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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
Artistic Director of the Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah, today
announces the full cast for Arthur
Miller’s Death of a Salesman, a co-production with Elliott & Harper Productions and Cindy Tolan.
Following her recent award winning success on Company and Angels in America,
Marianne Elliott will co-direct this
production with Miranda Cromwell,
who worked as Associate Director on both of those shows.
Wendell Pierce (making his
UK stage debut as Willy Loman), Sharon
D. Clarke (Linda Loman) and Arinzé
Kene (Biff Loman) will be joined by Ian Bonar (Bernard), Trevor Cooper (Charley),
Martins Imhangbe (Happy Loman),
Joseph Mydell (Ben Loman), Nenda Neurer (Letta), Jennifer Saayeng (Miss Forsythe), Matthew Seadon-Young
(Howard Wagner and Stanley)
and Maggie Service (The Woman
and Jenny) in the production, which opens on 9 May, with previews from 1
“I don’t say he’s a great man…but he’s a human being, and a
terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be
allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally
be paid to such a person.”
Directed by Marianne Elliott
and Miranda Cromwell, Design by Anna Fleischle, Lighting Design by Aideen Malone, Sound Design by Carolyn Downing and Casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG.
Miller (1915-2005) was born in New York City and studied at
the University of Michigan. His plays include All My Sons, Death
of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, After
the Fall, Incident at Vichy, The American Clock, Broken
Glass, Mr. Peters’ Connections, and Resurrection
Blues. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949. Other works
include the novel Focus, the screenplay The
Misfits, the memoir Timebends, and texts for the
books In Russia, In the Country, and Chinese
Encounters, in collaboration with his wife, photographer Inge Morath.Newly
published collections include CollectedEssays and Presence:
Ian Bonar returns to the
Young Vic toplay Bernard. Previous theatre credits for the Young Vic
include Ma Vie en Rose. His other theatre credits include Jellyfish (Bush Theatre), Be
Prepared (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/VAULT Festival), Arden of
Faversham, The Witch of Edmonton, The Roaring Girl (RSC), The Blackest Black (Hampstead
Theatre), Brilliant Adventures (Royal Exchange Theatre), Me
as a Penguin (Arcola Theatre), and DNA and The Miracle (National
Theatre). His television credits include Damilola:Our Loved Boy, New Blood, Holy
Flying Circus, and Going Postal; and for film, Interlude in Prague,Spectre, Skyfall, Kon-Tiki, Starter
for 10, 1234, Atonement, and How to
Lose Friends & Alienate People.
Sharon D. Clarke plays
Linda Loman. Her theatre credits include Caroline,
Or Change (Chichester Festival Theatre/Hampstead Theatre/Playhouse
Theatre), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Amen Corner – for which she won an
Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress (National Theatre), Ghost The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre), The Life (Southwark Playhouse), Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air
Theatre), Hairspray (Shaftesbury
Theatre), We Will Rock You (Dominion
Theatre) and the forthcoming Blues in the
Night at Kiln Theatre. Her television credits include as series regular Lola
Griffin in Holby City, Doctor Who, Informer and Flowers; and
for film, Tau, TheDarkestUniverse, Sugarhouse, Secret Society
and Beautiful People.
Trevor Cooper plays Charley.
His theatre credits include An
Enemy of the People, Heartbreak House
(Chichester Festival Theatre), Chimerica (Almeida
Theatre/Harold Pinter Theatre), All That
Fall (Arts Theatre/59E59, New York), King
Lear (Tobacco Factory Theatre), There
is a War, The Swan, Playing with Fire (National Theatre), House of Games, Measure for Measure, Awake
and Sing, The Late Henry Moss (Almeida Theatre), Arcadia (Duke of York’s Theatre), By the Bog of Cats (Wyndham’s Theatre),and The Lieutenant of
Inishmore, King John and The
Prisoner’s Dilemma (RSC). His television credits include as series regular
Sergeant Woolf in Call the Midwife andLen Clifton in This Country, The Windsors,
Wolfblood, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Ballot Monkeys,
Wizards vs. Aliens, Murphy’s Law and Tess
of the D’Urbervilles; and for film, Postcards
from London, Crooked House, A Quiet Passion, Happy-Go-Lucky, Until Death, Dear
Wendy and Vanity Fair.
