Sadiq Khan visits the Young Vic | #LondonIsOpen

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan visited the Young Vic this week to meet our Artistic Director, David Lan and Executive Director, Lucy Woollatt and watch Simon Stone’s Yerma.

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Saadiya Khan, Executive Director Lucy Woollatt, Artistic Director David Lan and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The Young Vic recently became the first Theatre of Sanctuary in London and we are thrilled to continue in this spirit by supporting the Mayor’s #LondonIsOpen campaign which reflects how the Young Vic’s doors are open to all. The #LondonIsOpen campaign reassures the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome.

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#LondonIsOpen at the Young Vic

Announcing #LondonIsOpen Sadiq Khan said, “Few if any other cities can rival London for arts and culture, and our West End shows are an enormous draw for visitors and talent from around the world. Together, we are sending the message, loud and clear, that London is open. We are open to the world’s performers, to businesses, to people and ideas, and I encourage everyone to join us in getting behind the campaign and remind the world that London is the greatest city on earth.”

Find out more about the campaign on london.gov.uk

A View from the Bridge wins two Tony Awards

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A View from the Bridge won two Tony Awards last night and we’re ecstatic. Ivo van Hove won for Best Direction and the show was recognised as the Best Revival of a Play. The critically acclaimed production was originally staged at the Young Vic in April 2014 and transferred to the London’s West End following a sold-out run. Later in 2015 it played a limited run at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, produced by Scott Rudin and Lincoln Center Theater. A View from the Bridge has played a total of 276 performances across these three venues and has been seen by audiences across the globe via NT Live broadcasts.

The most laurelled show in the Young Vic’s history, the Tony wins brings the total number of awards won by the production on both sides of the Atlantic to 12. Awards include Olivier Awards for Best Revival, Best Actor (Mark Strong) and Best Director; London Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards for Best Actor (Mark Strong) and Best Director; Outer Critics’ Circle Awards New York for Outstanding Director of a Play; Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play; Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival of a Play and Outstanding Director of a Play; and a Theatre World Award for Mark Strong.

Take a look at the heartstopping trailer to A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic:

Accepting the Award for Best Revival of a Play, Producer of the Broadway production Scott Rudin said: “I especially want to thank Rebecca Miller for giving us the stewardship of her father’s remarkable play, Ivo van Hove who did it just, I think, absolutely remarkably, and David Lan and Young Vic who originated the production. We were the stewards of it, but honestly the real work was done by David and his team.”

Artistic Director of the Young Vic David Lan, added “It is the greatest play about immigrants – it felt like exactly the right time to do this play. It has been thrilling for us to bring it back to the city, where it’s a great song of the great people of New York.”

Accepting the Award for Best Director of a Play, Ivo van Hove said: “New York has been so welcoming to us this season. I’m so grateful to Scott Rudin who dared to bring the Belgian bad boy avant-gardist to a center of theatre life, to wonderful theatre life on Broadway.”

Daisy Heath, Lead Producer at the Young Vic, commented: “David told me about an incredible director called Ivo van Hove on my first day at the YV four and a half years ago. The original production was made by a dedicated group on The Cut in the summer of 2014 working to create the visions of both Ivo and Miller. Awards were honestly the last thing on our minds. So to have been recognised by Broadway and the Tony Awards is mind-blowing, a credit to everyone on and offstage in all three runs, and a source of deep pride for me.”

Lucy Woollatt, Executive Director of the Young Vic added: “The wins at the Tony Awards are a real achievement for all involved in the show’s life in the UK and US. Our talented team are supported by the Arts Council and our individual, trust and corporate donors. It’s this crucial support that allows us to program the work that we do and to give away 10% of tickets for free to young people and our neighbours.”
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In the press | Ivo van Hove talks to The New Yorker about his life as a director and bringing out the elemental drama of classic works.

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.

Meet the Jerwood Assistant Directors

The Jerwood Assistant Director Program at the Young Vic began in 2010 to give emerging directors the chance to work alongside some of the most talented and experienced directors in the world.

In the Young Vic 2013/2014 season, six Jerwood Assistant Directors will work on The Scottsboro Boys, Beauty and the Beast, Happy Days, A View from the Bridge, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Cherry Orchard. These directors will benefit from a reinvigorated and expanded Program with an international dimension. This year we are going to draw upon the vast expertise of our theatre colleagues across the world and will for the first time offer a professional practice visit to the six Jerwood Assistant Directors. Travelling as a group to a major European theatre capital they will have the opportunity to see work and develop relationships with international practitioners with a view to generating new ideas and future collaborations. Other developments to the 2014 Program include participation in a series of four professional practice workshops across the year led by David Lan, Natalie Abrahami and a Young Vic associate artist, as well as two events for the wider community of the Young Vic directors network.

To find out more about what it’s like to be Jerwood Assistant Director at the Young Vic, take a look at our new film:

2014 Season announced

Today we unveiled our new brand new 2014 Season at the Young Vic and we’re really excited about it.


23 Jan – 22 Feb 2014
Kicking things off will be Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days directed by Natalie Abrahami. Olivier award-winning actress Juliet Stevenson will take on the role of Winnie, alongside David Beames.

