A Statement from London’s Southbank and Bankside Cultural Organisations

We have all been shocked and saddened by the terrible events at London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday night.

Our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of the victims, and to all of those affected by this terrible attack.

As representatives of the cultural venues in the area, we are working together to ensure that our venues remain safe, open and welcoming to all. We will continue with our programmes as planned and demonstrate the cultural sector’s spirit, strength and ability to unite people of all backgrounds.

London is a city defined by its culture. We all intend to play our part in continuing to build and share this culture, and to welcome visitors from the city and the world to our creative events and spaces.

Hayward Gallery
National Theatre
Menier Chocolate Factory
Rambert
Shakespeare’s Globe
Siobhan Davies Dance
Southbank Centre
Southwark Playhouse
Tate Modern
The Bunker
The Old Vic
Young Vic

20th Anniversary JMK Young Director Awards

Josh Roche at the 2017 JMK Awards. Photo by Dan Usztan.

Josh Roche wins the 20th anniversary James Menzies-Kitchin Young Director Award with My Name is Rachel Corrie.

Josh beat a record-breaking number of applicants to win the £25,000 award in the now-legendary JMK selection process which has been described as being almost like a training scheme in itself. He will be directing My Name is Rachel Corrie, the celebrated piece of verbatim theatre created from the writings of Corrie herself and jointly edited by the late, great Alan Rickman and journalist Katherine Viner, who is now editor-in-chief of The Guardian.

The runner up this year was Nathan Crossan-Smith with a proposal for a production of debbie tucker-green’s random and will receive a £2,000 award.

My Name is Rachel Corrie was first staged to equal acclaim and controversy in 2005 at the Royal Court, directed by Alan Rickman. It is based on the vivid diaries and emails of American peace campaigner Rachel Corrie who was killed by an Israeli tank while protecting Palestinian homes from demolition at the age of 23. It went on to gather awards and further controversy, particularly in the US, where the premiere was withdrawn after objections were raised about its portrayal of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is a testament to the quality of Rachel Corrie’s skill as a writer and passionate commitment to her cause that this monologue drama has stood the test of time with numerous revivals worldwide since its premiere.

The production will be staged at the Young Vic later this year; production dates to be announced soon.

On winning the award, Josh said: “I’m stunned and delighted to win the JMK award. It’s hard to express quite what it means to me. The chance to direct at the Young Vic is extraordinary in any context, but to be working on this play makes the opportunity even more remarkable.

“Rachel Corrie and I were born only ten years apart. Her legacy is our inheritance. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to tell her story on the Young Vic stage, and hugely indebted to the JMK Trust”.

Josh Roche

Josh Roche. Photo by Rob Logan.

27-year-old Josh Roche has worked as a reader and literary associate of theatres including Shakespeare’s Globe, Soho Theatre and for Sonia Friedman Productions and is founder of Fat Git Productions, discovering new approaches to new writing for the theatre through the commissioning and editing processes. He was resident assistant director at Soho Theatre, assisting Joe Murphy and Steve Marmion, and also assisted Joe Murphy at Shakespeare’ Globe (The Taming of the Shrew). He has assisted John Dove (Eternal Love for ETT and Dr Scroggy’s War at Shakespeare’s Globe, and – more recently – Farinelli and The King at the Duke of York’s). In 2015-16 Josh was assistant director at the RSC for Gregory Doran on Death of a Salesman and Shakespeare Live!; Polly Findlay on The Alchemist and Maria Aberg on Dr Faustus, as well as several one-off projects. Among the productions Josh has directed for his own Fat Git Productions are i feel fine, A Third and Magnificence at venues in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The JMK Trust was founded in the memory of James Menzies-Kitchin, a young director of great promise, who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 28, to give opportunities to theatre directors of similar ability and vision. Each year it gives one prestigious award to enable an outstanding applicant aged 30 or under to create their own production of their choice of classic text, currently at the Young Vic. Find out more here

 

Creative Green Awards 2017 – Best Performing Arts Venue

By Daniel de la Motte-Harrison

The other week, Julie’s Bicycle hosted their inaugural Creative Green Awards, held in the splendor Of Somerset House, and presented by Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion. These awards are in recognition of environmental, sustainable and ethical commitment, understanding and improvement within arts and cultural venues, galleries and festivals.

