Meet Caitriona Shoobridge | Director of Ivan and the Dogs

Genesis Future Directors Award winner Caitriona Shoobridge has recently directed Hattie Naylor’s Ivan and the Dogs which runs in The Clare studio until 20 July.

This one-person play with Alex Austin as Ivan explores the need for kindness and trust in the face of adversity.

We sat down with Cat to find out more about her career and her Young Vic debut.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into directing?

I belonged to a youth theatre from quite a young age and just became obsessed with theatre. I didn’t really find my ‘thing’ at school and so didn’t do higher education but theatre I always kept coming back to. It’s been the constant thing in my life and has opened my eyes to many different worlds, cultures and possibilities. 

What do you love about the play ‘Ivan and the Dogs’ by Hattie Naylor?

It is such an extraordinarily unique piece of writing. My favourite thing about it is that it feels both ancient and familiar to us as fairytales do but at the same time is also incredibly pertinent to the world right now. 

Alex Austin in Ivan and the Dogs. Designer Basia Bińkowska. Lighting Designer Elliot Griggs. Photo by Anthony Lee

Can you describe Ivan and the Dogs in just 5 words?

No, it is too epic!

What has been your best moment while directing this show?

I don’t think I can pick out a single moment as the whole journey from start to finish has been brilliant. One of my favourite things about making it has been collaborating with an extraordinary creative team and company. That has been pure joy. 

The sound design is really integral part of this production. Can you tell us more about that? Who are the voices we can hear?

Yeah, there are 19 offstage characters that Ivan encounters in his story who are given to us in a soundscape in Russian dialogue. We used the idea of the soundscape as the central part of the concept for design and thought; what is the most we can do with this? What if we made the entire world from sound?

Have you learnt anything new from this experience?

There are so many things! A big one is definitely having a creative team around you that you trust to share your biggest ideas with and who you can take a risk with. Another would be holding your nerve when executing that idea. And finally the ability to zoom out from it at the end of the process and understand that your work consists of everything you’ve done on the journey and not just what happens on the night. 

Alex Austin in Ivan and the Dogs. Photo by Anthony Lee.

What are your top tips for anybody reading this who is interested in becoming a director?

Really think about who you are as person and what you as an individual you bring to your work. I find that theatres are only interested in finding out who you are and not listening to what you may think they want to hear. Oh and join the Young Vic Directors Program!

Tell us about how it felt to be a 2019 Genesis Foundation Future Directors Award Recipient? 

Best feeling ever.

What has it been like working at the Young Vic? What’s been your favourite part?

The Young Vic is undoubtedly one of my favourite theatres. It’s incredibly supportive of emerging directors from the core artistic team to production to front of house everyone is brilliant and there’s something to learn from everyone. I’ll remember this experience for a long time. 

What are you looking forward to doing after this production?

Spending time with my daughters and hopefully making another one? 

Ivan and the Dogs runs at the Young Vic until 20th July. Availability is limited but returns are released online. A returns queue is open from one hour before each performance.

Director Caitriona Shoobridge
Designer  Basia Bińkowska
Lighting Designer  Elliot Griggs
Sound Designer  Xana
Casting Director  Lotte Hines
Movement Director  Natasha Nixon
Voice Coach Anne-Marie Speed
Boris Karloff Trainee Assistant Directors Tian Brown-Sampson, Grace Duggan


With Alex Austin

A statement on behalf of Green Door Pictures, Manchester International Festival (MIF) and the Young Vic

Issued on behalf of Green Door Pictures, Manchester International Festival (MIF) and the Young Vic:

We are deeply saddened to read Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley’s article published today online. Tree is a new work, based on a concept by Idris Elba with an original script by Kwame Kwei-Armah. 

It is a fact that Green Door Pictures, MIF and the Young Vic are passionate about supporting and nurturing emerging talent within the creative industry from the widest variety of backgrounds and we are committed to ensuring fair representation on stage and behind the scenes. Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley acknowledge in their article that it is common practice to workshop theatrical projects during their development, as with this project. Whilst we appreciate that they were involved in exploring ideas for a project based on Idris’ original concept, the truth of the matter is that MIF and Green Door did not feel their proposed direction was artistically viable. It was decided by these producers that the show needed to go in a very different direction with a new writer attached, using Idris Elba’s original concept as the starting point. Several offers were made to Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley to discuss the future of the show, and how the producers could continue working with them, which they declined. 

John McGrath, Artistic Director and CEO of MIF said: “Kwame came on board as director and writer of Tree at the invitation of Idris and MIF. His involvement has been characterised by the integrity and creativity for which he is widely known. His script for Tree is entirely his creation and is, in my opinion, a resonant and exciting response to the themes of Idris’s Mi Mandela album.”

