What’s your name and where do you come from? 💘 YV Blind Date 💘

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An artist’s impression of what love at the Young Vic might look like

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”
– A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This Valentine’s Day, we’re playing Cupid. We’re offering 6 lucky contestants the opportunity to be set up on a blind date by the Young Vic’s expert matchmaking services*.

You’ll get a free drink in The Cut Bar while you get to know your one-and-only, and then settle down in the dark together to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

True love might bloom, maybe you’ll have a new theatre companion for life, or maybe you’ll just have a fun night out on us. All we ask of you, is that you take a selfie together, fill in our post-date survey, and let us write it up on the blog.

Applications are now open, and you have until midday 17 Feb to send us the following:

  1. Name
  2. Age
  3. The gender you identify with
  4. The gender you would like to be set up with
  5. An emoji that best describes your personality

To: marketing@youngvic.org with the subject line ‘YV Blind Date’.

💋

*Marketing team

11 questions with the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Aaron Heffernan

Aaron Heffernan joins us in our virtual 11 Questions booth today providing some of the most surprising answers we’ve ever encountered. Aaron plays Francis Flute in upcoming A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is also his YV debut.

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Describe your character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in three emojis?

🚹 ⏭ 🚺

What’s it been like working with Joe Hill-Gibbins?

This is my first time working with big JHG and I think I speak for the whole cast when I say it’s been a terrifyingly totalitarian, spirit-shattering experience. The process is solely based around breaking the acting company down psychologically as individuals and peeling back the layers of physical and mental strength that our life experiences have afforded us to date. So by learning and performing words from an old, old story we are expected to really expose the weak and transparent fallibility of the disgusting stain that is the human soul. Which I honesty feel is going quite well?

Which Dream character would you pick as your Valentine ❤ and why? 

From all the wonderful characters of the Dream narrative I would have to choose Puck as my Valentine if it came to it. And it’s not just because he’s the only other Irish actor in the cast. Not only would he be good craic but on the night, if the date was going sour and I realised I wasn’t into his buzz he could just whip out his magic little flower and squeeze some of its sweet love juice into my cocktail and I’d be head-over-heels with his witty nymphish quips and rough Northern charm in no time. 

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

Having been reared by my parents on an eclectic diet of the best music, television and film spanning the last four centuries and amidst the many galaxies of stimulating art forms that cosmically spun trough my mind as a young man, I remember that it was when I was taken to see France’s Footsbarn Theatre Company perform in a tent on a metal frame suspended on Dublin’s River Liffey that initially set my burning hunger for theatre ablaze. I was around 11 or 12 years old and seeing this travelling troupe of virtuosic performers dancing, jamming, acting and puppeteering back & forth and up & down the straw-peppered floors of the big-top circus tent was mind-blowing. Now I co-run a dance-choreographing, music-making, scene-writing and, most of all, puppeteering travelling theatre troupe of my own, expeditions of which include tours in Ireland, Scotland, London, Moscow and New York; and gratitude for which I afford to Footsbarn. It was this consistent artistic excitement that my family and school teachers provided that kept me in the game.

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

My favourite play to watch is any one of the many plays I’ve done that have been recorded so I can watch the footage of myself in plays that I’ve been in. As for my favourite play to read, I’d say that would have to be Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck. It’s a novel, I know, but… I like to read it like a play and imagine the school production I saw in my formative years as a young man looking up to my older, less talented peers. My favourite play to be in is anything Shakespeare or anything with puppets, and my favourite song is Chasin’ Waterfalls by TLC.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream rehearsal 05 © Keith Pattison.jpg(L to R): Joe Hill-Gibbins, Aaron Heffernan & Michaela Barth in rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Keith Pattison. 

 

There’s a common conception that hearing about other people’s dreams are boring. Tell us about your least-boring dream. 😴 zzzz

The most exciting, most recent & least boring dream of mine took place last Wednesday and, as ever, saw me firing arrows made from hard pasta at bottles of sausages while riding bareback atop an androgynous centaur. But when I dismount the beast it turns into a melting oil painting of Theresa May.

