Young Vic celebrates World Refugee Week, 2018

It’s Refugee Week, 2018 and we’re delighted to have a number of events lined up alongside hundreds of others in communities across the UK, all helping raise awareness of the contribution of refugees around the world.

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Following in the footsteps of the Young Vic staging plays which engage with the world’s migration crisis and which explore the individual stories of refugees, our most recent production of which The Jungle has just opened in the West End.

The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction.

We are thrilled that our Taking Part team will be taking the cast of The Tide (our schools response to The Jungle, performed by local teenagers, exploring what is home, family and migration) to see a performance of The Jungle for free during Refugee Week.

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Meanwhile, our Young Vic Young Associates’ project will culminate with Something To Declare, an installation performed by LGBTQ+ refugees, on 21 June at 6pm at Platform, SouthwarkSomething To Declare has been created through workshops with LGBTQI+ refugees and performances from people who identify as such.

We’ll also soon be hosting our next instalment of Kitchen Conversations on 17 July in conjunction with Migrateful: an initiative which aims to bridge the cultural and generational gap between the local community and refugees who are new to the U.K.

Follow Refugee Week on twitter and the  hashtag for all the latest news and stories. You can find events in your local area on Refugee Week’s events listings:

£5 First Previews Lottery with TodayTix

We are very excited to introduce £5 First Previews alongside Kwame Kwei-Armah’s first YV season. All first previews of Main House productions will be sold at just £5 via a TodayTix lottery, starting with the first show of the season: Twelfth Night.

You will be able to enter the £5 First Preview Lottery for one week until noon the day prior to the first preview performance of each production (don’t worry, we’ll remind you).

Priority Booking is now open for all shows. Public booking opens from 10am on Monday 23 April.

Find out more about all the shows in the new season by heading over to

David Lan announced as Special Award winner at the 2018 Oliviers

Former Artistic Director of the Young Vic, director and playwright David Lan will be presented with the Special Award at the Olivier Awards 2018 ceremony on Sunday 8 April at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The award will be presented in recognition of his outstanding contribution in leading the Young Vic since 2000, his work within the local community around the theatre, and his commitment to internationalism and diversity.

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David Lan, 2018. Photo by Johan Persson. 

David stepped down as Artistic Director earlier this year after leading the Young Vic for almost two decades.  Over the course of his tenure, the YV’s reputation has grown to become one of the most admired theatres in the world. It is known for its extensive and fully integrated outreach program, its engagement with young theatre artists, especially directors as well as playing to an audience acknowledged to be the most diverse in the UK. David wrote the architectural brief for the 2004/6 re-development of the theatre, and led the entire project including a 24 show, 32 city walkabout season.

He has produced the work of some of the most influential theatre makers of our time including Peter Brook, Ivo Van Hove, Benedict Andrews, Susan Stroman, Stephen Daldry and Katie Mitchell and has championed innovative ways of co-producing across the UK and internationally. David also is responsible for establishing the Young Vic’s Genesis Directors Program many of whose past members now lead theatres all over the UK. Many YV productions have gone on to great success in the West End on Broadway (the Olivier Award Winning Yerma opening this March at the Park Avenue Armory), and in other theatres around the world.

In addition, he founded the What Next? Alliance of arts organisations which now has ‘Chapters’ throughout the UK.

The Young Vic has won eleven Olivier Awards under David’s tenure including Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate Theatre in 2004 for his “audacious season” and artistic direction.

Past recipients of the Special Award include Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Sondheim, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.

Widely recognised as the most prestigious stage honours, this year’s Olivier Awards return to the Royal Albert Hall and will be hosted by Catherine Tate.


New Executive Director announced: Despina Tsatsas

We are thrilled to announce that Despina Tsatsas will be the Young Vic’s new Executive Director in summer 2018. Despina is currently Executive Producer at Punchdrunk International and she will take over the role from interim Executive Director, Sarah Hall.

Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah says: “We had some fantastic candidates apply for the position as Executive Director from all around the world, but the qualities that Despina demonstrated made her the perfect person for the job. Despina is everything I would want an Executive Director to be; imaginative, ambitious and a true team-player. We can’t wait for her to join the Young Vic family.”

Incoming Executive Director Despina Tsatsas says: “The Young Vic is driven by a mission to create world-class theatre for some of the most engaged and diverse audiences in the UK. Under the leadership of David Lan and Lucy Woollatt its institutional culture has also became synonymous with artistic integrity, meaningful political engagement and a generosity of spirit. These values – along with the-once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to work with the hugely inspirational Kwame Kwei-Armah – made me jump at the chance to join the team.”

Despina is a theatre producer with experience across the subsidised and commercial sector. She was previously Executive Producer at UK’s Frantic Assembly working closely with Artistic Director Scott Graham, and has worked for organisations including Almeida theatre, and Ambassador Theatre Group. She was also Associate Producer for West End General Management company Mark Rubinstein Ltd where clients included National Theatre Productions (War Horse UK Tour, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).

Whilst at Mark Rubinstein Ltd, Despina acted as Main House Producer at the Young Vic theatre between 2010 and 2012 producing works including Sweet Nothings, Vernon God Little, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet, Government Inspector, I Am The Wind, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Wild Swans, and working with directors including David Lan, Carrie Cracknell, Rufus Norris, Richard Jones, Joe Hill-Gibbins and Patrice Chereau.