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The Creative Green Award-winners with Caroline Lucas. Photo by Alick Cotterill.

The Young Vic was delighted to be nominated for three awards; Outstanding Achievement, Best Commitment; and Best Performing Arts Venue. We were even more delighted to win the last award. In recent years, the Young Vic has become a 4* accredited Industry Green venue and has undertaken small-scale and larger initiatives to green the theatre, its ethos, staff and productions further.

Recent changes at the Young Vic have included:

  • Becoming a zero-waste-to-landfill theatre
  • Securing our energy from green sources
  • Installing LED lighting in our corridors and public toilets
  • Putting on two ‘Classics for a New Climate’ productions, most recently La Musica, which had almost half the energy emissions of a similar scale production[1]
  • Dealing with the waste we create through productions as sustainably as possible. Two tonnes of peat from A Midsummer Night’s Dream went to a local community garden, and the sand used in Ah, Wilderness! was donated to a local nursery.

We are also proud of the ethical and sustainable commitments of The Cut Bar, widely regarded as one of the best theatre bars and restaurants in London. There are several vegetarian and vegan options available, and produce comes from local, ethical or organic suppliers. The beer on tap come from Bermondsey, just 0.4 miles down the road, and the wine comes from a biodynamic vineyard in Tuscany.

Janie Dee and members of the company in Ah, Wilderness! at the Young Vic. Photo by Johan Persson (2).jpg

Janie Dee in Ah, Wilderness! Photo by Johan Persson. The sand used in this production was donated to a local nursery.

The Young Vic will always continue to work closely with our friends and colleagues at Julie’s Bicycle and the London Theatre Consortium to collectively attempt to reduce our emissions and impact further, making work of the highest artistic quality which doesn’t cost the earth.

For more information on the Young Vic’s sustainability policies and practices, or with any ideas on how we can improve further, please get in touch with Daniel at danielharrison@youngvic.org.

[1] 5.38 tonnes of CO2 created through energy use, compared to 9.88 tonnes created through energy use during The Changeling in the same space.

11 Questions with the cast of Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere – Lara Sawalha

Paul Mason and Lara Sawalha in Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere at the Young Vic. Photo by David Sandison..jpg

Paul Mason and Lara Sawalha in Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere at the Young Vic. Photo by David Sandison.

What’s your favourite play you’ve ever seen, been in or read?

There are too many to pick from because each play I’ve seen has left a mark and impacted me in different ways. One that comes to mind is a play I read called The Heresy of Love – a must read.

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

To feel completely immersed in what’s happening around them, like they’re leading the revolution.

What protest or activism have you most recently taken part in or supported?

Protesting against apartheid in Palestine.

Describe in one word what you hope the audience will take away from this show?

Awareness.

What is your favourite midnight snack?

Humous and pitta bread.

What is the funniest protest sign you’ve ever seen?

“I can’t believe we still have to protest this shit”.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Once I get those wings and fly I’ll let you know (refer to supernatural question). My favourite place constantly changes, so I always have many!

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

I have many but one of them is Maya Angelou and I would take her dancing.

Which historic revolution or protest do you wish you could have been a part of?

Walking across the bridge with Martin Luther King Jr.

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

To fly so everyday I could experience a different part of the world.

What role do you think the arts plays in activism?

It’s another platform to speak and be heard to express and change the world.

If you could swap lives with anybody for one day, who would it be and why?

Donald Trump so that I can actually understand how his brain works, because it really doesn’t make sense.

What’s one thing about the future that makes you feel positive?

