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.”

Springboard – a week in the YV Directors Program

This past week the Young Vic’s Directors Program held Springboard, a week long series of workshops led by Genesis Fellow Gbolahan Obisesan for emerging directors from across the country.  

During the week participants took part in a series of practical workshops led by experienced directors. These asked participants to consider the balance between their creative ambition on the one hand and the skills and responsibilities of a director on the other.

” The week was curated to allow access to established theatre makers with the broadest approach toward making theatre, allowing the directors to cultivate an eclectic practical knowledge of how different artists utilise their unique artistic and technical talents to make great theatre.”
        – Gbolahan Obisesan

Workshops were led by Ramin Gray, Nadia Fall, Kirsty Housley, Sacha Wares and Richard Twyman, with topics ranging from the director/designer relationship, devising, verbatim theatre and more. The directors visited Bijan Sheiban’s rehearsal room at the National Theatre and observed rehearsals for Barber Shop Chronicles. They also attended Life of Galileo at the Young Vic and Salomé at the National Theatre.

“As the years roll by, connecting with young directors coming innocently at the problem of how to make theatre fresh and powerful is a healthy corrective. It’s a springboard not only for them but also, I found, for myself as I walked back up The Cut, invigorated.”
        – Ramin Gray on the Directors Program

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David Lan in session at Springboard. Photo by Leon Puplett

The week finished with a workshop led by our artistic director David Lan who led a conversation about what it means to be an artistic director, what he looks for in his programming and whether the term ‘director’s theatre’ actually means anything.

“I want the voices heard here to need us. If they can be heard at other theatres, let them be heard at other theatres. I want to do the things that if we don’t do them here, they won’t be done.”
         – David Lan on programming for the Young Vic.

The Young Vic has been running it’s Directors Program for over a decade, offering young directors a unique opportunity to exchange experiences with peers and be part of a network of talented younger directors, producers and designers.

Find out more about the Directors Program and the opportunities offered across the country.

Gbolahan Obisesan is generously supported by the Genesis Foundation.
About the Genesis Foundation
The Genesis Foundation has supported the Young Vic for nearly 15 years, including the Young Vic’s director’s program since its inception. The Genesis Foundation is pleased to fund the Genesis Fellow and Genesis Fellow Production Fund, the Genesis Future Directors Awards and the Genesis Directors Network at the Young Vic.
Established by John Studzinski in 2001, the Genesis Foundation works in partnership with the leaders of prestigious UK arts organisations such as LAMDA, the National Theatre, Royal Court, The Sixteen and the Young Vic.  Its largest funding commitment is to programmes that support directors, playwrights, actors and musicians in the early stages of their professional lives.
The theme of art and faith increasingly characterises aspects of the Foundation’s work with choral commissions including James MacMillan’s Stabat mater.
genesisfoundation.org.uk

YV takes home Best Actress and Best Revival for Yerma at the 2017 Olivier Awards

We are overjoyed and honoured to have won two Olivier Awards at this year’s ceremony. Last night the talented Billie Piper won Best Actress for her role as ‘Her’ in Yerma, with the production itself taking out Best Revival. Our congratulations go out to all the winners across the categories.

Yerma-Olivier-Winner

Following a sold out run in 2016, Yerma returns to the Young Vic this July.  The two Olivier Awards adds to Billie Piper’s previous wins for this role of; Best Actress Evening Standard Theatre Awards, Best Actress Critic’s Circle Theatre Awards and Best Actress WhatsOnStage Awards.

If you missed out on Yerma tickets for its run at the Young Vic, the production will be broadcast from 31 August by NT Live. For tickets and info, click here.

Check out some behind the scene snaps below:

Billie Piper after her Best Actress win.

Artistic Director David Lan with the Best Revival Olivier.

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Best Actress winner Billie Piper on the red carpet beforehand.

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11 Questions with the cast of Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere – Lara Sawalha

Paul Mason and Lara Sawalha in Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere at the Young Vic. Photo by David Sandison..jpg

Paul Mason and Lara Sawalha in Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere at the Young Vic. Photo by David Sandison.