Idris Elba created Green Door to champion diversity of thought and offer opportunities to gifted filmmakers from across all genres, race and gender. His two TV projects boast a 50-75% split in the writers’ room in favour of female writers, as well as an extremely diverse group ranging from British Ghanaian to West Indian and Asian. Kwame Kwei-Armah’s career in theatre, up to and including the season he has just announced for 2020 at the YV is testament to his passion and drive to support and nurture a diverse range of talent: the Young Vic Director’s Program is dedicated to nurturing and supporting emerging talent – every day a different artist from the program joined the Tree rehearsal room. His upcoming programmed work at the Young Vic champions some excellent female writers and directors. 

It is not accepted that, by moving the project in a different direction and commissioning Kwame Kwei-Armah to write a brand new script based on Idris Elba’s original concept, there has been a breach of any legal obligations owed to Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley’s original workshop contract. Despite attempts by the producers to resolve the issue with them, they decided to instruct solicitors. Efforts then continued through the parties’ lawyers to reach a compromise, which included the offer of a credit and an additional payment to acknowledge their initial involvement in the project. These proposals were made in spite of that fact that the claims by Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley have no legal basis, and were made only in the spirit of reaching a compromise. It is simply not the case that the attempts to resolve the concerns which Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley have raised were an attempt to ‘buy them off’ and it is therefore disappointing that they have characterised the position in this way.

As stated in the foreword of the Tree programme, the producers are grateful to Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley for the work they did on the initial workshops for the show, alongside all the other actors, creatives and producers who have contributed to the show along its journey. 

Tree | In the rehearsal room

Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s electrifying new blend of drama, music and dance follows one man’s journey into the heart and soul of contemporary South Africa – with the audience at the centre of the action.

Take a look inside the rehearsal room with these photos by Marc Brenner.

Tree premieres at Manchester International Festival later this month before coming to the Young Vic from 29 July 2019. Find out more and book now.

Cast includes Christian Bradley, Lucy Briggs-Owen, Sinéad Cusack, Kurt Egyiawan, Alfred Enoch, Anna-Kay Alicia Gayle, Joan Iyiola, Anthony Matsena, Daniella May, Patrice Naiambana, Mbulelo Ndabeni, Stefan Sinclair and Andile Sotiya.

Sinéad Cusack and Alfred Enoch
Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and Choreographer Gregory Maqoma
Mbulelo Ndabeni and Anthony Matsena
Kurt Egyiawan and Lucy Briggs-Owen
Daniella May and Sinéad Cusack
Patrice Naiambana
Christian Bradley and choreographer Gregory Maqoma
Alfred Enoch
Anthony Matsena, Anna-Kay Alicia Gayle and Christian Bradley
Joan Iyiola

Tree premieres at Manchester International Festival later this month before coming to the Young Vic from 29 July 2019. Find out more and book now.

Photos by Marc Brenner.

Bronx Gothic | Production Photos

Part theatre, part dance and part visual art installation, Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic delves into her memories of growing up in the Bronx, before emerging into a breathtaking exploration of girlhood. Directed by Peter Born.

This UK premiere is now running at the Young Vic until 29 June.
Book tickets now from just £10.

Photography credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Bronx Gothic is now running at the Young Vic until 29 June. Book tickets from £10.

11 Olivier Award Nominations for the Young Vic

We’re thrilled to be celebrating a massive 11 nominations for Young Vic productions in the 2019 Olivier Awards 🎉

Congratulations to all of the nominees – and a huge shout out to everyone involved in bringing all of our productions to the Young Vic stages. You’re all winners to us!

The Inheritance
8 Olivier Award Nominations

Best New Play
Matthew Lopez

Best Director
Stephen Daldry

Best Actor
Kyle Soller

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Vanessa Redgrave

Best Set Design
Bob Crowley

Best Sound Design
Paul Arditti & Christopher Reid

Best Lighting Design
Jon Clark

Outstanding Achievement in Music
Composer: Paul Englishby

Fun Home
3 Olivier Award Nominations

Best New Musical

Best Actor in a Musical – Zubin Varla

Outstanding Achievement in Music
Composer: Jeanine Tesori
Lyricist/Bookwriter: Lisa Kron

The Olivier Award winners are announced Sunday 7 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Jason Manford.

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train | Production Photos

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis is now running at the Young Vic until 30 March directed by Kate Hewitt. Book tickets from £10.

With Oberon K. A. AdjepongMatthew DouglasDervla KirwanUkweli Roach and Joplin Sibtain

Set Designer Magda Willi
Costume Designer Kinnetia Isidore
Lighting Designer Guy Hoare
Photographer Johan Persson

Ukweli Roach as Angel Cruz and Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins and Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Ukweli Roach as Angel Cruz
Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins and Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Matthew Douglas as Charlie D’Amico and Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins
Ukweli Roach as Angel Cruz and Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Dervla Kirwan as Mary Jane Hanrahan
Oberon K. A. Adjepong as Lucius Jenkins and Joplin Sibtain as Valdez
Matthew Douglas as Charlie D’Amico

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis is now running at the Young Vic until 30 March directed by Kate Hewitt. Book tickets from £10.

Set Designer Magda Willi
Costume Designer Kinnetia Isidore
Lighting Designer Guy Hoare

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle

Some of the finest British actors, writers and directors, each with a personal connection to the Windrush story, tell the story of the Afro-Caribbean community in modern-day Britain through a series of monologues to broadcast on BBC FOUR from Sunday 17 Feb at 10pm.

