Danai Gurira & Kwame Kwei-Armah In Conversation | The Convert

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Kwame Kwei-Armah and Danai Gurira at The Convert Opening Night. Photo by Dan Wooller

During rehearsals, Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, and The Convert writer, Danai Gurira, took a moment to discuss the play’s inception in Danai’s Zimbabwean roots, her writing process, and why courage is fundamental to her art.

 

K: I want to express how joyous it is to have The Convert within my first season! Talk to me about the idea and process behind the play.

 

D: It was a culmination of so many things growing up. I was born in the US but raised in Zimbabwe from the age of five until shortly after the end of high school. I was there shortly after the country gained independence, and was raised around so many things; a country grappling with the idea of independence, which was in many ways one the most prosperous of the African nations. I was in a schooling system that was very much modelled after the way the country had been colonialised; this manifested in how we were educated, who we were educated by, the structures of the system, the ways of doing business, our social lives, the way we ate… tea breaks! I took a step back and started to ask myself who I was, because I have so many influences -what I aspire too, and how I excel – which are all defined by those who colonised us. These feelings culminated in me, and I found that I wanted to express them on stage.A lot of my training when I returned to the US exposed me to Shaw, Chekov and Ibsen – all the European greats. There was something about Shaw that was very gripping, and something about Pygmalion that correlated with Zimbabwe. Yes, there are a lot of troubles, but it still has the highest literacy rate on the continent, which I witnessed as both my parents are educators. I grew up watching these children coming from mission schools in rural areas to the city who were mad-smart. They were so smart. Yet they’d be awe of seeing the city, whilst also being the most educated people in the room. It was an interesting juxtaposition for me and I was thinking about how you try and bring your people forward through more access, more success. The thinking was that you expose people to Western culture and Western education. I found a parallel with this and Pygmalion; ironing out the crude pieces of this young lady, which is kind of what we do with our own families and people.  I started to explore this this idea in 2009 and 2010. It was an interesting exercise for me as I was delving into the history of my own people and who I could have been if I had been born 120 years ago.  

 

Full Company in The Convert. Photography by Marc BrennerK: What I am interested in knowing about is your transition, how the running of the two trains of acting and writing came about?

D: There is something about trying to distinguish acting and writing that, I think, can be a very Western concept.  When I was being trained, and when I first started to connect with the arts, I was in Zimbabwe, aged between 12 and 13. We were taught the ethics of theatre, of coming into a space, and treating it with great respect. We would create work and then perform. The way I first came to the arts, it was a path to story-telling.

 

K: Hearing you talk now, you can understand that your writing comes from a place that is not just cerebral, but is also connected to the soul and the spirit. With this connection to the writing, what is it that you look for and what wisdom do you impart for the director and the wider team?

 

D: When I first spoke to Ola we talked about the immersion of history and culture. I studied history A-level and did not come across the story of my own nation. I knew all about Napoleon and World War One, as I should, but I didn’t know anything about my own nation. To an extent that feels like it’s by design. People can be disempowered if they are not taught about themselves and not encouraged to gain any understanding of their own roots. This play was designed to go to the heart of this. If you immerse yourself into a world that is foreign for you, you’ve got to let it inform you, overwhelm you, to take over your thoughts. You need to see it through the lens of those colonised within the 1890’s; it is a mayhem of a moment at this time in Africa. There has to be such a visceral understanding of that world, in terms of Shona culture, Shona people, and Shona history. I want people to walk in and feel like they are in a sacred space, a world they have never known before it. I got swept away writing it. When I found the end of the play, I found myself just being a vessel, because I couldn’t argue with that ending.

 

K: When some talk about the play, colonisation comes up a lot. But my access point for it is the spirituality. What swept me away was your ability to speak to the spirit, to faith and your ability to use that as a vehicle of both oppression, of actualisation, and of fulfilling your spiritual potential.

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D: Yes, that’s a part of it. At times we can be super simplistic in the way we talk about faith and Christianity and it’s not simple! For example, my mother’s mother was a very powerful woman, the daughter of a powerful chief.  She made a decision to go and learn with Methodist missionaries. She met her husband, my grandfather, a Methodist pastor and she stepped away from one way of life to go into something more Westernised. She still gave speeches in deeply nuanced Shona, she sang her Methodist hymns in Shona and read her bible in Shona. In a sense she garnered an independence from her choice to learn about a Christian God. It’s a very complicated relationship that occurs between Africans and Christianity that can be, and is often, oversimplified.

