★★★★“Raw and vivid” | Reviews for Start Swimming at Edinburgh Fringe

The reviews are rolling in for YV Taking Part’s Start Swimming, currently playing at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. Start Swimming has sold out to a magnificent response check out what audiences are saying and read the full reviews below.

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Start Swimming company. Photo by Helen Murray.

★★★★
“Radiates puckishness and a sense of mischief”
Time Out | Read the full review

★★★★
“The uniformly terrific cast exert themselves to their limits”
The Stage | Read the full review

★★★★
“Assured, impassioned performances… raw and vivid”
The Scotsman | Read the full review

“Terrific piece from the Young Vic Taking Part department”
The Guardian | Read more

Start Swimming is now sold out but you can contact Summerhall about returns. Created in response to Why it’s Kicking Off Everywhere, Start Swimming is the latest Young Vic Taking Part Parallel Production. Learn more about what Taking Part do. 

 

YV Directors Program goes to York

Last month the Young Vic and York Theatre Royal held a workshop for directors and theatre makers who live and work in Yorkshire and the North East, through the Young Vic Directors Program Reach Out scheme. 

Eight young directors who have been making socially responsive theatre met with York Theatre Royal Associate Artist John R. Wilkinson, Sue Emmas, Associate Artistic Director of the Young Vic, and Imogen Brodie, Director of Taking Part at the Young Vic. The session delved into the work of the Young Vic’s Taking Part department and how the theatre engages with schools, colleges, young people and local residents of Lambeth and Southwark. In particular it looked at the past production of Men in Blue, a community response to Blue/Orange which worked with men who had suffered more than one episode of psychosis.

The day started with some classic exercises to get to know the names of everyone in the room, including ball games used in the original Men in Blue workshopsThe morning session largely focused on the work the Taking Part does within it’s communities and what it achieves with it’s community productions. Imogen talked about the process behind developing several Taking Part projects such as Men in Blue and See Me Now.

Also discussed were the ethics of participatory theatre, what we hope to achieve through it, and who it ultimately helps. The directors then completed some of the exercises used within the development of the Men in Blue project. These included writing exercises starting with the sentences ‘A man is’, ‘Today is’ and ‘I am scared of’. The results of the exercises done during the Men in Blue process actually made it in to the script. The group shared both their responses and the responses of the Men in Blue, and interesting example of how much content you can create through a simple exercise.

The afternoon session focused particularly on Men in Blue and the processes, road bumps and troubleshooting that arose within that particular project. Afterwards the directors paired up and came up with their own ideas for participatory theatre that could have been made in response to Blue/Orange. These ideas, or individual ideas that the directors were currently working on, were pitched to Sue and Imogen. They gave advice on the holes and highs within the concepts before the pitches were discussed and dissected by the whole group. This was an invaluable exercise for the participants in developing an idea into a tangible option.

Imogen Brodie’s top tips to working in Participatory Theatre:

• Make friends with partner organisations
• Make a project as flexible as possible to work with the needs of the participants
• Individualise schedules for participants
• Feed people
• Contact people on mobiles
• Be prepared to do a lot of pastoral work
• Be prepared to give a lot of yourself
• Be open to whatever people bring, no matter how odd or off beam it seems
• Get a brilliant creative team who are interested in other people
• Only do this work if you really like people
• Go to them
• Have the same standards and creative ambitions for the work as you would for professional work
• Have a sense of humour
• Remember this is not their job
• Be mindful of language and people’s frame of reference
• Be super organised
• Know what you want people to get out of it and make sure that happens
• Don’t be a dick

Reach Out is a Young Vic Directors Program initiative that runs a range of activities for directors across England who live and work outside London. Some take place at the Young Vic and others are run in association with theatres we are either touring work to or have ongoing relationships with.

Keen to attend a future Reach Out event or interested in joining our Genesis Directors Network? Read all about the Directors Program and the opportunities it offer.