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle is a Young Vic co-production with Douglas Road Productions, in collaboration with BBC ARTS.

Set in the front room of an Afro-Caribbean home, the series explores the highs and lows of one family from the 1940s to the present day through their hopes and desires, challenges and shattered dreams.

Curated by Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah , the series of eight 15-minute monologues is led by four female directors and has been developed by eight leading British writers.

Can love overcome fear? Can perseverance overcome ignorance and racism? What does it cost to belong? Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle challenges our collective understanding of what it means to be part of the Afro-Caribbean community in modern-day Britain.

Danielle Vitalis as Eustice in Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle

Eunice arrives into 1940s England full of hope and ambition, and we follow her dynasty across leaps of a decade to the present day. Each self-contained monologue links to the original arrival of the enthusiastic, young nurse. We hear of Eunice’s baby, conceived out of wedlock with a runaway white doctor, and of Cyrus – her knight in shiny overalls – who offers his heart and loyalty by agreeing to marry her and put his name on the child’s birth certificate, despite the fact that Eunice doesn’t love him.

“Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle is a wonderful entry point for anyone who wishes to take the psychic temperature of a diaspora generation. I’m proud to be associated with this project and I hope you enjoy it. We tell these stories because they are a gateway to understanding for our children.” – Sir Lenny Henry

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic theatre, brings together some of the finest British actors, writers and directors, each with a personal connection to the Windrush story, to tell the tale through a series of deeply emotive monologues.

The impressive cast of nine includes Vinette Robinson (Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Sherlock) as Yvonne; Sir Lenny Henry (The Long Song, Broadchurch) as the older Cyrus; and Montserrat Lombard (Upstart Crow, Ashes To Ashes, Love Soup) in the role of Samantha.

Gamba Cole as Malcolm and Elliot Barnes-Worrell as David
Gamba Cole as Malcolm and Elliot Barnes-Worrell as David

A number of rising stars feature in the younger roles: Danielle Vitalis (Attack the Block, Youngers, Afro Punk Girl) as Eunice; Clifford Samuel (McMafia, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and A Guide For The Homesick) as young Cyrus; Gamba Cole (Damilola: Our Loved Boy, Guerilla, Lucky Man) as Malcolm and Elliot Barnes-Worrell (Poirot, Jericho, Ready Player One) as David. Whilst, Jonathan Jules (Invasion Earth, The Battle Within, Dave Allen at Peace) plays the role of Kev, and, Olivia-Mai Barrett (Disney’s Alex & Co, Penny on MARS) is Michaela.

“This has been an incredibly personal project for me: as a storyteller I’ve felt a huge sense of responsibility in exploring this history. Having the chance to honour my late parents and the pioneering Windrush immigrants – as a generation begins to slip away – has felt incredibly moving. I hope that the series will draw viewers to question their own story and how we collectively move forward.” –
Kwame Kwei-Armah

The team of leading writers for television and stage includes Carmen Harris (EastEnders, The Crouches, Family Affairs); Angie Le Mar (Funny Black Women On The Edge, The Brothers, Forty); Roy Williams (Clubland, Sucker Punch); Juliet Gilkes Romero (RSC The Whip, Best Play Award at Writers’ Guild); and Carol Russell (House of Usher, Comin’Atcha, The Story Of Tracy Beaker). With a number of actors composing scripts: Clint Dyer (Royal Court Theatre, Scala Films, Theatre Royal Stratford); Nathaniel Martello-White (Royal Court, Young Vic), and Kwame Kwei-Armah (Artistic Director, the Young Vic).

Vinette Robinson (Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Sherlock) as Yvonne
Vinette Robinson (Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Sherlock) as Yvonne

The all-female team of directors are led by Bafta Award-winning writer-director Tinge Krishnan (Been So Long, The Exorcist TV series), and includes 2013 London Film Festival Best British Newcomer Destiny Ekaragha (Silent Witness, Gone Too Far); Christiana Ebohon-Green (Holby City, Eastenders, Doctors); and Dionne Edwards (We Love Moses, That Girl).

Lamia Dabboussy, BBC Arts, says: “Following the success of Queers and Snatches, it’s fantastic to once again bring television and theatre together in this way, supporting established as well as emerging writers, directors and producers to deliver this highly moving series of stories. It’s been wonderful to work in partnership with the Young Vic theatre and Douglas Road Productions in making this a reality.”

Kwame Kwei-Armah and Sir Lenny Henry
Kwame Kwei-Armah and Sir Lenny Henry

Inspired by Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, join Sir Lenny Henry, Kwame Kwei-Armah and host Afua Hirsch for an evening of lively discussion about the Windrush generation, Afro-Caribbean culture and heritage, and ideas around identity in Britain today. Find out more.

You can watch the series on BBC FOUR from Sunday 17 to Wednesday 20 February at 10pm each evening, or catch up later on BBC iPlayer.