Seeing people around me working hard to improve the world of today for the generations of tomorrow.

Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere will be broadcast on BBC Two this year as part of Performance Live, a two-year strand of programmes developed between Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre.

Read what audiences have been saying about #KickingOffLive so far.

Holly Williams in discussion with David Lan

Young Vic production ofA Midsummer Night's Dream Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins

It starts with a play – and a passion. The Young Vic may have developed a reputation as the home of so-called ‘director’s theatre’, offering radical takes on classic plays directed by the likes of Joe Hill-Gibbins, Ivo van Hove, Benedict Andrews, Carrie Cracknell and Simon Stone, but for artistic director David Lan, the really crucial component is still the play. The right director is the person who mounts a convincing case for urgently staging it right here, right now.

“What I start from is the premise that there’s no point doing the play unless we’re excited by what’s in the play,” he explains. “You’ve got to love it. With A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we’re doing it because Joe said, ‘I really really want to do it’.” It’s this compulsion to revisit a classic, looking anew at “how is this relevant now?” that often leads to the “most surprising and deep response.”

A surprising response to a well-loved play – including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its magic, fairies and romance – can raise hackles, even if it does spring from a director’s own love affair with the material.

Lan recognises that unusual stagings of classic plays make some audiences anxious.

“Part of my job is to find a way to say ‘it’s fine: it may not be exactly what you think it’s going to be, but it’s good! It’s real.  You’re not being cheated out of anything.’” Indeed, the hope is that by shaking off the shackles of over-familiarity, the play comes into a sharp new focus – as was the case with van Hove’s A View from the Bridge, Cracknell’s A Doll’s House or Stone’s Yerma.

“People say, don’t you sometimes want to get out of the way and just ‘do’ the play? But you can’t just ‘do’ the play,” Lan suggests. To him, any production is a series of choices, from what the actors bring to their parts to the visual world a designer creates. Any performance that has a director is, in a sense, director’s theatre because they guide these choices. “With any production, you’re always going to see the particular director’s take on the play; it just might not be a very interesting director!”

The notion, especially when it comes to Shakespeare, that actors should simply speak the text or trust the language is also naive. “A robot could just ‘say the words’, but an actor can’t, because they’re a human being and what they’re responding to is the meaning those words have in the situation they’re in.”

And this response can be – should be – complicated and multifaceted. If there’s one thing Lan really wants a Young Vic production to do, it’s to explore the contradictions inherent in being human, contradictions which the best dramatists reveal. They’re certainly there in Shakespeare.

Young Vic production ofA Midsummer Night's Dream Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins

“We’re trying to say, all human life is here. And audiences feel that, they’re not patronised, the characters in this play are as complicated and complex as they are. Everybody’s life is a complete mess, everybody is going ‘god I don’t know what to do’ – and that’s in the plays. Don’t try to resolve it. Stage the contradiction.”

That means allowing the play to be complex: A Midsummer Night’s Dream might turn out to be stranger than we expect. The material shouldn’t be treated with stuffy reverence but as an obligatory dose of cultural medicine.

“It’s not to do with simplifying, or saying ‘oh this is a bit like a druggy rave so let’s get a lot of polythene…’ No bullshit, [but also] no worthiness, no saying it’s good for us.” Just the question: is there actually something there for us, today, in a certain play?

In attempting to answer this question, the Young Vic has become known for its distinctive takes on familiar works (not that, as Lan points out, the theatre would be considered radical compared to most European theatres) but while he’s “delighted that people think that if you go to the Young Vic you will get something special, or unexpected, or surprising”, he also hopes that people think of the Young Vic as a place where you still “really get the play.” That’s where it starts – and that’s where it ends, too.

By Holly Williams

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is running at the Young Vic until 1 April. Find our more about the show and book tickets here.

YV Blind Date – Zoe & Dan 💘 – “Catching sight of my terrible red wine lips in the mirror!”

Zoe and Dan

Zoe on Dan:

What were you hoping for?