About the Genesis Foundation

The Genesis Foundation has supported the Young Vic for nearly 15 years, including the Young Vic’s director’s program since its inception. The Genesis Foundation is pleased to fund the Genesis Fellow and Genesis Fellow Production Fund, the Genesis Future Directors Awards and the Genesis Directors Network at the Young Vic.

Established by John Studzinski in 2001, the Genesis Foundation works in partnership with the leaders of prestigious UK arts organisations such as LAMDA, the National Theatre, Royal Court, The Sixteen and the Young Vic.  Its largest funding commitment is to programmes that support directors, playwrights, actors and musicians in the early stages of their professional lives.

The theme of art and faith increasingly characterises aspects of the Foundation’s work with choral commissions including James MacMillan’s Stabat mater.

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Casting announcement – meet the full cast of Wings

We’re thrilled to announce the rest of the cast of Wings directed by Natalie Abrahami, playing in the Main House from 14 September. Joining Juliet Stevenson is Lorna Brown, Kelle Bryan, David Emmings, Nicholas Gasson, Richard James-Neale, Emily Mytton, Mary Sheen and Emily Wachter. Find out more about them below. 

Lorna Brown 2Lorna Brown makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include:  Bodies, Torn (Royal Court); Things of Dry Hours (The Gate); The Oresteia (Almeida / West End); Little Light (The Orange Tree); Medea, Blurred Lines, Damned by Despair (National Theatre); Crowning Glory (Stratford East); Fear (The Bush); Clybourne Park (Royal Court / West End); Short Fuses (BOV) and Once on this Island (Hackney Empire / Tour).
Film credits include: The Lady in the Van, Taking Stock and Les Miserables.
Television credits include: Chewing Gum, Holby City, True Love and Outnumbered.

 

Kelle Bryan makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.Kelle Bryan BW
Recent theatre credits include:
 The Exonerated (Charing Cross Theatre); Cinderella (PHA); Rebellion (ODAC Ltd); The Extra Factor (No. 1 Tour); Torn by Femi Oguns (Arcola Theatre); Cinderella (Catford Broadway Theatre); The Brothers (The Drum Theatre / Hackney Empire); Bouncers by John Gober (Berkley Players); Jack and the Beanstalk (Channel Theatre) and My Fair Lady (Manchester Palace).
Film credits include: The Naked Poet, In the Mix and The Virus.
Television Credits include: Me & Mrs Jones, The Knot, The National Lottery, The Brothers and Glitter Ball.

 

David Emmings BWDavid Emmings makes his Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits: The Missing Light (The Old Vic); Emily Rising (Little Angel Theatre); Sleeping Beauty (Bristol Old Vic);The Elephantom (National Theatre / West End); Something Very Far Away (Unicorn Theatre / International Tour); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic / Spoleto Festival USA),  Father Christmas (Lyric Hammersmith); The Confetti Maker (New Diorama Theatre) and War Horse (National Theatre / West End). Film credits: The Homeless Polar Bear, Sherlock Holmes and Alice. Short Film credits: Brilliant and Mime Poker.

 

Nicholas GassonNicholas Gasson makes his Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include: Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Caretaker and  Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (London Classic Theatre / Tour); The Dumb Waiter, The Lover, The Picture of Dorian Gray (European Arts Company Tour); Talking Heads (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds); James and the Giant Peach (No. 1 Tour); Season’s Greetings (Mill Theatre) and Pink for a Boy (Oldham Coliseum). Television credits include: Merlin, EastEnders, Doctors, Shadow in the North and Private Life of an Easter Masterpiece.

 

Richard James - Neale BWRichard James-Neale makes his Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include: The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe); Watership Down (Watermill Theatre); Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air); Othello (Frantic Assembly / UK Tour); Emil and the Detectives (National Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tooting Arts Club); Charlotte’s Web (Derby Theatre); Pygmalion (Old Vic) and In Doggerland (Theatre 503). Film credits include: The Legend of Tarzan, Dragon, When I’m Gone, Nadya’s Circus and The Situation.
Television credits include:  Thanks For The Memories, Atlantis and The Insiders.

