Five Plays – November 2017 | YV Directors Program

Twice a year we team up five directors from our Directors Program with five different writers and task them with creating five plays, rehearsed and staged over five days with five different casts. The result is Five Plays.

As always, this November saw some amazing collaborations between a host of exciting writing and acting talent working with our five directors, including three Jerwood Assistant Directors who have worked on recent Young Vic productions.

I Have Aids

 

by Rachel De-Lahay.
Direction Milli Bhatia, with Shane Zaza and Shvorne Marks.

 

Pops

 

by Charlotte Josephine.
Direction Alasdair Pidsley, with Sean Campion and Sophie Melville.

 

Glutathione

 

by Winsome Pinnock.
Direction Nicole Charles, with Estella Daniels and Petra Lang.

 

Signs / Wonders 

 

by Katherine Soper.
Direction Anna Poole, with Aoife Duffin and Robyn Addison.

 

Nuclear 

 

by Phoebe Eclair-Powell.
Direction Natalie Denton, with Gemma Lawrence and Jack Shalloo.

To find out more about the YV Directors Program and how we’re supporting artists of the future head to directorsprogram.youngvic.org.

All photos by Slav Kirichok.

Anna Poole, Natalie Denton and Nicole Charles are supported through the Jerwood Assistant Directors Program at the Young Vic.

Alasdair Pidsley is supported through the Young Vic Reach Out initiative.

With thanks to Jerwood Charitable Foundation which is dedicated to imaginative and responsible revenue funding of the arts, supporting artists to develop and grow at important stages in their careers. The aim of its funding is to allow artists and arts organisations to thrive; to continue to develop their skills, imagination and creativity with integrity. It works with artists across art forms, from dance and theatre to literature, music and the visual arts.

For more information on Jerwood Charitable Foundation visit: http://www.jerwoodcharitablefoundation.org

The Jungle | Rehearsal Room Photos

We went behind-the-scenes inside the rehearsal room for The Jungle at the Young Vic.

This world premiere set in the Calais Jungle opens at the Young Vic from 7 Dec 2017. Written by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin.

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Ansu Kabia, Alex Lawther and Michael Gould in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Alex Lawther, Justin Martin, Joe Robertson and Mohamed Sarrar

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The cast in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Rachel Redford in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Ben Turner and Mohamed Amiri in rehearsal for The Jungle

 

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John Pfumojena in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Jo McInnes in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Rachel Redford and Alyssa Denise D’Souza in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Ben Turner and Ammar Haj Ahmad in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Raphael Acloque in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Writer Joe Murphy in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Ben Turner in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Justin Martin and John Pfumojena in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Jo McInnes and Rachel Redford in rehearsal for The Jungle

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Jo McInnes and Nahel Tzegai in rehearsal for The Jungle

The Jungle runs at the Young Vic from 7 Dec 2017 – 6 Jan 2018

BOOK TICKETS NOW

📸 by David Sandison

Lucy Woollatt to step down as Executive Director of Young Vic

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The Board of the Young Vic announced today that Lucy Woollatt will step down as Executive Director of the Young Vic this December. Lucy will be leaving the company after 10 successful years.

Lucy joined the Young Vic as Finance Director in 2008, and was appointed Executive Director in 2010. During her time the company’s income has doubled, the organisation’s structure and profile has been transformed. Four productions have transferred to the West End, one to Broadway and many have toured around the world. The theatre has won six Olivier Awards, four Critics’ Circle Awards, four Evening Standard Theatre Awards and won The Stage Theatre of the Year in 2015. This past summer she was Executive Producer on the sold-out production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at the Apollo Theatre in the West End.

The Young Vic will appoint an interim Executive Director before recruiting for a permanent successor.

Lucy Woollatt says: “My decade at the Young Vic has been the most rewarding in my career to date. I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved night after night at the Young Vic, on tour and in the West End. The appointment of Kwame as Artistic Director is energising and uplifting and I wish him huge success. I would have loved to continue my time at the Young Vic with him, but I have decided that – after 10 years – now is the right time for me to move on to a new challenge. I would like to thank David and the Board for their unconditional support over the past decade.”