 

K: What do you ask of this play in that regard?

 

D: I believe there can be a distinction for those who practise the Christian faith but are very much an Africanist at the same time, a distinction between the imposition of colonisation and the true essence of Christianity. That is Jekesai’s actualisation: how does an African connect with this faith while also seeing the hypocrisy in how it was used.

 

K: Now that you are in the public eye, can you be as brave to write something and not care of what others think of it, like you did when you wrote The Convert?

 

D: The day I can’t be brave is the day I am not an artist anymore. That space must be protected. To me the denial of your true self is to actually try to curb the spirit coming through you. You are no longer a vessel for your spirit, and that would be a tragic thing for me!

The Convert is now playing at the Young Vic until January 26. Tickets are now sold out but returns may be available on the day of each performance. Speak to our Box Office for more information on 020 7922 2922.

Announcing YV:ID, a five-week festival of digital and live events around the themes of identity

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of Young Vic today announced YV:ID, a five-week festival of digital and live events taking place throughout February and March 2019, which aim to catalyse debates around the themes of identity. 

YV:ID festival will include: Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, a series of monologues commissioned by BBC Arts and produced in partnership with Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Douglas Road Productions, exploring themes of personal and cultural identity through the eyes of an Afro-Caribbean family from the 1940s to the present day, which will air on BBC Four in February; My England, a collection of fourteen short films by writers, directors and performers from across the country, exploring the notions of ‘englishness’ and English national identity, which will be released online in March ahead of Brexit; The 8 Club, is a five-part web series investigating the notion of ‘toxic masculinity’, and some of the issues facing future generations in the wake of the positive social change brought about by #MeToo.

The Young Vic will host a series of accompanying live debate events at the theatre to run parallel to each project.

Kwame Kwei-Armah, said today, “The stages of the Young Vic have always been a place dedicated to asking the most profound questions in artistically compelling ways. It’s not just the art we invite into these four walls but also the discourse we send beyond them. After seven years in America, I returned home to a country which seemed amidst an identity crisis. YV:ID is a way to catalyse a debate about those perceptions, and, as part of our commitment to channelling work into the digital world, we are also bringing these discussions into the digital sphere to reach new audiences and continue the conversation outside of our four walls.”

#YVID

SOON GONE: A WINDRUSH CHRONICLE

Sir Lenny Henry in Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle. Photo by Carlton Dixon

Commissioned by BBC Arts and co-produced by Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Douglas Road Productions and the Young Vic, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, are eight 15-minute heartfelt monologues set in and around the front room of an Afro-Caribbean home. The monologues, which will broadcast on BBC Four in February, follow the highs and lows of one family from their arrival in England in the 1940s up to the present day as they explore their hopes and desires, challenges and shattered dreams.

They have been curated by the Young Vic’s Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and feature some of the UK’s finest acting talent including Sir Lenny Henry (The Long Song), Vinette Robinson (Doctor Who), Montserrat Lombard (Upstart Crow), Danielle Vitalis (Attack the Block), Clifford Samuel (McMafia), Gamba Cole (Damilola: Our Loved Boy), Elliot Barnes-Worrell (Jericho), Jonathan Jules (Invasion Earth), and Olivia-Mai Barrett (Penny on M.A.R.S).

The eight films are written by a team of leading writers for television and stage: Carmen Harris (EastEnders), Angie Le Mar (Funny Black Women on the Edge), Roy Williams (Clubland), Juliet Gilkes Romero (Creative Fellow at RSC), Carol Russell (The Story of Tracy Beaker), Clint Dyer (Sylvia Plath for Royal Court), Nathaniel Martello-White (Blackta for Young Vic), and Kwame Kwei-Armah (Elmina’s Kitchen). The monologues will air on BBC Four in February.

As part of YV:ID, the Young Vic will also be programming a live discussion event hosted by Afua Hirsch, with Lenny Henry and Kwame Kwei-Armah at the theatre on 21 February, around notions of cultural identity and self-definition in the 21st century.

#SoonGoneWindrush

MY ENGLAND  

My England is a series of fourteen filmed monologues from across England, commissioned and produced by the Young Vic and created by writers, actors and directors exploring how they define “Englishness” and what it means to be English right now. Half the monologues were filmed on location in the regions the writers are from, including Coventry, Halifax, Luton, Peak District, Plymouth, Middlesbrough and London, and the other half were filmed at the Young Vic, performed by actors from the local neighbourhood in collaboration with the Young Vic’s Taking Part department.

