David Lan named consulting artistic director of new World Trade Center theatre

Exciting news for the Young Vic and our artistic director David Lan! He has been named consulting artistic director for a new performing arts centre to be built at Ground Zero in New York City. Speaking to his team today, David drew parallels between the two theatres both built on sites of mass destruction (the Young Vic stands on a bomb site where 54 people were killed during the Blitz), saying “Where there was violence and destruction, art is now made. It’s as if theatre has helped to heal the wound.”

World Trade Center site

World Trade Center site

“One of the most respected figures in British theatre is to take on the challenge of running the planned performing arts centre that will be a key part of the redevelopment of Ground Zero in New York,” writes The Guardian on page 3 of today’s paper.

“David Lan, who has won plaudits since joining the Young Vic in south London more than a decade ago, will today be named as the consulting artistic director of the Frank Gehry-designed arts complex that will be built close to One World Trade Centre.

Because the building will not open until at least 2018, it will be a part-time job, and Lan stressed that he will not be giving up his day job in London any time soon. Nevertheless, the New York project “is an enormous job”, he said, “and a fascinating one”.”

The New York Times writes: “Mr. Lan, who is expected to serve at least until September, traveling regularly to New York, was recruited in 2000 as artistic director for the Young Vic, which opened in 1970 as an offshoot of the Old Vic and is described by officials of the new arts center as a template for what they hope to accomplish. The Young Vic has become a hub of activity for young and diverse talent, offers low ticket prices and has a popular bar and restaurant, the Cut.”

One concept for an arts center, with theaters on the second floor. Charcoalblue

Michael Billington, lead critic for The Guardian, adds, “It comes as no surprise to learn that David Lan has been appointed as a consulting artistic director to the new team at the World Trade Center. Although Lan has worked as a dramatist, director and film-maker, it is as a producer and talent-promoter that he has excelled in his tenure at the Young Vic….

He once told me that he saw the Young Vic as a “directors’ theatre” in contrast, say, to a “writers; theatre” like the Royal Court. Over the past decade or more he has not only attracted top European talent, such as Peter Brook, Luc Bondy and the late Patrice Chereau to the Young Vic, he has also made it a London base for such outstanding companies as the Belarus Free Theatre and Iceland’s extravagantly physical Vesturport and, at the same time, promoted young directors.”

Read the full story on The Guardian here, and Michael Billington’s commentary here.

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