David Lan to step down after leading the YV for 17 years

Today we announce that our artistic director David Lan will step down after leading the company for almost two decades.

David Lan stands arm crossed, face deep in concentration in rehearsals for Why It's All Kicking Off

David Lan in rehearsals for Why It’s All Kicking Off. Photo by Leon Puplett.

David was appointed in 2000.  Over the 17 years of his tenure, the Young Vic’s ambitious and adventurous work has reached millions of people on The Cut and around the world.

David spearheaded the 2006 redevelopment of the building you know today featuring our three spaces, the Main House, the Maria and the Clare. Designed by architects Haworth Tompkins, we were named RIBA London Building of the Year, were short-listed for the Sterling Prize and won many design and industry awards.

The last decade has been the most successful in our company’s history.  David has consistently produced pioneering shows, nurtured the careers of younger theatremakers and won acclaim from critics and audiences across the globe. Through David’s vision the scope of Young Vic productions has widened to include opera, music theatre, dance and short films.

Many Young Vic productions have gone on to great success in the West End, on Broadway and in other theatres round the world. Since winning an Olivier Award for the entire 2003 season, the Young Vic has won every major London and New York theatre award, several many times over.

David will continue as artistic director and CEO until a new artistic director is appointed towards the end of this year and will continue to take responsibility for the 2017/18 season, his last at the Young Vic, which will be announced next month.

Lucy Woollatt will continue to lead the company as executive director as she has done for the last 7 years.

David Lan said: “There is never an easy time to slip away but I wanted to leave at a time of our greatest strength and success. The Young Vic is now admired and emulated internationally as well as loved by our audience in our local communities of Lambeth and Southwark, in London and across the UK.  It’s the right moment for it to set off on a new journey and a new adventure.”

Lucy Woollatt said: “We will greatly miss David’s passion, vision and leadership. He has transformed this company into a world-class destination for artists and audiences from around the world. His tireless dedication has set us up for success in the coming years, and we look forward to the next exciting chapter of the Young Vic’s story.”

Chair of the YV Board, Patrick McKenna, said:

“David has made such a big contribution to the Young Vic success story that it’s hard to do justice to his transformative leadership.  The fact that the Young Vic is currently one of the most successful independent producing theatres in the world is significantly down to David’s ability to attract the very best talent in world theatre to work here.”

YV 2016 Season | A note from our Artistic Director

Photo by David Sandison.

Photo by David Sandison

Artistic Director David Lan on our 2016 season announcement:

“In 2016 we take some of our theatre journeys further down the road and we head off in a number of new directions.

The great Jane Horrocks is one of our closest friends and colleagues. In If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me Jane and Aletta Collins create a new kind of show. Part dance piece, part gig – a live band, brilliant dancers and Jane’s unique take on many of your favourite new wave anthems… We’re thrilled to have Jane back following our hit Annie Get Your Gun and to welcome Aletta for the first time.

Anyone who saw Simon Stone’s The Wild Duck at the Barbican knows he has an amazingly original and powerful vision. We’re gleeful that he will create his first new work in the UK here. As before, he writes and directs a new version of a great classic of the European stage – in this case Lorca’s masterpiece of yearning and loss Yerma.

Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange was acclaimed an instant classic at its first performance at the NT 15 years ago. Sadly still as pertinent as ever to our lives in our great multicultural capital city, this first major revival is directed by Matthew Xia whose brilliant production of Sizwe Banzi Is Dead played twice at the Young Vic and then on tour.

Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne’s Battlefield, an immensely powerful meditation on violence and mortality, is now playing in Paris. The UK premiere of this CICT/Young Vic co-production is the opening show of our 2016 season.

In our Maria studio:
Charlene James’ Cuttin’ It won the George Devine Award and the Alfred Fagon Award. No surprise. Its tough subject is FGM. Its power and importance is such that we and the Royal Court Theatre decided to co-produce it and tour it to ensure that it reaches the wide audience we’re sure will want to see it. Our new Genesis Fellow Gbolahan Obisesan, whose unforgettable production of Sus was twice at the Young Vic and on tour, directs.

