New Year, New Fact!

Fact#8 of the great 40 facts:

There is a rumour that the old dressing rooms had no windows so Judi Dench and her fellow cast members painted one onto the walls.

And that rumour is true!  Judi Dench has performed in two productions at the Young Vic. She played Lady Macbeth in Macbeth back in 1976 and Bessie Burgess in The Plough and the Stars in 1991.

Fact #6 – our illustrious history!

Frank Dunlop (left) opening Young Vic

The Young Vic began as an offshoot of the National Theatre based at the Old Vic. Before the National Theatre moved to it’s current home on the South Bank, the National Theatre Company had its home at the Old Vic. 40 years ago, in 1970, the Young Vic was born under the direction of Founder-Director Frank Dunlop. In the words of Laurence Olivier, then director of the National Theatre, “here we think to develop plays for young audiences, an experimental workshop for authors, actors and producers.” The aim was to create an accesible theatre which offered high quality at a low cost in an informal environment and to appeal to younger audiences, but not specifically children.

Fact 5 – that’s right, Joseph started here

The Young Vic staged the world’s first performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in 1972, directed by our then Artistic Director Frank Dunlop.

Presented by the Young Vic Theatre Company, the tour started off at the Edinburgh International Festival in August and September, then moved to Youung Vic in October and Roundhouse in November. It was the 2nd musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (first being The Likes of Us which wasn’t actually staged until 2005).

Who did it feature? Gary Bond as Joseph, Peter Reeves as the narrator and Gordon Waller as Pharoah. View of a photo of the original cast here >>

The production was then recorded for an LP released on the RSO label in 1972!

May I return to the beginning
The light is dimming, and the dream is too
The world and I, we are still waiting
Still hesitating
Any dream will do

Read other facts of the great 40 Anniversary Facts >>

We love poetry magnets

Even more, we love it when Young Vic friends come up with great sentences with our 40th Anniversary Season poetry magnets!

@richard_fitch sends us his best sentence. We like it.

Want your own set of magnets? Follow @youngvictheatre on Twitter and maybe we’ll do another round of magnets soon for our weekly #TantalisingTuesdays competition!

What do you do at the Young Vic?

Mark Bixter on producing 40 Years Young, which took place on September 12, 2010.

When people ask me “What do you do at the Young Vic?” I struggle to give them a succinct answer, since working here I have been known as box office assistant, usher, stage crew, finance assistant, project researcher, press assistant, box office duty manager, social networking person, cleaner, theatre officer, two boroughs assistant, balloon modeller and now it seems blogger! However in recent weeks I awarded myself with the title producer – nobody else called me this but I liked the sense of self importance it gave me so I kept up the pretence and this is the story of how it happened…

A few months back Lucy Woollatt the Executive Director at the Young Vic said “Mark – we’re planning an event to celebrate 40 years of the Young Vic would you be interested in helping put it together?” “Sure” I said “sounds good” “Great” said Lucy “We don’t know what it will be yet but I guess you’ll figure that out” and so the idea was born and with an insanely naive view of how big a task I had taken on the journey began.

A few weeks later I’m introduced to Chris White who will be the director we get on very well and start brainstorming – there is no shortage of ideas, but there is a shortage of time and money so we shelve our plans for a firework display, a fly past of the red arrows and a specially commissioned song to be performed by The Who and head to the theatre museum archive to trawl through 47 boxes of Young Vic history. We start at box one, we have two aims: 1 – to get a good overview of the history of the Young Vic, 2 – to find interesting materials for a display that will completely change the look of the front of house areas. After 8 hours we have got to box number 7 – I get my first glimpse of the enormity of the job.

Invitation to 40 Years Young

A couple of weeks later after 3 more days sat in the bowels of the theatre museum we finally reach box 47, we have 12 boxes of stuff and cart them back to the Young Vic. From our research we have a working knowledge of productions and staff from the past 40 years and begin to set plans in place. Aside from the front of house display we decide to interview as many people as possible who have worked at the Young Vic for a listening post, we will speak to all the artistic directors (Frank Dunlop, Michael Bogdanov, David Thacker, Tim Supple, Julia Bardsley and David Lan) and ask them what they feel defined their tenure and represent it in the main performance, we will include some work with young people, we will include some music from Young Vic shows, we will look at Shakespeare as there have been so many Shakespeare productions, we will have some new writing…  in short the event starts to take place.

Mark Bixter, Duty Box Office Manager (slash – producer, box office assistant, usher, stage crew, finance assistant, project researcher, press assistant, box office duty manager, social networking person, cleaner, theatre officer, two boroughs assistant, balloon modeller and blogger)

Happy 40th to us!

We started celebrating our 40th Anniversary this weekend, as we officially turned 40 last Friday! Thanks to everyone who’s been wishing us well – especially our friends on Facebook and Twitter. We are overwhelmed by everyone’s support.

BBC did a short piece on us yesterday – click here to watch it. And well done to everyone involved in The Human Comedy, especially the 80 members of the cast who come from the community of Lambeth and Southwark that we are… we are proud of you!

Check out the production photos

Behind The Scenes on “The Human Comedy” at The Young Vic

I was asked to come into the Young Vic and film a rehearsal of The Human Comedy on the day that the cast had their first rehearsal on the Main Stage. This short films’ primary use was to go as part of a trio of shorts I shot (as part of the up and coming Media Lab) for The Young Vic on their 40 Years Young anniversary.

It was a very busy day as it was also The Cast and Community’s first day of Tech in amongst the set (designed by the ridiculously talented Jon Bausor). I found that I had very little work to do, there were so many things happening that all I had to do was point and shoot and 9/10 I caught something interesting. To add to the rehearsal footage, I interviewed the a-for mentioned Designer Jon, the actors Brenda Edwards and Terel Nugent, and members of the community choir; Ceilidh, Anthony, Kayode, Tyrel, Zoe and Cathy. The thing that struck me about them all is their excitement and passion of being involved in this production.

All in all I hope this video encapsulates one of the many things that make the Young Vic unique; its involvement with the local community, and its ability to make all who take part, feel like a star.

Adam Hipkin, Young Vic Youth Council