Meet the Community Chorus | Twelfth Night

Community Chorus members dancing. Photography by Johan Persson

Our musical adaptation of Twelfth Night cast includes a 60-strong Community Chorus of  non-professional performers from across our local boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth.

Kaleya Baxe, who is currently on placement with our Taking Part team has been meeting with some of the Community Chorus in order to find out more about this fascinating, talented and diverse group of performers.

Our work with young people and our local communities is a major part of our artistic life. At a deep level, it complements and enhances each of the shows we produce.

Our Taking Part team engage with over 15,000 people a year. We offer young people and our neighbours free tickets to all our shows. We also run a wide range of projects, from skills based workshops to a chance to perform on one of our stages.

Take a look at our website to find out more about Taking Part and how you can get involved.

Catherine Coker

Cathy

One day after I’d retired I was going round the back of the Young Vic and I saw all these children so I went and stood in the doorway to see what they were doing- I have an awfully curious mind unfortunately. Suddenly, a man came out and counted me in with them! So I followed them into a room with a piano and he asked us to sing but unfortunately I couldn’t remember all the words. So I thought, Ella Fitzgerald didn’t use words, here we go: da ba da dip da ba baa da ba! I went home laughing the whole way. Then the next morning they called and said, you’re going to join us, aren’t you? And I thought, what have I done?! But I found myself in a most beautiful production and have been in many ever since.

Vanessa Doidge

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I got involved in the Young Vic originally through work ’cause I worked in drug, alcohol and mental health. I signed up through my work so that I could support clients to come and take part in workshops and watch some of the plays cause a lot of people had never been to the theatre before. It’s been a real confidence boost particularly this year where I lost quite a bit of confidence in my previous job so doing Twelfth Night has kind of boosted me up a little bit cause I felt like I couldn’t really do anything and I was a bit useless, I’m just gonna sit at home and cry.  But now I got involved with this and I thought actually, I’m not useless and I can do things and it’s just kind of pushed me forward. I also got a job interview and I got the job because I felt more confident so, yeah I think this experience at this time has been really good.

Sarah Trustman

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I first got involved with the Young Vic when the Taking Part team did a performance with a Year 9 class in one of the spaces at the Young Vic performed with a proper set and costume and script writers. I thought it was an amazing thing for the students because there’s not much availability for young people to have access to theatre, and also a lot of them were black or from mixed ethnic backgrounds which they felt like at the time, this is 2012, wasn’t as represented as it is now. Nowadays pretty much everything that my students see has been through the YV free ticket scheme which is so good because with a class of 20 when a West End ticket costs £45, it’s never gonna happen. And these students come from quite poor backgrounds, our free school meal percentage is something like 64%, it’s really high so it just means they have access to really high quality performance where they feel like they’re welcome and they’re represented.

Millie Lynch Bailey

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This experience has been really different because I’ve done two other chorusey things and both of those were only young women, so it was me and other girls my age, whereas this is the first time it’s been a totally diverse chorus in every sense; in age, in gender, in race. There are people who are teachers and people who are students and people who work in offices- like there’s one girl studying law so it’s just a completely different bunch. In this I get to make friends with people who I almost certainly would not have met otherwise.

Neil Penlington

Neil

I danced with Matthew Bourne from 1995 to 2006, so the original cast Swan Lake and then every show in between, Cinderella, Carmen, Highland Fling, Spitfire to name a few. Having previously been in the theatre and then coming back in a very different guise, there’s kind of this secret shroud here the minute you walk in, you just feel protected. I think what the Young Vic does here, you never feel like you’re community chorus, you always feel equal from the beginning really. And the principle cast, they’re a phenomenal bunch of people and they just all make us feel as one. I think that comes across in the show. But yeah, there’s a real sense of community and that’s what the Young Vic’s all about really.

Eddy Queens

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How I got involved in the Young Vic was doing a show called See Me Now about prostitution and sex workers. Because I’m a recovering addict and I used to prostitute myself, my friend told me about the show so I got involved and got the part. But the thing was that during rehearsals, I don’t want to get emotional but I was actually informed that my mother had passed and the team were fantastic and really held me you know? Then we were in rehearsals when the show went to Edinburgh and I got the call saying my dad had passed and I just felt like, every time I was at the YV I got the news but I was so grateful because had I not been at the YV I don’t know what I would have done you know, I mean, I’ve been clean now 8 years but because I had a commitment to the Young Vic it really kept me going.

Chris McGoldrick

Chris M

I’m a musician originally from Glasgow but been in London for 35 years now. Working with the Young Vic, there isn’t a highlight- there’s lots of highlights. For me when I feel really good is doing a great show like this is good fun you know and you’re in a better mood when you leave the building than when you came in, so that’s good. But for me it’s just kinda a selfish thing and that’s to get a free education in theatre making.