An interesting person, a good laugh, and some good theatre.

First impressions?

Positive, felt quite at ease. Neither of us ran away, so that was good.

What did you drink in The Cut Bar and was it a good place for pre-theatre mingling?

We both went for wine, white for me. The Cut is great pre-show – lively, buzzing atmosphere.

What did you talk about before the show?

Mainly acting – we’re both actors, figures!

Any awkward moments?

Selfie-taking was a bit of an ordeal, not big on selfies in any context. Also, probably finding out he has my ex on Snapchat…

Describe him/her in 3 words.

Genuinely nice guy.

What did you think of #YVDream and was it a good date night play?

Definitely the darkest, dirtiest Dream I’ve seen. Good for discussion, probably not for romance.

Did you stay on after the show to discuss?

We did indeed, over a Midsummer-themed cocktail. Got a bit distracted by Ben Whishaw at the bar at one point.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?

Nothing really, had a great time overall.

Rate the date using as many emojis as you like.

🍷+🎭+🍸+📸=👌

Would you meet again? (Romantically/as friends/as theatre companions)

Sure, he made a great theatre buddy.

 

Dan on Zoe:

What were you hoping for?

Spellbinding theatre and perhaps spellbinding company

First impressions?

She seemed pretty chilled at meeting a random stranger! Also lovely eyes.

What did you drink in The Cut Bar and was it a good place for pre-theatre mingling?

I had a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and she had a glass of white. There’s a great atmosphere to the place whilst also feeling cozy and intimate, kudos to whoever designed the warm low lighting.

What did you talk about before the show?

As we’re both actors conversation inevitably circled towards that. The difficulties of the Edinburgh fringe. Post- drama school life.

Any awkward moments?

Conversation flowed pretty easy but I did feel embarrassed after catching sight of my terrible red wine lips in the bathroom mirror.

Describe her in 3 words.

Witty, intelligent, composed.

What did you think of #YVDream and was it a good date night play?

I enjoyed the bold choices that were made but it  is a very dark version of the play that doesn’t leave you optimistic about love and romance so maybe not! On the other hand all the mud on stage leaves you feeling a bit dirty so there is that….

Did you stay on after the show to discuss?

Yes, we grabbed a couple of cocktails in the bar upstairs. I’d recommend the Peckham Pelican.

If you could change one thing about the date, what would it be?

Would have chosen white instead of red wine.

Rate the date using as many emojis as you like. 

  🍷🍹🎟🦆🐜🐙🌷

Would you meet again? (Romantically/as friends/as theatre companions)

She’s the first person I’ve met whose even a more avid theatre goer than me. Would definitely meet again for theatre trips and speculating on how much washing the stage manager has to do.

Zoe and Dan met at The Cut Bar & Restaurant before watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream, running at the Young Vic until 1 April. Find our more about the show here, or let us know if you want us to carry on with #YVBlindDate and would apply yourself: marketing@youngvic.org.

🌟🌟🌟🌟 “Deviant and dazzlingly imaginative” | A Midsummer Night’s Dream reviews

Director Joe Hill-Gibbins has teamed up with designer Johannes Schütz (Three Sisters) to dive into the subconscious of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, giving us a nightmarish #YVDream that everyone’s talking about.

See what the critics, press night guests and audiences alike have been saying in our round-up below.

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John Dagleish and Jemima Rooper as Lysander and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Keith Pattison.

🌟🌟🌟🌟
“Lust and violence are never far away. Delves into the collective unconscious.”
The Guardian | Read the full review here

🌟🌟🌟🌟
“Deviant and dazzlingly imaginative”
The Independent | Read the full review here

 

“I loved so much about last night. All one wants is for people to speak with their souls present, and to remind us that this language and the contradiction of peoples’ personalities shines across 500 years.”
– Fiona Shaw

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Check out what else audiences have been saying over on our Storify and catch #YVDream while tickets last at Young Vic until 1 April .