David Lan, outgoing Artistic Director says: “For more than half my time at the Young Vic, Lucy has been an ideal Executive Director. Rigorous, imaginative, compassionate, judicious, scrupulous and tremendous fun. Nothing we’ve achieved would have been possible without her willingness to take on all challenges of whatever scale. I’m full of admiration and gratitude.”

Kwame Kwei-Armah, incoming Artistic Director says: “Thanks in no small part to Lucy’s hard work I have inherited a phenomenally successful building to lead. I wish her only the best as she continues her journey.”

For further press information please contact:
Sophie Wilkinson, Press Manager
sophiewilkinson@youngvic.org| 0207 922 2979

Aphasia: Meet John Smejka

Taken with Lumia Selfie

John with his wife Paula


John Smejka was Head of Engineering at Anglian Water living in Lincolnshire when a stroke left him with severe aphasia. John has been kind enough to share some of his experience with us to raise awareness of this complex communication and language disorder. 

We spent Christmas Day in Lincoln and Boston hospitals, I had a terrible headache and couldn’t see from my left eye. It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon the stroke hit me and I no longer had use of the right leg and arm and I couldn’t speak any words, not a word. I thought that was how it would be for the rest of my life, unable to work, play the guitar or speak.

“I thought that was how it would be for the rest of my life, unable to work, play the guitar or speak.”

While I was in hospital, I didn’t want many visitors, but my fiancée (Paula) my children and my parents visited. If I could talk, it would have been easier to have visitors. Talking is the key. When Paula visited we did therapy exercises, she pushed me for a ‘walk’ in my wheelchair, or she came on the bed for a TV watching cuddle – some things don’t change! When my parents visited, conversation was impossible, I couldn’t speak at all and they didn’t do anything except visit me, so had nothing to talk about. Eventually I told them they needed to visit me less often.

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John and Paula with family on their wedding day

When I came home from hospital, Paula had moved into my house, with her son (Cameron). Paula and Cameron had to be with me all the time, they helped me with my exercises and we learnt how to communicate together. My relationship with Cameron really started at that time, it is based on mutual interests and silly humour, it has perhaps been easier for Cameron to accept my difficulties as we didn’t know each other so well before my stroke.

It has been harder for some of my children to come to terms with my stroke, especially dealing with aphasia as it hides my feelings, knowledge and stories. The two kids I was closest to before my stroke have found this most difficult, whereas the other two, seem to have adjusted much better, one of them even says he feels closer to me now than he did back then.

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John, busy digging a pond in his garden

My relationship with Paula is still good (she is my wife now!), we used to spend hours talking, now we are quiet more often but she tries to work with me so I can tell her stories, ideas and feelings. It makes Paula really sad when she misses my ‘wise counsel’ at times of difficulty.

My social life has almost disappeared. The aphasia makes it so hard to chat, especially in large groups which is how I used to socialise. I know that my friends miss me and I feel bad that I don’t go out more but it’s just not as much fun anymore – I can’t help that.

This blog was published in association with the Stroke Association. Click here to find out more and donate to support their work.


Wings is running at the Young Vic until 4 Nov. Emily, a fiercely independent aviator and wing walker, suffers a stroke that destroys her sense of reality.

Fragments of her life come together as she struggles to find her voice and her self.

Fable | A story spanning three continents

Three countries 🌍
Three schools 🏫
Three weeks 📆

Three incredible groups of young people in London, Brooklyn & Cape Town worked with our incredible creative team to make Fable, a response to Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope.

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Fable was Written by Luke Barnes, directed by Maddi Kludje and the film was directed and edited by Tristan Shepherd. The story was told in three parts and it explores young people’s perceptions of what it is to be a migrant. Fable was performed by three exceptional groups of children and teenagers in London, Brooklyn and Cape Town.