The writers include Javaad Alipoor (England’s Red with Christopher Eccleston), Michael Bhim (The Question), Ishy Din (UTB!), Kenneth Emson (Mayday), Lynette Linton (Simone), Zodwa Nyoni (On Belonging), Bea Roberts (Sir F. Mother Fucking Drake with Jenny Rainsford), Jack Rooke (The Game), Lucy J. Skilbeck (Big Ben), Stef Smith (How To Grow A Nation with Kate Dickie), Polly Stenham (Flat White with Ophelia Lovibond), Simon Stephens (she), Selina Thompson (I Feel Most English When… with Ronke Adekoluejo) and Jack Thorne (Luton? with Mat Fraser). Directors include Young Vic Genesis Fellow, Nadia Latif, and Rodney Charles.

The films will be released via the Young Vic website and social media channels from 25 February. The Young Vic will host an accompanying event on 12 March, bringing together members of the public with politicians, artists and social commentators to explore the identity of a nation as it’s going through a divorce, and to ask how we define “englishness” in our potentially fractious society.

#MyEngland

A Young Vic co-production with David Weale-Cochrane and Kwame (KZ) Kwei-Armah Jr.

THE 8 CLUB

Photo by Matthew Cutler

The 8 Club is an online video series exploring the notion of ‘toxic masculinity’ and the legacy young men have inherited from the ideas of masculinity as defined by generations before them. Each episode tackles the subjects that surround and affect young men today, focussing on provocative and often unspoken topics for men, such as mental health, money, sex, violence and personal relationships and how these topics are viewed in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the wider impact this has on gender politics.T

Participants in The 8 Club include JJ Bola, Michael Brooks, Ned Dukes, Matt Harvey, Roly Hunter, LionHeart, Simon Anthony Mitchell, Adam Pugh, Michael Simon, Jordan Stephens, Elric Stockley and Jamell Williams. The films will be released via the Young Vic social media channels from 11 March, and the Young Vic will host an accompanying live event on 21 March which explores some of the questions around gender politics which are facing the next generation.

#The8Club  #ManCanTalk

Call Out For Artists | Forest: A response to Tree created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah

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Young Vic Taking Part are creating FOREST, a new show inspired by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s Tree and we’re looking for people from Lambeth and Southwark to be part of it.

This is the first time we have joined together our three strands of work; Learning, Participation and Neighbourhood Theatre, to create a theatre experience which feels like it is for everyone, using live music and other media to tell stories from the people in our neighbourhood.

Project dates:

Rehearsals:  Occasional rehearsals in June/ July (Exact dates TBC). Then, 29 July –  17 August 2019.

Tech and shows: 19 – 24 August 2019

About Tree:

Tree takes you on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa.  Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the inspiration for the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this major world-premiere production performed in the round, is also directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Music, dance and film combine with an exciting cast to explore the past, present and future of this country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing. 

We would like to invite artists and companies to submit expressions of interest and a short description of how you think the community of Lambeth and Southwark can respond to Tree. We are looking to form a team of artists from multiple disciplines, so we would like to hear from collectives, companies, film makers, musicians, directors, writers, and designers.

Please tell us what you’d like to do in any of the following ways:

    • A letter (either on paper or emailed)
    • A video (no longer than 5 minutes) .mov or .mp4 good for us
    • A voice recording (no longer than 5 minutes) .wav or .mp3 good for us
    • A PowerPoint presentation (of no more than 10 slides)

Please email imogenbrodie@youngvic.org with your expression of interest by Friday 23 November at 1pm.  We will be meeting people to discuss ideas on 4 and 5 December.

Young Vic 2019 Season Announcement

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We’re thrilled to announce a second season of shows from our artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah. From exciting world premieres to gripping adaptations of classics we have got it all coming up in 2019.

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Death of A Salesman 

By Arthur Miller | Directed by Marianne Elliott

Main House | 1 May – 29 June 

“I don’t say he’s a great man…but he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.”

Award-winning director Marianne Elliott brings her unique vision to one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of an African American family.

Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Suits, Selma) makes his UK stage debut as Willy Loman, with Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke as Linda Loman and Arinzé Kene (Misty, Been So Long) as Biff Loman.

BOOK-NOW

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Tree 

Created by Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah | Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah

A Young Vic, Manchester International Festival and Green Door Pictures co-production     

Young Vic | 29 July – 24 Aug 2019
Manchester International Festival | 29 June – 10 July 2019

Tree takes you on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa.  Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this major world-premiere production, performed in the round. 