A Doll's House
4 Apr – 24 May 2014
Following that, Ivo van Hove makes his UK debut following huge success in Europe and beyond, as he directs one of Arthur Miller’s greatest plays, A View from the Bridge.


20 Jun – 12 Jul 2014
Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne join forces once again as they return to the Young Vic following their international hit The Suit last year; this season they direct brand new play The Valley of Astonishment.


Summer 2014 
In Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, star of stage and screen Gillian Anderson returns to London to play the notorious Blanche DuBois, while Critics’ Circle award-winner Benedict Andrews directs.


10 Oct – 29 Nov 2014
A new version of Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard by Simon Stephens will be directed by Katie Mitchell as she makes her much anticipated return to the Young Vic.

A Doll's House
9 Dec 2014 – 17 Jan 2015
Inventive theatre company 1927’s new show Golem is set to blend original animation with live performance in an exploration of what happens when mankind and machines become inextricably intertwined.

A Doll's House
We are also thrilled to announce that following smash-hit runs at the Young Vic and the West End, Carrie Cracknell’s sensational A Doll’s House will be making its way to New York’s BAM in early 2014.

And there’s news on our current season too…

The Scottsboro Boys=
18 Oct – 21 Dec 2013
As well as all of this excitement set for 2014, today we announced that due to phenomenal demand for tickets even before it’s opened, 12-time Tony Award nominated The Scottsboro Boys has been extended at the Young Vic until 21 December.


4 – 21 Dec 2013
Fancy an alternative Christmas show this festive season? Inspired by the real-life love story between Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz, Improbable’s Phelim McDermott directs a radically remixed and adult-only version of classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast.

Young Vic Friends get priority booking, so if you can’t wait and want to book your tickets for our brilliant new season now then become a Friend today from just £35. As a Friend you’ll get other exclusive discounts and benefits on top of priority booking too. If you want to find out more, call 020 7922 2922 or click here.

Public booking for our new season opens on Monday 7 October at 10am. 

The least we can do is know what happened

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joe Wright and Davin Lan visit the Yole Africa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joe Wright and Davin Lan visit the Yole Africa Centre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

When David Lan first suggested I read A Season In The Congo I barely recognised the name of Patrice Lumumba. I vaguely remembered my South African father and his self-exiled friends mentioning him when I was a child. I didn’t know then that the rubber tyres of the bike I rode, or the copper in the cable that dispelled the darkness, or, as I grew, the uranium in the bomb I marched against or the coltan in the phone I prized or the diamond I declared my love with, I didn’t know that all these things that I took for granted as my right on the path to manhood were at the price of the right of the Congolese people to be truly independent, to escape poverty and conflict. And it was for that independence that Patrice Lumumba, and countless others, had died.

This play is not about race, it is not about racism or even colonialism as we imagine it, something of the past dressed in white linen; it’s about how the injustices of the past have shaped the injustices of the present, how economic colonialism is still being perpetrated today by a different cast of politicians, nations and corporations. The DRC’s curse is not its poverty but its wealth.

When David, Chiwetel and I travelled to the DRC with Oxfam, what first struck me was the violent contrast between the abundance of its natural resources and the deprivation of its people. It is a country nearly the size of Western Europe, where the land is so fertile it produces three crops of beans a year, and yet its level of malnutrition is the highest in the world. If all of the DRC’s arable land was cultivated it could produce enough food to feed the entire continent of Africa. But the land and the wealth of the Congo doesn’t belong to ordinary Congolese people. That’s what Patrice Lumumba was fighting for and that’s what the post-colonial western alliance killed him for. Lumumba wanted political, cultural and economic independence, but the governments we elected and industrialists we supported wouldn’t stand for that kind of loss to their coffers; they accused him of threatening our ‘way of life’, conspired to murder him, and dissolved his body in acid.

Looking back on our trip what I most remember now are the faces of the Congolese people we met: the women’s rights activist who, aware of the mortal danger she faced, publicly denounced a local warlord for ordering his soldiers to use rape as a weapon of war; the heavy brow of the elderly social anthropologist who’d spent a lifetime trying to make sense of the anarchy (as a teenager I thought anarchy was cool). The gentle smile of the young politician who, in the grubby parliamentary canteen, refused to believe that it wasn’t possible to eradicate corruption. The look of shock that still seemed to haunt Pauline Lumumba’s eyes. The children’s faces, thousands and thousands and thousands of them, lost, abandoned and forced to fend for themselves in the cruelest circumstances.

No-one knows how many people live in the DRC, no-one knows how many children there are or how many of them can read or write. No-one knows how many women are victim to sexual violence or how many families have been dispossessed by the fighting. But one thing I do know now that I didn’t when David suggested I read this play is this, that we are all complicit. The least we can do is know what happened.

A Season in the Congo is on at the Young Vic until 17 August, 2013. Book tickets at youngvic.org or call 02079222922.

David, Chiwetel and Joe travelled to the DRC with Oxfam. For more info on their work in the DRC, visit www.oxfam.org.uk/drc.