What’s your favourite play you’ve ever seen, been in or read?

There are too many to pick from because each play I’ve seen has left a mark and impacted me in different ways. One that comes to mind is a play I read called The Heresy of Love – a must read.

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

To feel completely immersed in what’s happening around them, like they’re leading the revolution.

What protest or activism have you most recently taken part in or supported?

Protesting against apartheid in Palestine.

Describe in one word what you hope the audience will take away from this show?

Awareness.

What is your favourite midnight snack?

Humous and pitta bread.

What is the funniest protest sign you’ve ever seen?

“I can’t believe we still have to protest this shit”.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Once I get those wings and fly I’ll let you know (refer to supernatural question). My favourite place constantly changes, so I always have many!

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

I have many but one of them is Maya Angelou and I would take her dancing.

Which historic revolution or protest do you wish you could have been a part of?

Walking across the bridge with Martin Luther King Jr.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?

To fly so everyday I could experience a different part of the world.

What role do you think the arts plays in activism?

It’s another platform to speak and be heard to express and change the world.

If you could swap lives with anybody for one day, who would it be and why?

Donald Trump so that I can actually understand how his brain works, because it really doesn’t make sense.

What’s one thing about the future that makes you feel positive?

Seeing people around me working hard to improve the world of today for the generations of tomorrow.

Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere will be broadcast on BBC Two this year as part of Performance Live, a two-year strand of programmes developed between Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre.

Read what audiences have been saying about #KickingOffLive so far.

Holly Williams in discussion with David Lan

Young Vic production ofA Midsummer Night's Dream Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins

It starts with a play – and a passion. The Young Vic may have developed a reputation as the home of so-called ‘director’s theatre’, offering radical takes on classic plays directed by the likes of Joe Hill-Gibbins, Ivo van Hove, Benedict Andrews, Carrie Cracknell and Simon Stone, but for artistic director David Lan, the really crucial component is still the play. The right director is the person who mounts a convincing case for urgently staging it right here, right now.

“What I start from is the premise that there’s no point doing the play unless we’re excited by what’s in the play,” he explains. “You’ve got to love it. With A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we’re doing it because Joe said, ‘I really really want to do it’.” It’s this compulsion to revisit a classic, looking anew at “how is this relevant now?” that often leads to the “most surprising and deep response.”

A surprising response to a well-loved play – including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its magic, fairies and romance – can raise hackles, even if it does spring from a director’s own love affair with the material.

Lan recognises that unusual stagings of classic plays make some audiences anxious.

“Part of my job is to find a way to say ‘it’s fine: it may not be exactly what you think it’s going to be, but it’s good! It’s real.  You’re not being cheated out of anything.’” Indeed, the hope is that by shaking off the shackles of over-familiarity, the play comes into a sharp new focus – as was the case with van Hove’s A View from the Bridge, Cracknell’s A Doll’s House or Stone’s Yerma.

“People say, don’t you sometimes want to get out of the way and just ‘do’ the play? But you can’t just ‘do’ the play,” Lan suggests. To him, any production is a series of choices, from what the actors bring to their parts to the visual world a designer creates. Any performance that has a director is, in a sense, director’s theatre because they guide these choices. “With any production, you’re always going to see the particular director’s take on the play; it just might not be a very interesting director!”

The notion, especially when it comes to Shakespeare, that actors should simply speak the text or trust the language is also naive. “A robot could just ‘say the words’, but an actor can’t, because they’re a human being and what they’re responding to is the meaning those words have in the situation they’re in.”

And this response can be – should be – complicated and multifaceted. If there’s one thing Lan really wants a Young Vic production to do, it’s to explore the contradictions inherent in being human, contradictions which the best dramatists reveal. They’re certainly there in Shakespeare.