Martins Imhangbe plays Happy
Loman. His theatre credits include The
Tragedy of King Richard II (Almeida Theatre), An Adventure, The Royale
(Bush Theatre), Absolute Hell, The Barbershop Chronicles (National
Theatre), Luce (Southwark Playhouse),
Octagon (Arcola Theatre), The Skriker (Royal Exchange Theatre), Lionboy (Complicite UK/international
tour), Romeo and Juliet (Orange Tree
Theatre), and A Human Being Died that
Night (Hampstead Theatre).
Arinzé Kene returns to
the Young Vic toplay Biff Loman. Previous theatre credits for the Young
Vic include Been So Long. His other
theatre credits include Misty – also
written by Kene (Bush Theatre/Trafalgar Studios), Girl from the North Country (The Old Vic / Noël Coward Theatre ), One Night in Miami (Donmar Warehouse), Decade (Headlong), The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre), Daddy
Cool (Shaftesbury Theatre/international tour) and Torn (Arcola Theatre). As a playwright his credits include One Voice, Good Dog, God’s Property,
Little Baby Jesus and Estate Walls. His television credits
include The Long Song, Flack, Informer, Crazy Face, Our Girl and Youngers. His film credits include Been So Long, The Pass, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Joseph Mydell returns to
the Young Vic to play Ben Loman. Previous theatre credits for the Young Vic
include A Season in the Congo and Elektra. His other credits include The Tragedy of King Richard II, Richard III (Almeida Theatre), Hamlet (RSC), The Comedy of Errors, Edmond, Angels in America – for which he won Olivier Award for Best
Supporting Actor (National Theatre), Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof (Novello Theatre), Mother
Christmas and Anna in the Tropics
(Hampstead Theatre). His television credits include Mrs. Wilson, Homeland, The Missing and Space Precinct; and for film, Woman
in Gold, Tonight You’re Mine and Mammoth.
Nenda Neurer plays Letta.
She represented Rose Bruford at the 2017 Sam Wanamaker Festival, playing
Vittoria in The White Devil. Her other theatre credits include White Teeth (Kiln Theatre), Jerusalem,
The Borrowers (The Watermill Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Orange
Wendell Pierce plays
Willy Loman. His theatre credits include Cost
of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Queenie Pie (Kennedy Center), The Piano Lesson (Walter Kerr Theatre), Serious Money (Royale Theater) and The Boys of Winter (Biltmore Theatre), The Good Times are Killing Me (Minetta Lane Theatre), Tis a Pity She’s A Whore, Cymbeline, Two Gentleman of Verona (Joseph Papp Public Theater), The Cherry Orchard (Classical Theatre of
Harlem), Broke-ology (Lincoln Center)
and Fences (Pasadena Playhouse).
Pierce is also a Tony Award winning producer of Clybourne Park. His television credits include as series regular
Det. Bunk Moreland in The Wire,
Robert Zane in Suits, Antoine Batiste
in Treme, Tom Clancy’sJack Ryan, Confirmation, Chicago PD, Unsolved, The Odd Couple, Ray Donovan, Advocate’s Devil,
Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story, Strapped, Life Support and With Two
Lumps of Ice; and for film, Selma,
Horrible Bosses, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two, Parker, Lay the Favorite
and One Last Thing – for which he won
the Acting Award at the LA Film Festival.