Music, dance and film combine with an exciting cast to explore the past, present and future of this country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.

BOOK-NOW

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Blood Wedding

By Federíco Garcia Lorca, in a new version by Marina Carr | Directed by Yaël Farber

Main House | 19 Sept – 2 Nov 2019

We’re all curious about what might hurt us…

What do you do when the day that’s supposed to be the happiest of your life becomes a living nightmare?

A repressed, passionate love affair rears its head on the day two young people tie the knot. What is done cannot be undone.

Multiple award-winning director Yaël Farber (Les Blancs, Mies Julie, The Crucible), brings Federíco Garcia Lorca’s most famous tragedy Blood Wedding to the Young Vic in a new version by Marina Carr

BOOK-NOW

Fairview

Fairview

By Jackie Sibblies Drury | Directed by Nadia Latif

Main House | 28 Nov 2019 – 18 Jan 2020

“Dazzling and ruthless…a glorious, scary reminder of the unmatched power of live theatre to rattle, roil and shake us wide awake.”
The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)

Following a ground-breaking, sell-out run in New York, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview is an interrogation of our subtly destructive preconceptions. This radical examination of power is directed by Young Vic’s Genesis Fellow / Associate Director, Nadia Latif.

It’s Grandma’s birthday and the Frasier family have gathered to celebrate. Beverly just wants everything to run smoothly, but Tyrone has missed his flight, Keisha is freaking out about college and Grandma has locked herself in the bathroom.

BOOK-NOW


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Bronx Gothic

A Young Vic and Los Angeles Performance Practice co-production

Writer, Performer and Sound Designer Okwui Okpokwasili | Director, Visual and Sound Designer Peter Born

Maria Studio | 1 – 29 June

Part theatre, part dance and part visual art installation, Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic delves into her memories of growing up in the Bronx, before emerging into a breathtaking exploration of girlhood.

Created in collaboration with Peter Born, in this UK premiere, Bronx Gothic draws on inspiration from West African griot storytelling and the epistolary style of the Victorian novel to ask what it means to be brown in a world that values whiteness.

Okwui Okpokwasili is a 2018 MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ recipient.

BOOK-NOW


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Wild East

By April De Angelis | Directed by Lekan Lawal

Clare Studio |  6 – 16 February

This is some Interview.

Frank is nervous, his interview with Dr Jacqueline Pitt and Dr Marcia Gray is about to begin. If he can do this, it’s his ticket back to Russia.

But secret motivations reveal themselves as the three get caught in each-others’ crossfire during the course of questioning – and all under the ever-present eye of the higher-ups.

Outlandish and surreal, April De Angelis’ Wild East artfully turns the most sterile of settings, a corporate job interview, into a sharp comedy about the permeation of human chaos.

Directed by Genesis Award winner Lekan Lawal.

“Wild East is possibly best described as the funniest play Ionesco never wrote, but even that doesn’t do justice to the job interview gone eccentrically, even apocalyptically haywire.” Variety

BOOK-NOW

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Ivan & The Dogs 

By Hatti Naylor | Directed by Caitriona Shoobridge

Clare Studio | 10 – 20 July

All the money went and there was nothing to buy food with…So mothers and fathers tried to find things they could get rid of, things that ate, things that drank, or things that needed to be kept warm

…The dogs went first.

Four-year-old Ivan would rather face living on the streets of Moscow than stay home. Now, to survive he faces new challenges; from young gangs of boys to the police, and his own hunger.

But all is not lost as Ivan finds family amongst the other outcasts around him – the dogs.

Genesis Award winner Caitriona Shoobridge directs this one-person play exploring the need for kindness and trust, when despite being betrayed by the people around you, family can still be forged in the face of adversity.

“Hattie Naylor’s writing beautifully conveys the incredible way the boy and dogs connected to each other, and one leaves the theatre feeling disgust for those on two legs, but admiration for those on four.” The Telegraph

BOOK-NOW

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YV Unpacked: Spring Awakening

By Franz Wedekind |Adapted from the 1891 text by Caroline Byrne
| Directed by Caroline Byrne

The Clare |  – 

He said roses in the flowerbeds have such meagre
blooms every summer because they are over-protected
and over pruned.

He said he was a weed.

Am I then the rose?

Moritz has been having dreams about legs in blue stockings again. Wendla wants to feel something, anything. Meanwhile, Melchior’s basically got it all figured out…

A vital, timeless tale exploring the consequences of a society which struggles to be open about sex and sexuality.