 

Emily Mytton 2 BWEmily Mytton makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include:  My Brilliant Friend (Rose Theatre);  Magic Flute (ENO);  Medea (Almeida Theatre); From Morning to Midnight, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, WarHorse  and His Dark Materials (National Theatre); The Empress and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe (RSC); The Drowned Man and Tunnel 228 (PunchDrunk); World Cup 1966 and The Creation of the Violin (BAC); The Lesson (Theatre O); Beasts and Beauties (Hampstead Theatre); The Chimp that Spoke (David Glass Ensemble) and Red Ladies (Clod Ensemble).

 

Mary-Sheen BWMary Sheen makes her Young Vic debut in Wings. 
Recent theatre credits include: The Importance of Being Earnest (Politiker Productions); The Sonnet Walk (Globe); Losing It, A Fine Line and Courting Disaster (Soho Theatre); The Fastest Clock in the Universe (Sweetspot Theatre); Hyacinth Blue (Clean Break Theatre); 84 Charing Cross Road  and She Stoops to Conquer (both which she won Derby Evening Telegraph Actress of the Year, Derby Playhouse). Television credits include: Foyle’s War, Southcliffe, The Last Note, The Innocence Project and Dirty Filthy Love. Film credits include: United Strong Alone, The Last Upper, Barley Sugar and Skin Deep.

 

Emily Wachter BWEmily Wachter makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include: My Brilliant Friend (Rose Theatre); Swallow (Traverse Theatre); Britain’s Best Recruiting Sergeant, Caucasian Chalk Circle (Unicorn Theatre); Bedroom Farce (Salisbury Playhouse); The Humans (Avignon Festival); From Morning to Midnight (National Theatre); Rats’ Tales (Manchester Royal Exchange); Pride and Prejudice (Theatre Royal Bath); Doctor Foster (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Julius Caesar (RSC).
Television credits include: Pyschoville, Compulsion and Judge John Deed.
Radio credits include: Maiden’s Trip, Sagrasso, The Way We live Right Now and High Table, Low Orders.

Wings by Arthur Kopit, direction by Natalie Abrahami runs in the Main House of the Young Vic from 14 Sept – 4 Nov. Tickets available to book now

Refugee Week – An interview with Abdi Ali

This week as part of Refugee Week we spoke to Abdi Ali about his experiences of leaving Somalia for Canada, and having to claim asylum in England. Abdi is one of our Two Boroughs members and was a participant in Young Vic Taking Part’s production Go Between. What’s below is his story…

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Abdi Ali. Photo by Jordan Lee 

Tell us what your experience was of coming here?

When I left Africa everything was like a dream. It didn’t hit me until I landed in Gatwick airport, and I was thinking shit what am I going to do.

I don’t think it sank in till I got here and I was 14 and I was at the airport, loads of people passing by, don’t speak the language, and I have to find a certain gate for my aeroplane going to leave from, and obviously I was travelling with this guy and the plan was I wasn’t going to talk to him. He was sitting a couple of seats in front. And I said OK. I will only speak to you if I have to and the plan was we walk off the plane and we walk up to gate 38. And I couldn’t find it, because to me I was just a kid and I just panicked. I couldn’t find it. I didn’t see him.  He just disappeared into the crowds.