50 young people, 3 countries exploring their understanding of what it means to be a migrant today. An incredible achievement, a moving experience in such a short space of time. A lot of the young people had never even acted before and they created a whole film in just a few days! I am very proud of them!” – Maddi Kludje

The performers were from six schools, Sacred Heard School and Harris Girls Academy in London, McKinney High Schools and Juan Morel Campos in Brooklyn and Injongo Primary School and Liwa Primary School in Cape Town. You can find out more about the Cape Town schools on Isango Ensemble’s website. 

50 pages of script, over 50 kids and about 18 hours of filming. In many ways, Fable was a mission impossible for a filmmaker but Taking Part’s desire to create something special, their enthusiasm and believe allowed us to make a small miracle.” – Tristan Shepherd

A busy audience of friends and family sit in rows in front of a projector screen ahead of the London Fable sharing in the YV's Maria theatre

Fable sharing in the YV’s Maria theatre

Last week we shared the very first screening with our London casts’ friends and family at the Young Vic which featured this poignant final scene from Part three, filmed in Cape Town with local young people and Isango Ensemble.

Kwame Kwei-Armah announced as Young Vic’s new Artistic Director

The Young Vic is thrilled to announce that Kwame Kwei-Armah will become the new Artistic Director in February 2018.

A photo of Kwame Kwei-Armah taken outside the entrance to Baltimore Centre Stage

Kwame Kwei-Armah will become the new Artistic Director in February 2018

Kwame Kwei-Armah is an award-winning director and playwright and the outgoing Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage where he directed extensively. Directing credits also include New York’s Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. His production of One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play.

His works as playwright include One Love (Birmingham Rep), Marley, Beneatha’s Place (Baltimore Center Stage), Elmina’s Kitchen, Fix Up, Statement of Regret (National Theatre) and Let There Be Love and Seize the Day (Tricycle Theatre). Kwame was the Chancellor of the University of the Arts London from 2010-15, and in 2012 was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama.

Kwame will succeed David Lan further to the announcement that he would be stepping down in 2018 after 18 years in the role. Kwame will announce his first season of work as Artistic Director in the new year.

Kwame Kwei-Armah says: “To walk into the Young Vic is to come face to face with everything I love about theatre, so I am beyond humbled, if not a little scared. But to lead this magnificent theatre at this time in our nation’s history, after such a visionary as David, excites me beyond words. I can’t wait to get started.”

Patrick McKenna, Chair of the Board, says: “After meeting Kwame the panel was unanimous in its decision to appoint him as the next leader for this remarkable institution. Kwame’s wealth of experience directing, writing and working with the local community in Baltimore and beyond will translate beautifully to his new role leading the work on the Young Vic’s three stages as well as its pioneering outreach and education work in London.”

David Lan, outgoing Artistic Director, says: “The choice the panel has made is inspired. I welcome it wholeheartedly and will do whatever I can to support Kwame in the early days as he finds his own distinctive way to keep the Young Vic one of the great producing theatres of this country and the world.

 

 

7 young people head to Zimbabwe with Taking Part | Unified Women

Seven young women from Lambeth and Southwark are headed to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
with YV Taking Part as part of a cultural exchange to create a new show, Unified Women.

The group will be joining 10 women, also aged between 18 – 25, in Bulawayo to create a response to The Suppliant Women. The response will be directed by Sasha Milavic Davies and written by Zimbabwean writer, Noma Damasane.

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Unified Women will explore the issues that arise in The Suppliant Women, with both groups sharing ideas that affect young women, regardless of their background or geographical location over a first week of workshops. In the second week the company will rehearse working with the creative team, including a local designer, before sharing the work with audiences in Bulawayo. The group will also get to explore parts of Zimbabwe and the area around Bulawayo.

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You can follow the group’s trip and get behind the scenes in rehearsals on the YV snapchat 👻 youngvictheatre, the Taking Part twitter account and the YV’s instagram.

The project is supported by the British Council, Zimbabwe and in collaboration with Nhimbe Trust.