Young Vic production ofA Midsummer Night's Dream Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins

“We’re trying to say, all human life is here. And audiences feel that, they’re not patronised, the characters in this play are as complicated and complex as they are. Everybody’s life is a complete mess, everybody is going ‘god I don’t know what to do’ – and that’s in the plays. Don’t try to resolve it. Stage the contradiction.”

That means allowing the play to be complex: A Midsummer Night’s Dream might turn out to be stranger than we expect. The material shouldn’t be treated with stuffy reverence but as an obligatory dose of cultural medicine.

“It’s not to do with simplifying, or saying ‘oh this is a bit like a druggy rave so let’s get a lot of polythene…’ No bullshit, [but also] no worthiness, no saying it’s good for us.” Just the question: is there actually something there for us, today, in a certain play?

In attempting to answer this question, the Young Vic has become known for its distinctive takes on familiar works (not that, as Lan points out, the theatre would be considered radical compared to most European theatres) but while he’s “delighted that people think that if you go to the Young Vic you will get something special, or unexpected, or surprising”, he also hopes that people think of the Young Vic as a place where you still “really get the play.” That’s where it starts – and that’s where it ends, too.

By Holly Williams

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is running at the Young Vic until 1 April. Find our more about the show and book tickets here.

World premiere announced: Paul Mason’s Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere

We are delighted to announce a new show Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere by Paul Mason and directed by David Lan, which will be performed 28 – 30 March 2017 in the Young Vic’s Maria studio. Tickets are free and will be allocated by ballot. The show will be filmed and broadcast at a later date by BBC Television as part of Performance Live.

“What kind of revolution is this?”

The world premiere of a play about revolution.

This is the story of the networked generation. How did we get from the optimism of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement to Trump’s election and the dislocation of the present day?

Journalist Paul Mason teams up with Young Vic artistic director David Lan for this powerful and challenging new show based on Paul’s acclaimed book.

Performed by Paul Mason, Khalid Abdalla, Lara Sawalha and Sirine Saba in promenade with stunning video designs, the audience will interact with the company throughout the show.

Tickets for the limited run are one per person and available exclusively through our online ballot. More details below.

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The ‘How’, the Terms, and the Conditions:

  • Click through to our ballot form here to register for free tickets.
  • Fill out the required fields including which performance you would like to attend.
  • You must apply by 12pm Wednesday 22 March.
  • Winners will be contacted on Thursday 23 March by email.
  • If you don’t respond with confirmation by 12pm Friday 24 March your ticket will be assigned to another applicant.
  • If you are successful in getting a ticket, but are unable to attend the performance, the ticket is non transferable and will be assigned to another applicant.
  • You must bring photo identification with you that matches your name to the ballot entry.
  • Audience participation is a key part of the performance so please be prepared to have the company interact with you.
  • This performance is being filmed for the BBC. By ticking the filming permissions box on the ballot, you agree to be filmed for inclusion in the programme, and give all rights for use to the producers in perpetuity
  • The YV promises that you will not receive unsolicited mail by supplying your personal details.

 

🌟🌟🌟🌟 “Deviant and dazzlingly imaginative” | A Midsummer Night’s Dream reviews

Director Joe Hill-Gibbins has teamed up with designer Johannes Schütz (Three Sisters) to dive into the subconscious of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, giving us a nightmarish #YVDream that everyone’s talking about.

See what the critics, press night guests and audiences alike have been saying in our round-up below.

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John Dagleish and Jemima Rooper as Lysander and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Keith Pattison.

🌟🌟🌟🌟
“Lust and violence are never far away. Delves into the collective unconscious.”
The Guardian | Read the full review here

🌟🌟🌟🌟
“Deviant and dazzlingly imaginative”
The Independent | Read the full review here

 

“I loved so much about last night. All one wants is for people to speak with their souls present, and to remind us that this language and the contradiction of peoples’ personalities shines across 500 years.”
– Fiona Shaw

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Check out what else audiences have been saying over on our Storify and catch #YVDream while tickets last at Young Vic until 1 April .