And I wandered round the airport from one place to another and before I knew it the immigration got the attention of this young boy wandering around the airport, and they called me and tried to get my attention, but I didn’t speak any English. This was in the 80s there wasn’t a lot of Somalis in the country, so they had to resort to this old British army guy and they had to get him all the way from Brighton and bring him over. And he spoke good Somali but the sort that my granddad would speak. I was kind of struggling as my language is kind of mixed up with slang, he was like proper Somali, and he interpreted for me and he says, “why are you here?” and I said I was going to Canada – and where am I anyway? – as I wasn’t even sure what country I was in. And he said, “You’re in England, and I said “I am going to Canada and this is my passport and this is my ticket.” And the minute I showed the passport they all laughed and said “Well, this isn’t yours.” The guy hadn’t even changed the picture. The plan was he was given money and he could have made efforts. But he didn’t. So the picture in my passport was of a forty something year old man from Tanzania. And immediately immigration said “well this is illegal. We can’t allow you to travel further. “

They said, “You have two choices- we know you have come from Somalia, and we know there are problems there so you can ask for asylum. Or we can send you back…” Staying here wasn’t an option for me. It was a weird scenario because they would bring us back to the airport in the morning and then take us back to a detention centre at night. For 30 days and every morning the same interview. Asking “do you accept your stay here?”, and I was like “no, I don’t know anybody here, I don’t speak the language who is gonna look after me?”  A lot of people who I speak to, they think that as an asylum seeker or refugee you have already calculated what kind of benefits you are going to get. For me it was like – these people are telling me to stay here, and who is going to look after me, and that was my main concern. When I went back to the detention centre there were lots of other people who were staying there for all sorts of different reasons; some getting deported, and there was another Somali guy who could speak English and he interpreted for me, and there were a couple of Jamaican guys who were asking lots of questions – “why are you here?”  And I was like, “I don’t want to stay here. I want to go to Canada and they won’t let me”, and they said “well, will they allow you to stay here?” and I said yes, and they said “Are you crazy ? Just accept it!” They are here trying every trick in the book not to be deported and I was actually refusing to stay in England.  And I said “who is gonna look after me?”, they says, “oh they will look after you and you will get money and housing and stuff.”

After 30 days I went to the last interview and they got really serious – either we deport you back or you sign this document saying that you want to stay here – and I said “OK, I am gonna stay here.” But the night before they [the people at the detention centre] told me not to say I was 14. Which was completely the biggest mistake I made. “Say you are 20. Because obviously the documents you are travelling with are not yours, because if you say you are 14 they will put you in care and you’ll be abused and all kind of things… “ So they had given me the wrong information. So I went there the next day and said I am 20. They looked at me. And the whole panel didn’t believe me, but because they were stuck with me for 30 days and they just wanted to get rid of me. So they were just like OK.

They gave me this ELR letter and an address of a hostel in Wembley, and three pounds, and a travel card and that was it. And got me out of Gatwick airport and showed me the train and were like – bye! And I am like how am I meant to work out where to go? So it wasn’t just me there was a whole group of us and a couple of them spoke English. But at that time the Somalis were coming here because the civil war was quite raw, and there was that kind of division, and I come from a very minority clan so I find myself … and the ones I can identify with abandon me because I am from the wrong clan and I find myself alone in London and couldn’t find the hostel.

So I slept around Victoria for two nights, one morning I just came up with this idea. I was like, well, I speak five African languages, I am bound to find someone I can communicate with. So I was standing outside Victoria station and any black person, I would just throw words any language. Some were looking at me just passing not understanding what I was talking about. Some were thinking I was mad. And then there was this particular woman who responded and I was like “Fantastic, you have got to take me to this hostel”, and it was like 8am in the morning, and she said “No, I have to go to work, and Wembley is like miles away”, and I said “I don’t care, you speak my language and I have been speaking rough for two nights and you have got to take me to this hostel.” She said “I am going to work, and if you can wait outside I can take you this evening”, and she thought I would disappear after about an hour, but I just camped out outside her work and just sat there. She came out for her lunch break and I was still sitting there – she bought me a sandwich, and then at about 6/7pm she came out and took me to Wembley. And went to this hostel and the rest is history.

I stayed in the hostel and got into a bit of trouble, basically because when you go to a hostel environment and you are quite naive and don’t speak the language. I was taken advantage of by a certain group of people there – getting me involved in criminal activities which I wasn’t happy with.

How did you meet your wife?