Pixie Maddison

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I’ve always sort of drifted through life, my big joke was that my ambition was to have an ambition. I was homeless for a while and I’d just got myself sorted out and a friend of mine said, oh there’s a play about homelessness at the Young Vic do you wanna get involved? Yeah why not? So I came along and I ended up doing a bit where I told a story about when I was in care and I had 9 backing singers and I gradually climbed up this white sweeping staircase and sang ‘You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman’. And suddenly, I was one line ahead and I had the audience, I could make them cry, I could make them laugh, I just felt so empowered. And I thought, I’m gonna do this.

Twelfth Night runs at the Young Vic until 17 November. Tickets are now sold out but you can contact our Welcome Team on the day for returns and we operate a returns queue before each performance. Call our Welcome Team on 020 7922 2922.

https://youngvic.org/whats-on/the-convert

First Look: Twelfth Night Production Photos

Our highly anticipated musical adaptation of Twelfth Night is now in previews at the Young Vic. You’re in the right place if you are looking for your first glimpse of this joyous gem of a production.

Twelfth Night is conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah & Shaina Taub. Music & Lyrics by Shaina Taub. Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah & Oskar Eustis

Set Designer Robert Jones, Costume Designer Brigitte Reiffenstuel, Lighting Designer Tim Lutkin

Book tickets from £10: https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/twelfth-night

Community Chorus members dancing. Photography by Johan PerssonGabrielle Brooks & Rupert Young in Twelfth Night. Photography by Johan PerssonCommunity Chorus members dancing. Photography by Johan PerssonGabrielle Brooks & Melissa Allan in Twelfth Night. Photography by Johan PerssonNatalie Dew in Twelfth Night. Photography by Johan PerssonMartyn Ellis and Gerard Carey in Twelfth Night. Photography by Johan Persson

Twelfth Night runs at the Young Vic until 17 November. Limited tickets from £10. Find out more and book tickets now on our website.

Photography by Johan Persson

First look inside the Twelfth Night rehearsal room

Take your first look inside the rehearsal room for our upcoming musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night which opens for previews in just two weeks time.

Directed by our Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis, this production is set to be an injection of joy for audiences this Autumn and we can’t wait!

This celebration of love in all its forms features an awe-inspiring community chorus from Southwark and Lambeth with music and lyrics by the critically acclaimed songwriter Shaina Taub.

Twelfth Night runs at the Young Vic from 2 Oct until 17 Nov. Tickets from £10.

Find out more and book tickets now.

Paul Willcocks (Fabian) & Gbemisola Ikumelo (Maria) inside the rehearsal room
Paul Willcocks (Fabian) & Gbemisola Ikumelo (Maria) / Photography by Johan Persson
Silas Wyatt-Barke (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) inside the Twelfth Night rehearsal room
Silas Wyatt-Barke (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) / Photography by Johan Persson
Gabrielle Brooks (Viola) inside the Twelfth Night rehearsal room
Gabrielle Brooks (Viola) / Photography by Johan Persson
Gbemisola Ikumelo (Maria), Gerard Carey (Malvolio) & Natalie Dew (Olivia)
Gbemisola Ikumelo (Maria), Gerard Carey (Malvolio) & Natalie Dew (Olivia) / Photography by Johan Persson

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Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and Melissa Allan (Feste) / Photography by Johan Persson

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Gbemisola Ikumelo (Maria) / Photography by Johan Persson

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Jyuddah Jaymes (Sebastian) / Photography by Johan Persson

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Gerard Carey (Malvolio) and choreographer Lizzi Gee / Photography by Johan Persson

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Musical Director Sean Green / Photography by Johan Persson
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Gerard Carey (Malvolio) / Photography by Johan Persson
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Rupert Young (Duke Orsino) / Photography by Johan Persson
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Jonathan Livingstone (Antonio) / Photography by Johan Persson
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Natalie Dew (Olivia) / Photography by Johan Persson
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Martyn Ellis (Sir Toby Belch) / Photography by Johan Persson
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Gabrielle Brooks (Viola) / Photography by Johan Persson
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Kwame Kwei-Armah (director) / Photography by Johan Persson

Shakespeare gets a shake-up as soulful melodies and R&B beats weave through this enchanting musical adaptation of Twelfth Night.

This celebration of love in all its forms features an awe-inspiring community chorus from Southwark and Lambeth with music and lyrics by the critically acclaimed songwriter Shaina Taub.