Featuring a cast including actor-musicians, Caroline Byrne’s timely adaptation is stripped bare by raw percussive energy composed by Tasha Taylor Johnson and Line Bech’s striking costume designs.

BOOK-NOW

 

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The Jumper Factory

Conceived by Young Vic Taking Part & Justin Audibert |By Luke Barnes |Directed by Josh Parr

Maria Studio | 27 February – 9 March

Created in collaboration with inmates at HMP Wandsworth and written by Luke Barnes, this intimate and powerful new piece explores the stories of people behind bars and the resilience they need to face a world that moves without them.

Tickets on sale soon


Draw Me Close

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A preview of the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada production, presented by the Young Vic. 

Maria Studio | 21 January – 2 February

Draw Me Close blurs the worlds of live performance, virtual reality and animation to create a vivid memoir about the relationship between a mother and her son in the wake of her terminal-cancer diagnosis.

The experience is by award-winning playwright and filmmaker Jordan Tannahill, in a co-production between the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling  Studio and National Film Board of Canada, in collaboration with All Seeing Eye, with illustrations by Teva Harrison.

Tickets will be on sale in early 2019.

The 8 Club

A Young Vic and David Weale-Cochrane and Kwame Kwei-Armah Jr co-production

The 8 Club is a pioneering, free to access, video series investigating the subjects that really matter to young men. Provocative and often unspoken topics for men, such as mental health, ‘toxic masculinity’ and personal relationships are faced head-on.

Release dates to be announced soon.

Taking Part in 2019

Our work with young people and our local communities is a major part of our artistic life, offering free tickets, workshops, projects and the chance to make and perform in shows. Exciting things coming up in 2019 include…

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YV Unpacked is a new strand of work, taking the highest quality theatre to people who don’t normally think that theatre is for them. We will be taking shows to refugee centres, prisons, community hubs and homeless shelters as part of this work. Our 2019 Unpacked, following Spring Awakening which will be taken out to the community is She Ventures, and He Wins, by Ariadne.

The Wonderful Way to Marbleous Town returns in 2019 after a successful run for schools last summer. Directed by Natasha Nixon and designed by Kirsty Harris, this playful non-verbal performance welcomes you into a magical world, where we can discover our true selves. This is part of our work for children and young people who prefer an open and relaxed performance environment. Tickets will be available to SEND schools.

The Freedom Project: Working collaboratively as the UK’s first two Theatres of Sanctuary, The Young Vic and Leeds Playhouse will co-commission a new play exploring the idea of social freedoms.

Written in response to the words and stories of refugees and asylum seekers in London and Leeds, the project will begin at The Young Vic during Refugee Week 2019 and will culminate the following year with a co-production of a new play by Luke Barnes. The piece will be performed by local refugees and asylum seekers in both Leeds and London.

Forest will be our response to Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s production of Tree. For the first time, all three strands of Taking Part will come together to make a new show, including our neighbours and friends of all ages. There will be music, dancing, joy and a great story.

Priority booking now open for YV Friends
Public booking opens at 10am on Monday 5 November ⏰

BECOME A FRIEND TODAY FROM JUST £35
By becoming a Friend you’ll get advance access to this new season of work and you’ll be supporting the Directors Program, our unique training program for emerging directors, and Taking Part, our deep rooted education and engagement program in our local area.
Become a Friend

★★★★ “This Twelfth Night is a thing of beauty” | Reviews Round-Up

Reviews for our musical adaptation of Twelfth Night are coming in! Critics are loving the jubilance that abounds throughout this exuberant production.

Co-directed by Oskar Eustis and our own Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, who conceived the work in partnership with Shaina Taub for New York’s acclaimed Public Theater ahead of its debut here in the UK.

★★★★ ‘Brilliant. Show-stopping musical numbers’ The TimesRead the full review

★★★★ ‘Executed with flair, intelligence and vitality, this Twelfth Night is a thing of beauty’ Financial Times | Read the full review

★★★★ ‘A shot to the heart.’ The Observer | Read the full review

★★★★ ‘Irrepressible fun’ Evening StandardRead the full review

★★★★ ‘A joyous and dazzlingly colourful musical’ Time Out Read the full review

 

Martyn Ellis and Gerard Carey in Twelfth Night. Photography by Johan Persson

★★★★ ‘A big, bright and lively staging’ The StageRead the full review

★★★★ ‘Marvellous. Fun. An inclusive warmth’ WhatsOnStageRead the full review

Twelfth Night runs at the Young Vic until 17 November. Limited tickets are available. Find out more and book now.