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, Annie Ryan’s adaptation of Eimear McBride’s gripping best-seller has been acknowledged as an instant classic since it was first seen at the Dublin Festival. A major hit at Edinburgh, where it won three awards, we have already extended its run. Aoife Duffin’s heartbreaking solo performance is not to be missed.

Bull was an instant sell-out last year. Mike Bartlett’s fierce, ring-side view of the horrors of the contemporary workplace returns in Clare Lizzimore’s incisive, Olivier Award winning production.

And… the Young Vic in New York. Two great American classics find their way home: Ivo van Hove’s production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge and Benedict Andrews’ production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, both award winning productions.”

For more on the season announcement and to book tickets: www.youngvic.org/whats-on/2016
You can also take a look at our 2016 Season Brochure here.

David Lan named consulting artistic director of new World Trade Center theatre

Exciting news for the Young Vic and our artistic director David Lan! He has been named consulting artistic director for a new performing arts centre to be built at Ground Zero in New York City. Speaking to his team today, David drew parallels between the two theatres both built on sites of mass destruction (the Young Vic stands on a bomb site where 54 people were killed during the Blitz), saying “Where there was violence and destruction, art is now made. It’s as if theatre has helped to heal the wound.”

World Trade Center site

World Trade Center site

“One of the most respected figures in British theatre is to take on the challenge of running the planned performing arts centre that will be a key part of the redevelopment of Ground Zero in New York,” writes The Guardian on page 3 of today’s paper.

“David Lan, who has won plaudits since joining the Young Vic in south London more than a decade ago, will today be named as the consulting artistic director of the Frank Gehry-designed arts complex that will be built close to One World Trade Centre.

Because the building will not open until at least 2018, it will be a part-time job, and Lan stressed that he will not be giving up his day job in London any time soon. Nevertheless, the New York project “is an enormous job”, he said, “and a fascinating one”.”

The New York Times writes: “Mr. Lan, who is expected to serve at least until September, traveling regularly to New York, was recruited in 2000 as artistic director for the Young Vic, which opened in 1970 as an offshoot of the Old Vic and is described by officials of the new arts center as a template for what they hope to accomplish. The Young Vic has become a hub of activity for young and diverse talent, offers low ticket prices and has a popular bar and restaurant, the Cut.”

One concept for an arts center, with theaters on the second floor. Charcoalblue

Michael Billington, lead critic for The Guardian, adds, “It comes as no surprise to learn that David Lan has been appointed as a consulting artistic director to the new team at the World Trade Center. Although Lan has worked as a dramatist, director and film-maker, it is as a producer and talent-promoter that he has excelled in his tenure at the Young Vic….

He once told me that he saw the Young Vic as a “directors’ theatre” in contrast, say, to a “writers; theatre” like the Royal Court. Over the past decade or more he has not only attracted top European talent, such as Peter Brook, Luc Bondy and the late Patrice Chereau to the Young Vic, he has also made it a London base for such outstanding companies as the Belarus Free Theatre and Iceland’s extravagantly physical Vesturport and, at the same time, promoted young directors.”

Read the full story on The Guardian here, and Michael Billington’s commentary here.

Thank You from Belarus Free Theatre

Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy AckerA special message from Belarus Free Theatre:

“We wanted to share with all of you who came to see our performance of Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker that all of our actors and team managed to get back to Belarus by different flights and trains and will get together this week to start to perform underground in Minsk.

Every night I came on stage to ask for your help so that we could continue to perform for underground Belarusian audiences. Your generous donations to our bucket collection will allow us to perform in Belarus for an entire month. We can’t wait to come back to you, to perform for you and hear your great applause that inspired us and gives us the strength to perform in the last dictatorship of Europe.”

Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin, Founding Co-Artistic Directors of the Belarus Free Theatre

If you’d like to learn more about supporting Belarus Free Theatre, please visit www.belarusfreetheatre.org