Carnation for a Song | YV Taking Part response to Fun Home

Carnation for a Song was a Community Response to Sam Gold’s production of Fun Home. Created with Director Megan Cronin and Musical Director Joseph Atkins, Taking Part had an incredibly open and generous company who shared their LGBTQ stories to build this moving musical experience.

The company was made up of LGBTQ Londoners, all aged 50+ and featured original songs by Joseph Atkins directly inspired by their experiences being on the front line of the fight for cultural acceptance and equal rights from the past, as well as the present and their hopes for a more inclusive future.

 

 

Big thanks to the excellent creative and production team who put yet another outstanding community production together in just three weeks, and as always, a standing ovation to the marvelous Carnation for a Song company.

Find out more about Taking Part’s Community Shows.

All photos by Leon Puplett.

The Marbleous Route Home, Intro to Theatre and Something to Declare | YV Taking Part Summer update

It’s been an incredibly busy few months for the Young Vic’s outreach team, Taking Part. We’ve shared the playful, non-verbal production The Marbleous Route Home with SEND schools and young people over two weeks of performances, our YV Young Associates created an installation for Refugee Week, Something to Declare and Intro to Theatre, our week long programme of free workshops for young people interested in a career in theatre was attended by hundreds who enjoyed the talents and advice of some incredibly exciting artists.

The Marbleous Route Home

Our playful, non-verbal production, The Marbleous Route Home was our new Young Vic Taking Part production created as an original response to Fun Home aimed at children and young people who attend special schools.


Conceived by Natasha Nixon and Kirsty Harris, and devised by the company, Natasha Nixon’s production received some beautiful and excited reactions from audiences throughout our two weeks of performances set in our open and relaxed performance environment.

Intro to Theatre

Our week long programme of workshops for Young People got even bigger in May 2018. We hosted hundreds of Young People across 26 workshops held by exciting artists including directors Roy Alexander Weise, performers Yolanda Mercy, Serafina Bey, London Hughes and Michael Balogun, writer Luke Barnes and photographer Helen Murray as well as our very own Kwame Kwei-Armah and Nadia Latif.


If you’re interested in finding out more about the next Intro to Theatre then send an email to youngpeople@youngvic.org and they’ll let you know how you can sign up.

Something to Declare

The Young Vic Young Associates are local young people from Southwark who work at the YV, each joining a different department for 9 months of the year. Towards the end of their time at the YV they are given the opportunity to come up with some work on a theme of their choosing. This year’s team of Lanikai, Sandra and Patrick chose to create some work in response to the refugee crisis during Refugee Week.


Their installation, Something To Declare was developed through a series of interviews and workshops with LGBTQI+ refugees. Visitors were invited to listen to different narratives on headphones while inside the installation room, composed from interviews with workshop participants about their experiences in their home countries and in the UK. The second room offered a chill out space with music, films and food, and later featured moving performances from poets Belinda Zhawi and Tamara McFarlane. It was a great evening and we had a fantastic response from our audiences – big thanks to everyone who contributed to the project and to all of those who came.

All photos © Leon Puplett

 

In response to The Jungle, The Brothers Size and The Inheritance | YV Taking Part

It’s been a busy start to 2018 for our incredible education and outreach team, Young Vic Taking Part. Working in response to some stunning productions in the YV’s Main House including The Jungle, The Brothers Size and The Inheritance, they’ve been working with a wide range of people from Lambeth, Southwark and beyond.

The Tide

The Tide was our schools response to The Jungle and was met with some amazing feedback. Written by Eno Mfon, directed by Eva Sampson and performed by local teenagers, The Tide explored what is home, family and migration and was performed in the YV’s Maria space with a stunning design incorporating trampolines by Cecile Tremolieres.

The Brothers Size Parallel Production

Taking Part have also been working with HMP Wandsworth. At the beginning of February Jonathan Ajayi, Sope Dirisu, Manuel Pinheiro and Anthony Welsh performed Bijan Sheibani’s production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size.  Forty men currently at the prison watched the sharing and were invited to take part in our project inspired by the theme’s explored in McCraney’s work. The script they develop with writer Luke Barnes will form a later production with young offenders, directed by Justin Audibert.