Ola Ince to direct Danai Gurira’s ‘The Convert’ at the Young Vic

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We’re thrilled to announce that Ola Ince will direct The Convert by Tony-nominated writer and Black Panther star Danai Gurira at the Young Vic this December.

In 2016 Ola was the winner of the Genesis Future Director Award which saw her direct Dutchman at the Young Vic, Amiri Baraka’s provocative play about race relations and freedom.

Ola is currently Associate Director on Tina Turner The Musical following a number of high profile roles including director of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (Gate Theatre, 2018), Start Swimming (Young Vic, 2017) and Assistant Director on the Donmar’s critically acclaimed Shakespeare Trilogy which transferred to St Ann’s Warehouse in New York in 2017.

The Convert, explores the impact of colonialism on heritage, history and faith.

It’s 1896 and Jekesai, a young woman fleeing forced marriage, finds herself working for a devout Catholic.  Chilford dreams of being an English priest and relishes the opportunity to mould his new convert.  But Jekesai’s salvation has its price as her individuality is slowly stripped away…

The Convert runs at the Young Vic from 7 Dec 2018 – 19 Jan 2019. Tickets are available to book now from £10.

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A brand new season of shows from Kwame Kwei-Armah

We’re thrilled to announce a new season of shows from our new artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah. In addition to this we’ve announced two exciting upcoming projects called My England and YV Unpacked. You can read more about these below.

Tickets are on sale now to YV Friends. Public booking opens at 10am on Monday 23 April.

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A Musical Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s

Twelfth Night

Conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub
Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis

2 Oct – 17 Nov 2018

Shakespeare meets his match as brass bands and Beyoncé weave through this enchanting musical adaptation of Twelfth Night, with music and lyrics by the critically acclaimed songwriter Shaina Taub.

Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis co-direct this technicolour celebration of love in all its forms, following a run at the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Book tickets from £10

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The Convert

By Danai Gurira

7 Dec 2018 – 19 Jan 2019

★★★★ “A rich and gripping drama” – Financial Times

Black Panther star and Tony-nominated writer Danai Gurira’s striking play explores the impact of colonialism and Catholicism on black identity.

It’s 1896 and Jekesai, a young woman fleeing forced marriage, finds herself working for a devout Catholic. Chilford dreams of being an English priest and relishes the opportunity to mould his new convert. But Jekesai’s salvation has its price as her individuality is slowly stripped away…

Book tickets from £10

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Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train

By Stephen Adly Guirgis | Directed by Kate Hewitt

14 Feb– 30 Mar 2019

★★★★ “Shocking, shattering, stunningly well-written” – The Daily Telegraph
“Like a shot of caffeine straight in the veins” – The Guardian

From Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Motherf$%ker with the Hat), a dark comedy about the contradictory nature of faith.
Inside the lockdown wing of Rikers Island prison, a frightened young man accused of murdering a cult leader is confronted with a charismatic born-again serial killer and a sadistic guard.

Will one man’s redemption lead to another’s damnation?…

Book tickets from £10

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Things of Dry Hours

By Naomi Wallace | Directed by Debbie Hannan, 2018 Genesis Award winner

Clare Studio | 15 – 25 August 2018

★★★★ “A gorgeously written and philosophically rich celebration of a black Communist agitator in Depression-era South”
Time Out New York

The knock at the door. Because there is always a knock at the door…

Tice Hogan and his daughter Cali live a quiet life, keeping their heads down, reading the Bible, Karl Marx, and washing the rich folks’ laundry. Until one day an unknown white factory worker crashes into their lives.

Weaving the spiritual into the political, Things of Dry Hours interrogates the idea that humans cannot change; are we really all that black and white?

2018 Genesis Award winner Debbie Hannan directs this tantalizing, poetic play.

Book tickets from £10

My England
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My England is a celebration of playwrights from across regions of England. The works look at what it means to be English. Video monologues will be recorded and shown on the Young Vic social media channels.

Confirmed commissions include work from: Leo Skilbeck, Omar El-Khairy, Polly Stenham, Barrie Rutter, Jack Thorne and May Sumbwanyambe.

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YV Unpacked

YV Unpacked is a new strand of work, taking the highest quality theatre to people who do not normally think that theatre is for them. We will be taking shows to refugee centres, prisons, community hubs and home-less shelters as part of this work. The first work to be taken out to the community is:

Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, directed Caroline Byrne.

Priority Booking is now open for all shows. Public booking opens from 10am on Monday 23 April.