If you hadn’t become an actor, what job would you be doing now?

In this bizarre upside-down world of backwards ridiculousness that sees me doing something other than this, if I wasn’t acting myself I would be teaching speech, drama and stagecraft to non-humanoid species. The thrill of seeing wild and dangerous animals like dolphins or spiders performing passages from Richard III or All My Sons can be the only logical next step in western entertainment.

Who is your ultimate hero and why?

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is my ultimate hero as his trajectory is a masterclass in relentless hard work and unflinching genre-spanning brand management. I would love to morph into him for a day/year.

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

The superpower of being able to morph into Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for a day/year.

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

10 minutes before the show I will be most likely looking in the mirror or if there are no mirrors near me then I will be looking in my reflection in the reverse-angle camera of my phone. 

Okay, so this is actually only 10 Questions because Aaron’s dinner party guests answer is lost in the ether, but we’re on the hunt for it so watch this space! In the mean time, check out the A Midsummer Night’s Dream rehearsal pictures, and book your tickets now to see Aaron and the rest of the cast in the Main House 16 Feb – 1 Apr.

11 Questions with the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Michael Gould

You may remember Michael Gould from our recent smash-hit “superbly acted” 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟(Metro) A View from the Bridge. Now he’s back playing Theseus/Oberon in Joe Hill Gibbins’ dark and nightmarish take on Shakespeare’s tale of betrayal and desire, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic.. Photo by Jan Versweyveld..jpg

Michael Gould with Mark Strong and the rest of the A View from the Bridge company at the YV in 2014

Describe your character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in three emojis?

🗣 ⚡️ 💩

What’s it been like working with Joe Hill-Gibbins?

Fascinating and terrifying!

Which Dream character would you pick as your Valentine ❤ and why? 

I would pick Cupid, just to get his take on the whole Valentine thing, I know it is a busy day for him but it would be great to chat.

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

Believe it or not, a Young Vic production of Troilus and Cressida in 1975 (or so). I didn’t understand everything but the staging and the words were thrilling!

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

A View From the Bridge at The Young Vic.

You’re hosting a dinner party. Who are your 3 dream guests? 

I would like to invite three characters I have played and find out how the show was for them, did we miss anything, did they feel represented properly etc, did they have any opinions about our interpretation, questions they wanted to ask, did other actors get closer to their truth… – so Alfieri, Iago and, why not, Theseus/Oberon (I know that is four really or is it…?)

There’s a common conception that hearing about other people’s dreams are boring. Tell us about your least-boring dream. 😴 zzzz

Don’t be sad, it is a long time ago but my Dad died on Christmas day. That night I dreamt he hitched a ride in Santa’s sleigh, asking to be dropped off at a resting place in the sky!

If you hadn’t become an actor, what job would you be doing now?

Teaching has always appealed. I have done a bit and I always enjoy it.

Who is your ultimate hero and why?

I am not really a hero kind of person. I think we are a little bit too obsessed by individual glory. I admire great teams, so the 2016 Hockey team I would say are my heroes (currently) and, of course, the glorious ensemble company that is the A Midsummer Night’s Dream Team.

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

Very happy to be able to inhabit Oberon’s Invisibility at the moment, I hear some great gossip and I can influence events in a truly intriguing way.

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

On this show probably having a wee as we are going to be on stage throughout. I did the same on A View From The Bridge and I should probably list “bladder control” as a special skill on my CV.

11 Questions with the cast of Once in a Lifetime – Otto Farrant

You may remember Otto Farrant from *that* scene in A Streetcar Named Desire, but this winter he’s back in “stunningly stylish” (Metro ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) Once in a Lifetime treading the Young Vic boards as eccentric German film director, Kammerling.

We challenged Otto to answer our 11 Questions below.

