Taking Part in 2017

It’s been a busy first half of the year for Young Vic Taking Part –  they’ve produced 7 shows, held workshops and courses for Young People and communities for people who live, work or study in Lambeth and Southwark and celebrated the 1st anniversary of Neighbourhood Theatre. Find out more below…  

See Me Now

A two year long project, the first version of See Me Now was originally performed as part of The Brolly Project in August 2015, a Young Vic Taking Part project. The team worked closely with outreach projects across London to find a company of participants who have, or do work in the sex industry. The performance, created in collaboration with the company, saw them sharing their painful, touching and often hilarious stories from their work and personal lives. The culmination of this was See Me Now which was performed for a three week run in February in the YV’s Maria. See what audiences had to say about TP’s production on our Storify.

(10) See Me Now at the Young Vic. Photo © Matt Humphrey

See Me Now at the Young Vic. Photo by Matt Humphrey

Go Between

Go Between was a Taking Part community show inspired by Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope. A beautiful collaboration between director Anna Girvan, writer Archie Maddocks and participants who were homeless or had experienced homelessness in the past, it explored what home means to all of us. Go Between ran in the Maria in January. You can find out more about the rehearsal process and see portraits of our participants in our blog post.


Go Between at the Young Vic. Photo by Jordan Lee


Fable is our schools and colleges’ response to Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope. Directed by Maddeleine Kludje and written by Luke Barnes, Fable is a three-part film performed by three groups of children and teenagers in London, Brooklyn and Cape Town.

Fable Part One - filming. Photos by Leon Puplett-1

The filming of Fable Part 1. Photo by Leon Puplett

Start Swimming

The most recent Taking Part Parallel Productions, Start Swimming was written by Jamez Fritz in response to the Young Vic’s Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere, a show about occupation, revolution and the future of our youth. Directed by Ola Ince and performed by a cast of 11 young Londoners, Start Swimming was performed in the Clare at the Young Vic in April and continues at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

©helenmurray Start Swimming by James Fritz directed by Ola Ince, Young Vic Taking Part-99.jpg

Start Swimming at the Young Vic. Photo by Helen Murray

And Yet It Moves

Written by Molly Taylor and the company in response to the themes of Life of Galileo, And Yet It Moves was directed by Joseph HancockFocusing on Brexit they interviewed people who voted both leave and remain, as well as prominent MPs from across the campaign, and ran workshops with members of Two Boroughs’ Neighbourhood Theatre. The end result was a piece that addressed the questions of what country you want to live in and how hopeful you are of the future.

And Yet It Moves Production Photos - Leon Puplett-19

And Yet It Moves at the Young Vic. Photo by Leon Puplett

PRU Project

Laura Keefe directed a week-long project with school children at Kennington Park Academy’s pupil referral unit in the Clare in May. A response to Life of Galileo, the workshops featured some dazzling personalised projections by SDNA featuring all of the children involved. Teachers and parents were invited to a small sharing at the end of the week bringing all of their work together.

The Space Between

The Space Between was Taking Part’s annual production for audiences with special educational needs and disabilities. Aimed at children under 12, The Space Between was particularly tailored for those on the Autistic Spectrum. It told the tale of a young girl determined to run away, but who forms a caring relationship with The Creature. The show was written, directed and with a beautiful puppet created by Brunskill & Grimes.

TP SEND - The Space Between - Leon Puplett-19

The Space Between at the Young Vic. Photo by Leon Puplett

Intro to Directing & Intro to Design

Run yearly, these are week long courses that give 18 – 25 year-olds the opportunity to find out more about theatre directing and design. The introductory courses included practical workshops led by professional theatre directors and designers included practical sessions, backstage theatre tours and trips to see various productions at theatres across London.

Intro to Design Feb17-Jemima Robinson-9

Other workshops and talks run by Taking Part this year have included Preparing for Drama School AuditionsVocal Coaching, Off Stage and Schools Workshops. 

Only Young Events

Taking Part have run several Only Young networking events this year. These are evenings held at the Young Vic specifically for young actors, directors, writers, designers, producers and technicians to meet with other creatives. Only Young has been held predominantly for young people aged 18 -25, Taking Part had a great time bringing 14 – 18 year olds together for the first time at this event earlier this summer.


Backstage Pass

Nine young Londoners spent two weeks at the Young Vic learning the skills and secrets of stagecraft, as part of Taking Part’s Backstage Pass programme, culminating in a performance of an extract of a play, professionally directed and acted, which the participants plotted, built, designed and called.


Backstage pass participants learning rigging from the production department. Photo by Leon Puplett


Neighbourhood Theatre

Neighbourhood Theatre started in June 2016 and celebrated it’s 1st Birthday this year. Eighty neighbours officially became members of the new Young Vic company of local people. This company is at the heart of our work. They are ambassadors, creators, friends and supporters. Neighbourhood Theatre comes together to attend our shows enjoy Kitchen Conversations and Theatre Clubs.

Find out more about Young Vic Taking Part and how you can get involved.