I met her in the African Centre watching a band, and I remember, I was at a crossroads in about 1996. I came out of prison. I was confused. Did not want to stay here any more. My life hadn’t been great since I came here, and I didn’t want to go back to East London and I was watching this band – a Congolese band, and Lucy was there with her friend, and there was a group of guys who were like really harassing them and all over them, and I was somehow finding the whole thing amusing – I don’t know why. And I was just thinking how are they going to get out of this as there are five guys just being really blokey, trying to push it, and then Lucy came over and sat next to me and was like “do you have a lighter?” And I said “Are you a student ?” “Why are you asking me that?” And I said “well, typical student, they don’t have cigarette or they don’t have a lighter – one or the other.” And then we got talking and then we became friends.

We have been together for 18 years. That was the turning point, as well as living in a squat, because when I came out of prison I was living in a squat. They sent me to a hostel, and the hostel where I was going was with people who were involved in crime that I knew, and I knew if I went back there I would go back to drugs, so I met a group of squatters. They had this house. I used to see them in the park and we used to play football and talk, and one of the guys said, “I live in a big squat . I see your situation. We have strict rules there – if you bring someone into this community you have to talk to everybody, and also you have to respect other people’s property and stuff like that” – and I was like “yeah, that’s fine.” And I moved in with them and I think my life changed from that point, meeting Lucy and having a family.

But I think the first five years were very difficult, and I also hated my dad and spent a lot of time feeling angry, because to me leaving Somalia wasn’t my choice, and personally that’s why my asylum was confused, was that you have to fit into a category of five. And I didn’t fit into any of them. Because to me, when they ask… “why are you here?”  “My dad sent me.” “Why did your dad send you?” “Because he didn’t want me to get involved in the madness”. That doesn’t fit the box….. I was sent against my wish. I never saw anybody killed. My dad had this foresight. My dad is an avid news listener he had his ears open, he knows what’s happening. So he knew Somalia was going to kick right off. And he sold everything he owned and sent us away.

But I didn’t see it that way. I saw that he had just took the easy life and got rid of me.  And also sent me to a country where I don’t understand the language or the culture so it wasn’t easy. So I just had to go and make peace in 1995, to go and see him and confront him and ask him why he did it, And he said, “I saved your life”.  But to me it was like he ruined my life. He sent me to a place where I have been to prison. I have been to madness… It’s like countless….  have had suicidal thoughts. All kinds of stuff. Because it’s not easy to integrate. Because you are told to assimilate from the people and community you live around. But the community I lived around at that particular time where people who were involved in a lot of mad stuff, and I didn’t have any other choice. And I kind of hated it, but there was nowhere to run to and I came out stronger.

I can see that now, becoming a dad, I can see what my dad did, but I never thought it was very high morally, and I kind of hated him for many years after, and wanted to make him feel guilty – you just wanted an easy life getting rid of us- but I saw it from his perspective, he knew the country was going downhill. You do try to save your children, and so he saved the youngest two. He kept the oldest which made me even more angry- I was thinking I am the youngest you should have kept me. There’s one thing that my dad told me which I still disagree with him about, even though he is kind of adamant.  He said every parent knows his children, and he said “your eldest brother, he never would have survived like you would have” and I thought, how do you know, how can you tell that. And he says, because I know my children- he needs more support. So that’s the reason he gave, but I just don’t buy it. But I think he’s my oldest brother how can he be weaker than me. So I kind of resented that.

With the British passport, I was kind of entitled to it in 1992 and never applied for it . I think in a way I kind of self-sabotaged myself, because to me I never accepted this journey. I didn’t want to be here, and when I tried to explain to people, some people say how ungrateful – and you know I am not ungrateful. To me, it was a journey that was planned for me, it wasn’t something I had planned myself, and I didn’t come here to get a British passport. And a lot of people say to me, your wife is British, your children are British, why are you not British? But it’s up here [points at forehead]. And also I have this fear….what if I change my nationality, and then Somalia becomes better, and they say well, we don’t want you. And I always had this idea that I would go home. And I still have that somewhere, and it’s getting to a point when I only realise when I go there how I have changed. I have this romantic idea one day I will go and live there, but when I go there I find I am used to systems, and things, and the bus coming when to supposed to, and I get irritated about things and people say “oh relax Abdi, what’s wrong with you” and I say no you shouldn’t relax. Things should work. And I think people there are more relaxed. It’s not as urgent and there’s no rush to go anywhere.