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Otto Farrant in Once in a Lifetime. Photo by Johan Persson. 

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

Wears furry knickers

What’s it been like working with Richard Jones?

A Once in a Lifetime opportunity…

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

Actors. No, seriously…

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

Calming down Daniel Abelson

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

‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore

What is your favourite midnight snack?

Mint tea

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

Gavroche singing ‘Little People’ from Les Mis.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

LONDON (South of the river, of course)

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

Learn French and/or Russian

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

Right here, right now

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

The power to multitask

11 Questions with the cast of Once in a Lifetime – Amanda Lawrence

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Amanda Lawrence in Once in a Lifetime. Photography by Johan Persson.

The “hilarious” (★★★★ – Metro) Amanda Lawerence “plays a stormer as a crazy receptionist” (Daily Mail) in Richard Jones’ classic Broadway comedy set in 1930s Hollywood.

She joins us in the hot seat for today’s 11 Questions…

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

Forgetful, loyal…

What’s it been like working with Richard Jones?

A joy. The rehearsal space is driven and happy.

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

Trees.

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

A poo.

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

Constantly changes!

What is your favourite midnight snack?

Nothing. I love sleeping.

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

A TIE company coming to my comprehensive school when I was 11.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Think I’d love Norway – I have to go.

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

Sleep.

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

The Stone Age.

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

To fly, of course!

Catch Amanda and the rest of the cast in Once in a Lifetime until 14 Jan 2017. Book now: youngvic.org/whats-on/once-in-a-lifetime.

★★★★ “Brutally funny account of living with mental illness” | Living With the Lights On reviews

The reviews are coming in thick and fast for Mark Lockyer’s gripping true story of an actor living life on the edge, from his on-stage meltdown as Mercutio at the RSC to his fiery relationships and ultimate recovery.

Check out the reviews below and read what our audiences have been saying so far on Storify.

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Mark Lockyer in Living With the Lights On. Photography by Simon Annand.

★★★★
“Brutally funny account of living with mental illness”
The Guardian | Read the full review

★★★★
“Lockyer has one hell of a story, and he tells it rivetingly well”
The Times | Read the full review

★★★★
“A vivid account of an almighty unravelling”
Evening Standard | Read the full review

★★★★
“Darkly comic solo show…riveting”
Time Out | Read the full review

★★★★
“Lockyer is an engaging and energetic raconteur”
Whatsonstage | Read the full review

★★★★★
“See a great classical actor spill his guts out about life off stage”
The Upcoming | Read the full review

Living With the Lights On is at the Young Vic for a strictly limited run until 23 Dec, so snap up your tickets now.

The Living With the Lights On Safe Space performance, designed especially for people with experience of mental health problems, takes place on 17 Dec at 2.45pm. Find out more about it and book here.

Catch a glimpse of Mark busking on The Cut outside the theatre in our brand new trailer:

 

★★★★ “Hilarious – a stunningly stylish production” | Once in a Lifetime reviews

Harry Enfield makes his stage debut in this classic Broadway comedy, directed by the remarkable Richard Jones.

Read the latest reviews below and find out what our audiences have been saying in our Storify.

John Marquez (George Lewis) in Once in a Lifetime at the Young Vic  © Johan Persson.jpg

John Marquez in Once in a Lifetime. Photo by Johan Persson.

★★★★
“Hilarious – a stunningly stylish production”
Metro

“Lots of laughs – Claudie Blakley is superb.” 
Time Out

“Richard Jones’s production is full of visual flair and John Marquez’s George is delightfully daft”
Evening Standard

“A jolly surprise – Amanda Lawrence plays a stormer as a crazy receptionist. Great stuff”
The Daily Mail

“Captures the vanity and futility of the Hollywood machine”
Daily Telegraph

Once in a Lifetime runs at the Young Vic until 14 January. You can book tickets here or why not try our £10 Lucky Dip Tickets?