Neighbours Known. Neighbours Unknown.

In collaboration with the acclaimed The Choir with No Name who run choirs for homeless and marginalised people, on a singing project that brings together their members with people from our local boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Members of the YV Taking Part’s Neighbourhood Theatre have been working on Neighbours Known. Neighbours Unknown. a singing project that celebrates singing, community and togetherness. They’ll be performing on Sat 17 March at The Workshop in Vauxhall.

Within Reach

Within Reach - TB TP 2018 invite v2

Taking Part have also had the first few rehearsals of Within Reach, a movement based response to Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, led by Grace Gibson. Working with people who have HIV or have been directly affected by the illness, the work will be shared in early May.

Arts in Schools Campaign

Taking Part has also been working hard on arts in schools and worked on the first London Theatre Consortium symposium on a future curriculum for drama education which YV AD Kwame Kwei-Armah spoke at. Find out more about the event and people’s responses on our video.

Five Plays – November 2017 | YV Directors Program

Twice a year we team up five directors from our Directors Program with five different writers and task them with creating five plays, rehearsed and staged over five days with five different casts. The result is Five Plays.

As always, this November saw some amazing collaborations between a host of exciting writing and acting talent working with our five directors, including three Jerwood Assistant Directors who have worked on recent Young Vic productions.

I Have Aids

 

by Rachel De-Lahay.
Direction Milli Bhatia, with Shane Zaza and Shvorne Marks.

 

Pops

 

by Charlotte Josephine.
Direction Alasdair Pidsley, with Sean Campion and Sophie Melville.

 

Glutathione

 

by Winsome Pinnock.
Direction Nicole Charles, with Estella Daniels and Petra Lang.

 

Signs / Wonders 

 

by Katherine Soper.
Direction Anna Poole, with Aoife Duffin and Robyn Addison.

 

Nuclear 

 

by Phoebe Eclair-Powell.
Direction Natalie Denton, with Gemma Lawrence and Jack Shalloo.

To find out more about the YV Directors Program and how we’re supporting artists of the future head to directorsprogram.youngvic.org.

All photos by Slav Kirichok.

Anna Poole, Natalie Denton and Nicole Charles are supported through the Jerwood Assistant Directors Program at the Young Vic.

Alasdair Pidsley is supported through the Young Vic Reach Out initiative.

With thanks to Jerwood Charitable Foundation which is dedicated to imaginative and responsible revenue funding of the arts, supporting artists to develop and grow at important stages in their careers. The aim of its funding is to allow artists and arts organisations to thrive; to continue to develop their skills, imagination and creativity with integrity. It works with artists across art forms, from dance and theatre to literature, music and the visual arts.

For more information on Jerwood Charitable Foundation visit: http://www.jerwoodcharitablefoundation.org

Sing Before You Speak Again | A Taking Part community response to Wings

“These are stories we don’t often get a chance to hear – indeed they are often the hardest stories for people who have had strokes to articulate until they are set to music. Music seems to tap into a part of the brain that sets language free, the rhythm allowing words to flow where they are normally stumbled over”

Written after a series of workshops with stroke recovery groups, Parkinson’s community groups and dementia healthy living clubs and inspired by Natalie Abrahami’s production of Wings by Arthur Kopit, Sing Before You Speak Again was staged this November.

 

Sing Before You Speak Again‘s director Thomas Martin explained a little more about the production which took the form of an original choral song cycle written by Deanna Rodger and Joseph Atkins.

Some of the text was verbatim, but most of it was poetic – in Deanna’s lyrical world, memories become motors, houses become ships tossed about on a cold sea, and brains become balloons to be popped or let go. Joe’s composition brings these images to life with rich and challenging harmonies, filled with cheeky echoes of our participants’ favourite artists – Bob Marley, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell.

