may be helpful to take some time out to relax in the ‘break-out’ room or the 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 or access needs, just contact the Welcome Team via email firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call 020 7922 2922.
(Remember, if you do have any access requirements, it’s often best to let us know before the day of the performance so we can make arrangements for your visit to be as easy and enjoyable as possible.)
In the theatre world, sometimes those behind the scenes can get lost amongst the glamour and glitz of what’s on stage – so this year for Stage Manager’s Day we handed our wonderful stage managers the reigns to our Instagram account to reclaim the spotlight and show off what they do best.
See the highlights below!
Twelfth Night runs until 17 Nov at the Young Vic. Limited tickets from £10.