Go Between | Taking Part

Go Between was a Taking Part community show inspired by Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope. The beautiful collaboration between director Anna Girvan, writer Archie Maddocks and participants who are currently homeless or have experienced homelessness in the past explored what home means to all of us.

The show was inspired by the 30 members of the “creative, passionate, witty and optimistic” company and their own experiences, drawn together through workshops and sessions over 4 months, since September 2016.

Go Between also featured a photography exhibition by Jordan Lee, a photographer who spent 3 months with the company documenting the process from devising and rehearsals to the full production. The stunning exhibition was open to all at Platform Southwark and was visited by audiences and participants alike.

Anna said, “We hope that this production will give an insight to how we are all just people, people who want to love, live, experience life, shout, stomp, sit in silence, be challenged and listened to, respected and deserve that basic human right; a home.”

11 Questions with the Cast of Once in a Lifetime – John Marquez

John Marquez plays the beautifully naive George Lewis, who gets the chance of a lifetime (hey), to be the big shot on set. John describes George as ‘honest, loyal and cheerful’. Find out more below …


John Marquez looking assuredly into the middle-distance as George. Photo by Johan Persson

Can you describe your character in Once in a Lifetime in three words?

Honest, cheerful, loyal

What’s it been like working with Richard Jones?

Wonderful as usual

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?

My kids (and biscuits)

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

Chatting to Kevin and Harry

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?

Sing your heart out for the lads

What is your favourite midnight snack?


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

My brother

Where is your favourite place in the world?


If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?

We’d probably be made to work them for the same amount of money!

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

Sixties, must have been exciting

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?

Super strength so I could do loads of pull ups at the gym

Once in a Lifetime closes this Saturday at the Young Vic. Don’t miss out on your last chance to see it, book now


11 Questions with the cast of Once in a Lifetime – Daniel Abelson

Once in a Lifetime‘s Daniel Abelson, who plays New York writer Lawrence Vail, rose to the challenge of answering our 11 questions. Whilst Daniel makes reference to cast-mate Adrian Der Gregorian chatting to him about food preparation 10 minutes before the show, fellow dressing-room chum Otto Farrant suggests otherwise… find out more in Otto’s 11 Questions.


Daniel Abelson in Once In a Lfetime. Photo by Johan Persson.

Can you describe your character in Once in a Lifetime in three words?

Out of place.

What’s it been like working with Richard Jones?

Lovingly detailed.

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?

Female versions of me.

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

Listening to Adrien der Gregorian talk endlessly and ceaselessly about food preparation.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?

The second year’s production of Company at my local college.

What is your favourite midnight snack?

Buttered crackerbread.

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

The exorbitant pay.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

A beach. But not a British beach.

If days were 28 hours long, what would you do with the 4 extra hours?

Sit there feeling guilty about not being more pro active.

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

Any time before health and safety.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?

The ability to read casting director’s / director’s minds in auditions.

Beat the January blues and experience 1930s Hollywood at the YV in Richard Jones’ “Hilarious” and “stunningly stylish production”. Tickets from just £10: youngvic.org

Young Vic Directors Program

The Young Vic Directors Program has been running for over ten years, offering emerging directors a unique opportunity to exchange experiences with peers and be part of a network of talented directors, theatre-makers and designers working and living in the UK.


Intro to Directing session. Photo by Helen Murray.

As the only scheme of its kind, the Directors Program provides proactive support for professional directors at the early stages of their career, offering a range of opportunities to help directors develop their craft. These opportunities and activities include skills workshops and projects, including paid assistant directing roles through the Jerwood Assistant Director Program and Boris Karloff Trainee Assistant Director Program on Young Vic productions, and our online network, the Genesis Directors Network.

There are also two opportunities, supported by the Genesis Foundation, aimed at developing directors at different points of their careers. The Genesis Future Directors Award enables us to identify, support and nurture a director to explore their craft and stage a production in the Young Vic’s Clare Theatre. The Genesis Fellow is a two year role at the Young Vic where they work alongside YV artistic director, David Lan.


The Young Vic’s Genesis Fellow, Gbolahan Obisesan, leading Intro to Directing.

In the last two years the Directors Program has expanded its activities with Reach Out, to ensure directors based outside of London across England and Wales have the chance to access the same opportunities.

Past directors who have been part of the Directors Program include; Rufus Norris, Carrie Cracknell, Natalie Abrahami, Joe Hill-Gibbins, Matthew Xia, Gbolahan Obisesan and Tinuke Craig. Current directors include Ola Ince and Bryony Shanahan.

You can hear more about some of these directors’ experience and how the Directors Program has developed their careers on our Off Book podcast, available on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Directors and Designers can join the Genesis Directors Network by signing up online.

7 times the Young Vic broke your 💔 and made it whole again in 2016

2016. It’s been real.

Luckily we’ve been fortunate enough to witness some incredible moments of theatre over the past year and what better way to remember the year gone by than with a 2016 listicle reminding us that humans are capable of incredible things…

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

Following ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  reviews and astounding responses at the Fringe in 2015, the fearless production based on Eimear McBride’s unflinching best-selling novel was described as “a courageously feminist production”.