Jennifer Saayeng plays Miss
Forsythe. Her theatre credits include Caroline,
Or Change (Chichester Festival Theatre), Ragtime (Charing Cross Theatre), Les Liaisons Dangereuses, City
of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), The
Etienne Sisters (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory), A Long and Happy Life (Finborough Theatre), Ghost (Piccadilly Theatre) and Not
Quite Gospel (Birmingham Rep). Her television credits include Emerald City, Vera and the forthcoming Summer
Matthew Seadon-Young plays
Howard Wagner and Stanley. His theatre credits include Company (Gielgud Theatre), Assassins
(Gate Theatre, Dublin), Big Fish (The
Other Palace), Beautiful (Aldwych
Theatre), BillyElliot (Victoria Palace Theatre), Sweeney Todd (ENO), Urinetown
(Apollo Theatre), The Architects
(National Theatre), School for Scandal (Theatre
Royal Bath), She Stoops to Conquer
(National Theatre) and Les Miserables
(Queen’s Theatre). His film credits include Pride
and Les Miserables.
Maggie Service plays The
Woman and Jenny. Her theatre credits Annie
Get Your Gun (Sheffield Theatres), Rules
for Living, TABLE, Collaborators, Earthquakes in London, London
Assurance (National Theatre), The
Country Wife (Royal Exchange Theatre), A
Flea in her Ear (The Old Vic), Well
(Apollo Theatre) and Girl with a Pearl Earring
(Theatre Royal Haymarket); and for film LondonRoad.
Marianne Elliott is
Artistic Director of Elliott & Harper Productions, a company she founded in
2016 with producer Chris Harper. Her credits for the company include Company (Gielgud Theatre – winner of Evening
Standard Award for Best Director and Critics Circle Award for Best Musical) and
Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle
(Wyndham’s Theatre). Her other directing credits include Angels in America (National Theatre/Neil Simon Theatre – winner of
Olivier and Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play), co-direction of War Horse (National Theatre/New London
Theatre/Vivian Beaumont Theater – winner of Tony Award for Best Direction of a
Play), The Curious Incident of the Dog in
the Night-Time (National Theatre/Apollo Theatre/Gielgud Theatre/Ethel
Barrymore Theatre – Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Director), Saint Joan (National Theatre – Olivier
Award for Best Revival, South Bank Show Award) and Pillars of the Community (National Theatre – Evening Standard Best
Miranda Cromwell’s directing credits include Half Breed (Talawa Theatre/Soho Theatre/India tour), Magic Elves, HeyDiddle Diddle, Sense (Bristol Old Vic), Pigeon English (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), The Rest of Your Life (Bush Theatre) and DeathandTreason (UK tour). As Associate Director to Marianne Elliott her credits include Company (Gielgud Theatre) and Angels in America (National Theatre/Neil Simon Theatre) and to Melly Still on Coram Boy (Colston Hall). As Assistant Director her credits include, Strife, An Enemy of the People (Chichester Festival Theatre), hang (Royal Court Theatre), and Swallows and Amazon and Faraway (Bristol Old Vic).
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of Young Vic today announced YV:ID, a five-week festival of digital and live events taking place throughout February and March 2019, which aim to catalyse debates around the themes of identity.
YV:ID festival will include: Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, a series of monologues commissioned by BBC Arts and produced in partnership with Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Douglas Road Productions, exploring themes of personal and cultural identity through the eyes of an Afro-Caribbean family from the 1940s to the present day, which will air on BBC Four in February; My England, a collection of fourteen short films by writers, directors and performers from across the country, exploring the notions of ‘englishness’ and English national identity, which will be released online in March ahead of Brexit; The 8 Club, is a web series investigating the notion of ‘toxic masculinity’, and some of the issues facing future generations in the wake of the positive social change brought about by #MeToo.
The Young Vic will host a series of accompanying
live debate events at the theatre to run parallel to each project.
Kwei-Armah, said today, “The stages of the Young Vic have always been a place dedicated to
asking the most profound questions in artistically compelling ways. It’s not
just the art we invite into these four walls but also the discourse we send
beyond them. After seven years in America, I returned home to a country which
seemed amidst an identity crisis. YV:ID is a way to catalyse a debate about
those perceptions, and, as part of our commitment to channelling work into the
digital world, we are also bringing these discussions into the digital sphere
to reach new audiences and continue the conversation outside of our four walls.”