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Abdi Ali in Go Between at the Young Vic. Photo by Jordan Lee. 

How did you learn English? Just from the people around you?

I have never been to school. The only formal education I have had is only about 2 or 3 years in my entire life. I have learned it all myself. When I lived in the squat there were a lot of clever people in there, and they helped me a lot and taught me how to… and you can tell by the fact the way I write and the way I speak are very different. And a lot of people when I talk to them are like “what university did you go to” and I say I never even went to college let alone university. Because I have been here 27 years you know, and you know I think what helped me was because I travelled most of my life, and I like spoke different languages, so it’s easy to learn languages.

And what made you take part in Go Between?

I was working at St Mungo’s and I met John, and he told me he was doing this project, and he thought I might enjoy it so that’s why I came– and I have always liked theatre. When I worked for Nacro, we used to get a lot of tickets from this small theatre in Shepherds Bush, The Bush, and we used to go there with some of the young people I used to work with and I kind of enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it. I want to do more – I think it helped me in terms of my confidence and stuff like that. It’s good, I enjoyed it.

How did you find telling some of your story on stage?

I am constantly telling people. I never stop talking about it. My missus tells me Abdi, we have had enough of your stories. Let’s talk about something else.

And yeah it’s not… in a way it’s therapeutic to talk about it and get it out.

Refugee Week runs 19 – 25 June 2017. Find out more about the events going on in your neighbourhood. #OurSharedFuture

 

11 Questions with the cast of Life of Galileo – Billy Howle

We know you’ve been waiting for it, it’s 11 Questions time with Billy Howle. Currently on stage at the Young Vic until 1 July in Life of Galileofind out what Billy thinks needs inventing right now 👇🏽. 

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Billy Howle in Life of Galileo. Photo by Johan Persson

1. Can you describe your character in Life of Galileo in three words?

Inquisitive. Dedicated. Trusting.

2. What’s you’re favourite thing about working with Joe Wright?

Forgetting everything I thought I knew.

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

Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.

4. What invention do you think the world is lacking right now?

Truth-o-meter: Bullshit detector, namely for politicians.

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

Singing / Dancing / Sleeping / Eating

6. What is your favourite project you have worked on as an actor?

I don’t have favourite – but this is pretty darn lush.

7. If you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?

Boldly go where no man has gone before (with Patrick Stewart).

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

Doing funny voices and fancy dress parties.

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

“Unhappy is the land that needs heroes”

10. What is your favourite midnight snack?

Semolina.

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

70’s/80’s so I could see who my parents were before me.

Life of Galileo runs 6 May – 1 July at the Young Vic directed by BAFTA Award-winning director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice). Book tickets now.

Director / Writer ‘speed-dating’ with Theatre 503 ❤️️

This month the YV Directors Program ran a ‘speed-dating’ event in collaboration with our friends at Theatre 503Directors who had directed one to two shows were encouraged to apply and were paired up for short conversations with writers from Theatre 503’s development programme.

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Director / Writer speed-dating with Theatre 503. Photo by Beanie Ridler.

The idea behind the event was to give writers and directors an opportunity to find new collaborators and partnerships for the future. Each pair met for a five minutes chat, before moving on to the next partner at the ding of a bell. At the end of the session there was a longer chance to talk to everyone more informally.