Find out more about the production and its director, Annie Ryan in our Off Book podcast ⤵️

Cuttin’ It

Charlene James’ award-winning script was brought to life by two “brilliant performances” from Adelayo Adedayo, Tsion Habte in Gbolahan Obisesan’s “searingly potent and devastatingly powerful” production.

Tsion Habte (Iqra) and Adelayo Adedayo (Muna) in Cuttin' It at the Young Vic © David Sandison

Cuttin’ It. Photo by David Sandison.

Queens of Syria

Zoe Lafferty’s production was an extraordinary modern retelling of Euripides’ Trojan Women by a group of Syrian women, now refugees exiled in Jordan.

Now We Are Here

Four true stories written and developed in collaboration with four refugees leaving you both heart-broken and inspired by a person’s ability to endure, survive and come out the other side fighting.

Simple but starkly affecting – anyone still in any doubt about theatre’s ability to tackle the pressing stories of the day should acquaint themselves sharpish with the Young Vic’s wholly admirable Horizons season” – Evening Standard


Now We Are Here. Photo by Helen Murray.


Billie Piper. Simon Stone. Those Feels.
Read more about the “extraordinary theatrical triumph”.

The Mountaintop

Perhaps Ronke Adekoluejo put it best in her ‘gram of production photography, “This is Civil rights”. Roy Alexander Weise, winner of the JMK Award 2016, directed this revival of Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winner about King’s last night on earth to critical and audience acclaim. #PassTheBaton

A Man of Good Hope

The incredibly talented Isango Ensemble returned to the Young Vic, 8 years after their Olivier award-winning The Magic Flute, with an adaptation of Jonny Steinberg’s book detailing one refugee’s epic quest across Africa. No words or praise does the performance justice so re-live the trailer below and listen to some of the music on Soundcloud.


Let’s hope 2017 makes us whole again with productions such as Joe Hill-Gibbin’s upcoming A Midsummer Night’s Dream, See Me Now a daring new production featuring and performed by sex workers, amongst others.
Jump the queue booking future YV productions by becoming a friend of the Young Vic, a perfect belated Christmas present.

trade: in retrospect

By Sharon Duncan-Brewster

It’s Friday, Black Friday. Whilst actively choosing to ignore the consumeristic dark clouds hovering above millions of pockets today, I cannot escape a different type of cloud which seems to have drifted over my head. A cloud of sorrow, the type which reminds a performer that the play you’ve had so much fun making is yes, about to end. Already?!


Sharon Duncan-Brewster in rehearsals for trade. Photo by Leon Puplett.

We started rehearsals for trade six weeks ago. Written by debbie tucker green, the play covers the political and social effects of Female Sexual Tourism (a different kind of consumerism) on three very different women. I had known for some time that I would be working on this project and was really looking forward to doing it. I’d auditioned for the play when it debuted in 2006 but I wasn’t lucky enough to sail on that astonishing ship back then so, this time around, I was ecstatic about jumping aboard. My excitement increased threefold when I found out that I’d be working alongside the mighty forces that are Ayesha Antione and Jo Martin. Two actresses that I love and respect, who are guaranteed to put a sturdy wind into many a sail.

This production is actually a showcase for our extremely insightful director Bryony Shanahan. Lemme tell yuh sum’ting- remember her name, Bryony Shanahan. She is the rightful captain of our ship!

Bryony is the winner of the 2016 Genesis Future Directors Award. Allowing her to put on 10 performances at the Young Vic theatre, with a production team of her choosing and Amen, she chose well. With Fly Davis, Peter Rice, Seth Rook Williams and Bryony Fayers all becoming great team players and not forgetting the expertise of Sarah Lyndon and Lizzie Donaghy who have worked alongside us every step of the way. (Also with the support of Anna Cole, Daisy Heath and Iain Goosey) We all bravely embarked on a journey which has been an ‘absolute delight’ and I don’t use that term often.


Ayesha Antoine, Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Jo Martin in trade at the Young Vic. Photo by Ellie Kurttz.

When faced with debbie’s challenging yet utterly rewarding dialogue (you should’ve seen us on week one trying to get our heads around it). Bryony, never wavering, always positive and generous in her approach, gave us the confidence and room to bring our own influences to our characters whilst gently steering us towards her vision, that is now the production that so many people are still fighting to get a ticket to see. The show is sold out. It had been before we even started rehearsals and when extra tickets were added later, they too went very quickly.

With 3 shows now left to go, a reluctant countdown begins-

3: Friday (tonight’s) performance.
2: Saturday’s matinee performance.
1: Saturday evening’s Final Performance.

What a privilege it’s been to stand (at an angle) alongside friends old and new, throughout this whirlwind of a project. Maybe it’ll bring us all back together at some point, to resume this powerful production for a longer run? I’ll leave that to the powers that be… For now, I’ll optimistically say – until next time, no more black clouds of sorrow, just pure joy in the truth of knowing what it was to be on this voyage.

As I head out to Waterloo with my internal soundtrack streaming “… It’s off to work I go”, there is no precipitation as yet but there’s always a lickle sum’ting at the very end, isn’t there? If you’ve seen our production you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, in the words of all three characters- “Shame”.