Book tickets now: https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/twelfth-night

Black Panther’s Letitia Wright to star in The Convert at the Young Vic

letitia

Letitia Wright will play the role of Jekesai/Ester in the Young Vic production of Black Panther co-star, and Tony-nominated writer Danai Gurira’s The Convert.

She is cast alongside Paapa Essiedu (RSC Hamlet) who plays Chilford, and Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans) taking on the role of Chancellor.

Further casting includes: Jude Akuwudike (Uncle); Rudolphe Mdlongwa (Tamba); Pamela Nomvete (Mai Tamba). The casting of the role of Prudence will be announced at a later date.

Directed by Ola Ince The Convert, set in 1896 in what is modern day Zimbabwe, explores if faith has a cost and if so, when that cost is too much.  Jekesai, a young Shona woman fleeing forced marriage finds herself working for devout Catholic priest, Chilford. He relishes the opportunity to shape his new convert but Jekesai’s salvation has a price.

The Convert will run at the Young Vic from 7 Dec – 26 Jan 2019. Limited tickets are available from £10.

Photo credit: Kwaku Alston

Win a pair of tickets to the sold-out Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home

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Become a Friend of the YV by midnight on Thursday 16 August and you’ll be in with a chance to win a pair of tickets to a sold out-performance of the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home on Thursday 30 August. Join us for an exclusive pre-show drinks reception with some of our supporters before you enjoy the show.

By becoming a Friend you’ll be supporting the Directors Program, our unique training program for emerging directors, and Taking Part, our deep rooted education and engagement program in our local area.

We are dedicated to nurturing the next generation of artists and enhancing the lives of our local community. Come join us.

How to Enter?

Sign up to become a Friend or Good Friend of the Young Vic before midnight on Thursday 16 August and email friends@youngvic.org to confirm your entry.

Terms and Conditions

The winner will be selected at random from entrants and contacted on Thursday 23 August. Entrants must become a YV Friend or Good Friend before midnight on Thursday 16 August 2018 to enter. 1 pair of tickets for the Fun Home performance at 19:30 on Thursday 30 August.

Jenna Russell in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner

11 Questions with Kaisa Hammarlund | Fun Home

We took some time out to sit down with the wonderful Kaisa Hammarlund who plays Adult Alison in the critically acclaimed musical Fun Home which is currently playing to sell-out audiences at the Young Vic.

1. Can you describe your character in Fun Home in three words?

Be-quiffed, Lesbian, Cartoonist

2. What’s you’re favourite thing about working with the director Sam Gold?

His attempts at cockney rhyming slang! And his wonderful patience.

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

A lesbian protagonist and a fake Tiffany lamp!

4. What invention do you think the world is lacking right now?

An environmental conscience.

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

I’ll be putting gel in my Bechdel-quiff!

6. What is your favourite project you have worked on as an actor?

Why, this of course! And I loved playing Charity in Sweet Charity at the lovely Royal Exchange in Manchester.

7. Is you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?

I’d go to Australia to have a quick post-show cocktail with my best Swedish mate.

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

It was on a school trip to see a local production of Blood Brothers.

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

I’m with them in my dressing room every day! The ladies of Fun Home.

10. What is your favourite midnight snack?

Anything pickled!

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

800 AD in the Viking Age of Scandinavia. When men and women were equal warriors!

Fun Home runs at the Young Vic until 1 Sept. Find out more about the production here. Tickets are sold out but you are welcome to queue for returns on the day.

Fun Home | Production Photos

The London transfer of Fun Home is now in previews at the Young Vic. Take your first exclusive look at the production photos here.

Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel this heartbreaking and profound musical took Broadway by storm winning 5 Tony Awards.

The cast of Fun Home includes Kaisa Hammarlund, Eleanor Kane, Jenna Russell, Ashley Samuels, Cherrelle Skeete, Zubin Varla and Brooke Haynes, Eddie Martin, Charlie McLellan, Ramsay Robertson, Archie Smith, Harriet Turnbull

Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book & Lyrics by Lisa Kron
Based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel
Direction Sam Gold

Brooke Haynes, Kaisa Hammalund and Zubin Varla in Fun Home at the Young VicKaisa Hammarlund and Brooke Haynes in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner
Jenna Russell in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner
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Zubin Varla in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc BrennerAshley Samuels and Zubin Varla in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner
Eleanor Kane and Cherrelle Skeete in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner
Harriet Turnbull, Eddie Martin and Archie Smith in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner
Harriet Turnbull in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner
Ashley Samuels and Zubin Varla in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc BrennerKaisa Hammarlund in Fun Home at the Young Vic. Photo by Marc Brenner
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Fun Home is now running at the Young Vic until 1 Sept. Tickets are selling fast so best availability is from 13 August. Book tickets now from £15.

Production photos by Marc Brenner