Ben Mills, who facilitated the workshop had the idea after attending a similar workshop for director / designer relationships:

I’d previously attended one of the Director/Designer speed-dating sessions organised through the network. It was a brilliant way of getting a snapshot of people you might want to work with – and who were clearly also interested in meeting new collaborators. So when I was considering what I might want to organise, doing something similar, writers was the first thing that jumped to mind.

As a director who works mostly in new plays, I’ve learnt that the best collaborations come out of strong relationships between writers and directors. Finding writers whose plays you like is obviously the first thing you look for, but having a shared ethic and attitude – basically, a more personal connection – is just as important. But it can be a slow process meeting writers in the early stages of their careers – particularly ones from outside London.

The response from people on the night was fantastic. Blitzing through 22 quick-fire chats is intense, but there was a lovely energy in the room. And I’ve heard from many attendees that those brief conversations have continued since the event, some turning into collaborations already!

Keen to attend a future event or join our Genesis Directors Network? Read all about the Directors Program and the opportunities it offer. 

About the Genesis Foundation

The Genesis Foundation has supported the Young Vic for nearly 15 years, including the Young Vic’s director’s program since its inception. The Genesis Foundation is pleased to fund the Genesis Fellow and Genesis Fellow Production Fund, the Genesis Future Directors Awards and the Genesis Directors Network at the Young Vic.

Established by John Studzinski in 2001, the Genesis Foundation works in partnership with the leaders of prestigious UK arts organisations such as LAMDA, the National Theatre, Royal Court, The Sixteen and the Young Vic.  Its largest funding commitment is to programmes that support directors, playwrights, actors and musicians in the early stages of their professional lives.

The theme of art and faith increasingly characterises aspects of the Foundation’s work with choral commissions including James MacMillan’s Stabat mater.

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David Lan to step down after leading the YV for 17 years

Today we announce that our artistic director David Lan will step down after leading the company for almost two decades.

David Lan stands arm crossed, face deep in concentration in rehearsals for Why It's All Kicking Off

David Lan in rehearsals for Why It’s All Kicking Off. Photo by Leon Puplett.

David was appointed in 2000.  Over the 17 years of his tenure, the Young Vic’s ambitious and adventurous work has reached millions of people on The Cut and around the world.

David spearheaded the 2006 redevelopment of the building you know today featuring our three spaces, the Main House, the Maria and the Clare. Designed by architects Haworth Tompkins, we were named RIBA London Building of the Year, were short-listed for the Sterling Prize and won many design and industry awards.

The last decade has been the most successful in our company’s history.  David has consistently produced pioneering shows, nurtured the careers of younger theatremakers and won acclaim from critics and audiences across the globe. Through David’s vision the scope of Young Vic productions has widened to include opera, music theatre, dance and short films.

Many Young Vic productions have gone on to great success in the West End, on Broadway and in other theatres round the world. Since winning an Olivier Award for the entire 2003 season, the Young Vic has won every major London and New York theatre award, several many times over.

David will continue as artistic director and CEO until a new artistic director is appointed towards the end of this year and will continue to take responsibility for the 2017/18 season, his last at the Young Vic, which will be announced next month.

Lucy Woollatt will continue to lead the company as executive director as she has done for the last 7 years.

David Lan said: “There is never an easy time to slip away but I wanted to leave at a time of our greatest strength and success. The Young Vic is now admired and emulated internationally as well as loved by our audience in our local communities of Lambeth and Southwark, in London and across the UK.  It’s the right moment for it to set off on a new journey and a new adventure.”

Lucy Woollatt said: “We will greatly miss David’s passion, vision and leadership. He has transformed this company into a world-class destination for artists and audiences from around the world. His tireless dedication has set us up for success in the coming years, and we look forward to the next exciting chapter of the Young Vic’s story.”

Chair of the YV Board, Patrick McKenna, said:

“David has made such a big contribution to the Young Vic success story that it’s hard to do justice to his transformative leadership.  The fact that the Young Vic is currently one of the most successful independent producing theatres in the world is significantly down to David’s ability to attract the very best talent in world theatre to work here.”