SOON GONE: A WINDRUSH CHRONICLE
by BBC Arts and co-produced by Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Douglas RoadProductions and the Young
Vic, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, are eight 15-minute heartfelt
monologues set in and around the front room of an Afro-Caribbean home. The
monologues, which will broadcast on BBC
Four in February, follow the highs and lows of one family from their
arrival in England in the 1940s up to the present day as they explore their
hopes and desires, challenges and shattered dreams.
have been curated by the Young Vic’s Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and feature some of the UK’s finest acting talent
including Sir Lenny Henry (The Long Song), Vinette Robinson (Doctor Who),
Montserrat Lombard (Upstart Crow), Danielle Vitalis (Attack the Block),
Clifford Samuel (McMafia), Gamba Cole (Damilola: Our
Loved Boy), Elliot Barnes-Worrell
(Jericho), Jonathan Jules (Invasion
Earth), and Olivia-Mai Barrett (Penny on M.A.R.S).
The eight films are written by a team of leading writers for television and stage: Carmen Harris (EastEnders), Angie Le Mar (Funny Black Women on the Edge), Roy Williams (Clubland), Juliet GilkesRomero (Creative Fellow at RSC), Carol Russell (The Story of Tracy Beaker), Clint Dyer (Sylvia Plath for Royal Court), Nathaniel Martello-White (Blackta for Young Vic), and Kwame Kwei-Armah (Elmina’s Kitchen). The monologues will air on BBC Four in February.
As part of YV:ID, the Young Vic will also be programming a live discussion event hosted by Afua Hirsch, with Lenny Henry and Kwame Kwei-Armah at the theatre on 21 February, around notions of cultural identity and self-definition in the 21st century. Find out more.
My England is a series of fourteen filmed monologues from
across England, commissioned and produced by the Young Vic and created by writers, actors and directors exploring
how they define “Englishness” and what it means to be English right now. Half
the monologues were filmed on location in the regions the writers are from,
including Coventry, Halifax, Luton, Peak District, Plymouth, Middlesbrough and
London, and the other half were filmed at the Young Vic, performed by actors
from the local neighbourhood in collaboration with the Young Vic’s Taking Part
The writers include Javaad Alipoor (England’s Red with Christopher Eccleston), Michael Bhim (The Question), Ishy Din (UTB!), Kenneth Emson (Mayday),Lynette Linton (Simone), Zodwa Nyoni (On Belonging), Bea Roberts (Sir F. Mother Fucking Drake with Jenny Rainsford), Jack Rooke (The Game), Lucy J. Skilbeck (Big Ben), Stef Smith (How To Grow A Nation with Kate Dickie), Polly Stenham (Flat White with Ophelia Lovibond), Simon Stephens (she), Selina Thompson (I Feel Most English When… with Ronke Adekoluejo) and Jack Thorne (Luton? with Mat Fraser). Directors include Young Vic Genesis Fellow, Nadia Latif, and Rodney Charles.
The films will be released via the Young Vic website and social media channels from 25 February.
The Young Vic will host an accompanying event on 12 March, bringing together members of the public with politicians, artists and social commentators to explore the identity of a nation as it’s going through a divorce, and to ask how we define “englishness” in our potentially fractious society. Find out more.
A Young Vic co-production with David Weale-Cochrane and Kwame (KZ) Kwei-Armah Jr.
THE 8 CLUB
The 8 Club is an online video series exploring the notion of ‘toxic masculinity’ and the legacy young men have inherited from the ideas of masculinity as defined by generations before them. Each episode tackles the subjects that surround and affect young men today, focussing on provocative and often unspoken topics for men, such as mental health, money, sex, violence and personal relationships and how these topics are viewed in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the wider impact this has on gender politics.T
Participants in The 8 Club include JJ Bola, Michael Brooks, Ned Dukes, Matt Harvey, Roly
Hunter, LionHeart, Simon Anthony Mitchell, Adam Pugh, Michael
Simon, Jordan Stephens, Elric
Stockley and Jamell Williams.
The films will be released via the Young Vic social
media channels from 11 March, and
the Young Vic will host an accompanying live event on 21 March which explores some of the questions around gender politics
which are facing the next generation.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.