A few times a year, Young Vic’s Taking Part department produces parallel productions for and with young people in Lambeth and Southwark. These parallel productions are productions inspired by what is playing in our Main House, The Maria and The Clare theatres. For more information on Taking Part please see http://www.youngvic.org/taking-part
Hi! My name is Roy Alexander Weise and I’m a graduating Director from BA Hons Directing at Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance. I’ve recently just finished a four-week placement with the Young Vic Taking Part department. I was assistant director to Rikki Henry on the parallel production of Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol. As well as my own professional development as a writer and director I am very concerned with the development of Britain’s future artists. This project was a perfect opportunity to build on my skill as a youth facilitator and director of youth theatre as the project intake was for 14-22 year olds from the surrounding boroughs.
Each day began with chatter, the latest Tinie Tempah song being chanted in the rehearsal room, the latest gossip from Eastenders, all sorts; typical of young people, right? But these young people were not your average…they were extraordinary. They were undertaking the task of performing a famous Russian satire about hypocrisy, about lies, a play that makes a direct statement about hierarchy and democracy. They may not have been aware of the stakes but they knew what the play was about and what the knew what they wanted to do to their audience. “Who’s taking the audience?” bellows one participant, “We are!” reply the rest of the cast. What a delight to know that these young people are learning to take heed to politics and at the same time experiencing working in a professional venue.
The Young Vic is a venue that thinks about its audience as much as its artistic policy. This to me is like holding pure gold itself. To be able to create an environment where you would have some of the most established artists in the industry and young people who have never worked on such projects working in the same building is such an achievement. The young actors worked under the same conditions as professional actors with full-day rehearsals, stage managers and technical crew. They were able to experience the pressure of putting on a theatre production in an established venue. There wasn’t any concern about how good or bad their acting was, nor was there any concern about who came to see their work; it was about the process, about the experience that they had, about the outcomes, how they grew as young people, about being enlightened personally, socially and politically.
This is bedazzling! This showed me that there are still people in the industry who say “YES!” just because you want to give it a go. You don’t have to be an established artist to get involved with work in high-profile venues such as The Young Vic. You just have to want to do it, you have to be willing to commit, willing to learn, willing to leave your comfort zone and take a peek at what is around you, should you want to see it or experience it.
Most of these young people had never had contact with the Young Vic and some hadn’t even done much drama. It was surprising to see how talented they all were. And also very surprising to see how many of them were beginning to consider careers as actors, writers and directors. Many of them sought advise from me as an emerging artist. I was able to provide first hand experience about auditioning, the difficulty that some might confront during their lives at drama school and what things might be like after – which I am yet to find out. Being around them was like a month-long Tai Chi inhalation of motivation, strength, fun and exuberance.
I hope that this is the beginning of a relationship which where I can continue to be a part of such empowering projects. Young Vic Rocks and Rules!
The parallel production of Government Inspector took place in April. Government Inspector in the Main House begins on 3 June.