Despina is a Clore Leadership Programme Fellow (2012/2013) and received a Stage One Apprenticeship early in her career. She is a Board Member of UK charity Clean Break – a women’s theatre company working with women offenders and those at risk of offending, as well as medical-educational charity The Laura Case Trust.

Welcome to new YV Artistic Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah!

1st February. A momentous day in British theatre history – Kwame Kwei-Armah takes the keys for the Young Vic and steps into his new shoes as our Artistic Director. And we couldn’t be more excited!

First day photography by Leon Puplett 📸

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What is Fun Home and why should I be ridiculously excited about it?

What’s all this hype about Fun Home then? 🤷 Isn’t it that 90s kids game show presented by Pat Sharp I used to watch after school? Is it making a comeback, because I am SO DOWN.

Nope, guess again!

Fun Home is, in fact, a MUSICAL! An acclaimed, groundbreaking musical directed by Sam Gold, which has already taken America by storm and is about to hit London for the first time – and we’re just hoping you guys can handle it…

Things you need to know:

1. This is the first musical with a lesbian character as the lead role

Roberta Colindrez (Joan) & Emily Skeggs (Medium Alison) in the 2015 Broadway production of Fun Home

This is a coming-of-age story about a lesbian called Alison looking back on younger versions of herself, and examining her relationship with her closeted gay father. There are plenty of musicals around exploring the stories of gay men, but it’s rare to see a lesbian’s story in this genre and we’re so proud to fly that flag.

🎧 Listen: Changing My Major To Joan

(Sung by ‘Medium Alison’, aged 19, experiencing a sexual awakening after her first night spent with her friend, Joan.)

2. Fun Home the musical is based on a graphic novel (which is also a true story)

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Written by Alison Bechdel, the original graphic memoir has garnered much critical acclaim, including being named Best Book of the Year by TimeEntertainment Weekly, the New York Times, and People. Alison wrote the book following her father’s suicide and tries to unpick how the two of them ended up taking such different paths in life. It is profound, tender, funny, incredibly powerful and deeply moving. Ideal material for a…musical, huh?

🎧 Listen: Telephone Wire

(Sung by ‘Present-day Alison’, reliving the moment she and her father take a drive after she comes out to him. She hopes she can talk openly to her father one last time.)

3. ‘Fun Home’ is actually code for funeral home
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Sydney Lucas, Zell Morrow & Oscar Williams in the 2015 Broadway production of Fun Home

A musical about a funeral home? This is already a plot twist! Yes, the narrative centres on Alison who grew up in her family’s Pennsylvania funeral home (her father was the funeral home director) where she and her brothers would sometimes play in the coffins… Whilst not your traditional setting for a musical, this kind of juxtaposition of humour and tragedy is part of what makes the show so riveting.

🎧 Listen: Come to the Fun Home

(Sung by ‘Young Alison’ and her brothers, Christian and John, who are playing at making a TV advert for their family’s funeral home, AKA the ‘fun home’.)

4. It won 5 Tony Awards the year it opened on Broadway 🏅🏅🏅🏅🏅

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The original Broadway production was nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2015, winning FIVE, including Best Musical. Also, the truly excellent Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron were the first female writing team to win the Tony Award for Best Original Score. Their acceptance speech is everything. (Did we mention this musical has an all female writing team?)

🎧 Listen: Days and Days

(Sung by Alison’s mother, Helen, who tells Alison about how her relationship with her father changed over the years. A beautiful example of Tesori & Kron’s musical genius.)

5. The Bechdel Test is named after – you guessed it – Alison Bechdel

We’re just going to let The Simpsons explain this one…

Alison featured this 3-step measure for films in her long-running comic Dykes to Watch Out For (Does it have at least 2 women in it and do they speak to each other about something besides a man?) and has since grown in popularity so much that it has become part of our modern-day vernacular.

🎧 Listen: Ring of Keys

(Sung by ‘Young Alison’, who, at 10 years old, is on the brink of discovering her sexuality when she sees a woman walk into the cafe that she and her father are sitting in – this one definitely passes the Bechdel test)

So, ridiculously excited yet? We definitely are. Fun Home opens 18 June, so hurry and snap up your tickets now!

Winter | Touch Tours announced for every performance!

We are thrilled to announce that in addition to every performance of Winter (14 – 24 Feb) being audio-described, we will also be providing a touch tour before each and every performance.

For many blind or partially sighted theatre-goers, a touch tour is an essential part of the theatre experience. It is a chance for audience members to have a sensory exploration of the stage, set, props and costumes before the performance begins. There is usually an opportunity to meet some of the actors too so you can get a sense of how their characters will sound. Find out more about what it actually involves in our blog from the Life of Galileo touch tour.


Our touch tours are free for audiences attending that show, and although priority will be given to blind or partially sighted theatre-goers, we are pleased to be welcoming up our Winter touch tours for all audience members.

If you would like to attend a pre-show touch tour, email with your name, access requirements and date/time of the performance you’re attending. We will reply back to confirm your place and let you know what time your touch tour will be kicking off.

Touch tour schedule:

14 – 17 Feb: 6.45pm 
20 – 24 Feb: 6.15pm
21 & 24 Feb: 1.15pm