 

Sing Before You Speak Again has taken us through a range of emotions with the hope that our audiences leave with a little more understanding of what having a stroke feels like and the often disorientating effects – Wendy, Participant

Following the week of performances some of the company took part in a series of special performances at community centres with Nunhead Dementia Cafe, time & talents and Stockwell Healthy Living Club who helped inspire the original songs that the creative team had met during their original workshops.

It was so brilliant to have such great entertainment and even more special to meet the singers. – Nunhead Dementia Cafe

We’re extremely grateful to some incredible local groups who opened their doors and allowed us to get involved. Our production wouldn’t have been possible without the workshops and support of the following organisations, Aphasia Re-Connect, Southwark and Lambeth Parkinson’s Support Group, Stockwell Healthy Living Club and Time & Talents.

Improvising with Chris Heimann and the Young Vic Directors Program

Grace Cordell, a director on the Young Vic Directors Program visited the Young Vic in October to take part in an improvisation workshop facilitated by Chris Heimann. Grace’s travel was paid for by our Go See Fund, part of Reach Out, which aims to support directors based outside of London so they can take part in Young Vic activities and projects.
Grace describes her experience of the (pre-planned) improv workshop…

I was excited by the idea of a workshop purely on improvisation. It’s a lesson that I looked forward to every week whilst training, and now from a directors point of view, I was excited to see how Chris would guide us on how to facilitate this within rehearsal.

Vocaleyes building img

On the tube, I read the initial email through properly- ‘wear movement clothes and be prepared to work barefoot’. The workshop was largely movement based and Chris kept coming back to the balance that needs to be present in order to allow organic response. You must be bold enough to lead, whilst also having the humility to follow. Throughout the session he playfully referred to the magic IF; Michael Chekhov; how Russians think that the English misunderstand Stanislavski.

There wasn’t really the generic meet and greet name game that usually accompanies skill workshops. Chris briefly introduced himself and his work, and then asked two others in the room to do the same, and then we began. Chris’ open nature allowed the room the breathe a sigh of comfortability and jump right in. We started with a warm up that involved individually, listening and responding to our bodies through movement, warming up where and how we wanted to. Following this we got into pairs and were thrown into more specific movement, starting simply with creating and responding to shapes made with our bodies and eventually moving on to fluid movement and then finally into spoken word. The main point that we were reminded of was to respond truthfully, that was our aim and all we needed to focus on. We weaved between partner work and the entire group watching one pair and before each exercise- Chris made sure to remind the group that this wasn’t a performance, there was no judgement, no expectation, the point was simply to respond. I found this extremely freeing, but did feel like the group needed the reminder before every example. Perhaps this was because of the unfamiliarity of the group, or the pressure that often accompanies one off workshops, or simply that the thought that often accompanies improvisation is fear or expectation to be funny, or entertaining, or just something interesting when in fact the only expectation here was much more interestingly, simply to respond to a feeling or sensation rather than a thought.

One thing that struck me about the session was how present I felt throughout. One of the directors expressed the thrill she felt at feeling present today and I think this was shared with most of us in the workshop. There was a lot to take in but only one main focus, to respond, which I think aided the groups ability to really be in the moment. The concept was simple, the exercises were simple and it revolved around truthfully responding. It’s about how you facilitate the actor to achieve this. It’s easy to tell the actor what you want to achieve but it has to come from a place of truthful response for the actor so that it doesn’t inhibit them. You have to find a way to let them find it them-self in order for it to really be truthful.

The 2 1/2 hours felt much shorter and I left the session feeling as though we were just on the cusp- I wanted to see what happened next. The start of the day was a bit nervous and excited, and by the end I felt as though the main thing I’d take away from the day was how beneficial to the process it was to be present and free and non judged, and how easily Chris guided us toward this. I think the most important thing to do in an improvisation session, be it separately, or within rehearsal for a show is to make sure that the actors feel comfortable enough to just respond truthfully and ultimately do nothing else at all. The less thought that goes into it leaves way for more honest reaction through feeling.