Sing Before You Speak Again | A Taking Part community response to Wings

“These are stories we don’t often get a chance to hear – indeed they are often the hardest stories for people who have had strokes to articulate until they are set to music. Music seems to tap into a part of the brain that sets language free, the rhythm allowing words to flow where they are normally stumbled over”

Written after a series of workshops with stroke recovery groups, Parkinson’s community groups and dementia healthy living clubs and inspired by Natalie Abrahami’s production of Wings by Arthur Kopit, Sing Before You Speak Again was staged this November.

 

Sing Before You Speak Again‘s director Thomas Martin explained a little more about the production which took the form of an original choral song cycle written by Deanna Rodger and Joseph Atkins.

Some of the text was verbatim, but most of it was poetic – in Deanna’s lyrical world, memories become motors, houses become ships tossed about on a cold sea, and brains become balloons to be popped or let go. Joe’s composition brings these images to life with rich and challenging harmonies, filled with cheeky echoes of our participants’ favourite artists – Bob Marley, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell.

 

Sing Before You Speak Again has taken us through a range of emotions with the hope that our audiences leave with a little more understanding of what having a stroke feels like and the often disorientating effects – Wendy, Participant

Following the week of performances some of the company took part in a series of special performances at community centres with Nunhead Dementia Cafe, time & talents and Stockwell Healthy Living Club who helped inspire the original songs that the creative team had met during their original workshops.

It was so brilliant to have such great entertainment and even more special to meet the singers. – Nunhead Dementia Cafe

We’re extremely grateful to some incredible local groups who opened their doors and allowed us to get involved. Our production wouldn’t have been possible without the workshops and support of the following organisations, Aphasia Re-Connect, Southwark and Lambeth Parkinson’s Support Group, Stockwell Healthy Living Club and Time & Talents.

Taking Part in 2017

It’s been a busy first half of the year for Young Vic Taking Part –  they’ve produced 7 shows, held workshops and courses for Young People and communities for people who live, work or study in Lambeth and Southwark and celebrated the 1st anniversary of Neighbourhood Theatre. Find out more below…  

See Me Now

A two year long project, the first version of See Me Now was originally performed as part of The Brolly Project in August 2015, a Young Vic Taking Part project. The team worked closely with outreach projects across London to find a company of participants who have, or do work in the sex industry. The performance, created in collaboration with the company, saw them sharing their painful, touching and often hilarious stories from their work and personal lives. The culmination of this was See Me Now which was performed for a three week run in February in the YV’s Maria. See what audiences had to say about TP’s production on our Storify.

(10) See Me Now at the Young Vic. Photo © Matt Humphrey

See Me Now at the Young Vic. Photo by Matt Humphrey

Go Between

Go Between was a Taking Part community show inspired by Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope. A beautiful collaboration between director Anna Girvan, writer Archie Maddocks and participants who were homeless or had experienced homelessness in the past, it explored what home means to all of us. Go Between ran in the Maria in January. You can find out more about the rehearsal process and see portraits of our participants in our blog post.

A08_7485

Go Between at the Young Vic. Photo by Jordan Lee

Fable

Fable is our schools and colleges’ response to Isango Ensemble’s A Man of Good Hope. Directed by Maddeleine Kludje and written by Luke Barnes, Fable is a three-part film performed by three groups of children and teenagers in London, Brooklyn and Cape Town.

Fable Part One - filming. Photos by Leon Puplett-1

The filming of Fable Part 1. Photo by Leon Puplett

Start Swimming

The most recent Taking Part Parallel Productions, Start Swimming was written by Jamez Fritz in response to the Young Vic’s Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere, a show about occupation, revolution and the future of our youth. Directed by Ola Ince and performed by a cast of 11 young Londoners, Start Swimming was performed in the Clare at the Young Vic in April and continues at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

©helenmurray Start Swimming by James Fritz directed by Ola Ince, Young Vic Taking Part-99.jpg

Start Swimming at the Young Vic. Photo by Helen Murray

And Yet It Moves

Written by Molly Taylor and the company in response to the themes of Life of Galileo, And Yet It Moves was directed by Joseph HancockFocusing on Brexit they interviewed people who voted both leave and remain, as well as prominent MPs from across the campaign, and ran workshops with members of Two Boroughs’ Neighbourhood Theatre. The end result was a piece that addressed the questions of what country you want to live in and how hopeful you are of the future.

And Yet It Moves Production Photos - Leon Puplett-19

And Yet It Moves at the Young Vic. Photo by Leon Puplett

PRU Project

Laura Keefe directed a week-long project with school children at Kennington Park Academy’s pupil referral unit in the Clare in May. A response to Life of Galileo, the workshops featured some dazzling personalised projections by SDNA featuring all of the children involved. Teachers and parents were invited to a small sharing at the end of the week bringing all of their work together.

The Space Between

The Space Between was Taking Part’s annual production for audiences with special educational needs and disabilities. Aimed at children under 12, The Space Between was particularly tailored for those on the Autistic Spectrum. It told the tale of a young girl determined to run away, but who forms a caring relationship with The Creature. The show was written, directed and with a beautiful puppet created by Brunskill & Grimes.

TP SEND - The Space Between - Leon Puplett-19

The Space Between at the Young Vic. Photo by Leon Puplett


Intro to Directing & Intro to Design

Run yearly, these are week long courses that give 18 – 25 year-olds the opportunity to find out more about theatre directing and design. The introductory courses included practical workshops led by professional theatre directors and designers included practical sessions, backstage theatre tours and trips to see various productions at theatres across London.

Intro to Design Feb17-Jemima Robinson-9

Other workshops and talks run by Taking Part this year have included Preparing for Drama School AuditionsVocal Coaching, Off Stage and Schools Workshops. 

Only Young Events

Taking Part have run several Only Young networking events this year. These are evenings held at the Young Vic specifically for young actors, directors, writers, designers, producers and technicians to meet with other creatives. Only Young has been held predominantly for young people aged 18 -25, Taking Part had a great time bringing 14 – 18 year olds together for the first time at this event earlier this summer.

 

Backstage Pass

Nine young Londoners spent two weeks at the Young Vic learning the skills and secrets of stagecraft, as part of Taking Part’s Backstage Pass programme, culminating in a performance of an extract of a play, professionally directed and acted, which the participants plotted, built, designed and called.

Maria-production-workshop-LeonPuplett-3

Backstage pass participants learning rigging from the production department. Photo by Leon Puplett

 

Neighbourhood Theatre

Neighbourhood Theatre started in June 2016 and celebrated it’s 1st Birthday this year. Eighty neighbours officially became members of the new Young Vic company of local people. This company is at the heart of our work. They are ambassadors, creators, friends and supporters. Neighbourhood Theatre comes together to attend our shows enjoy Kitchen Conversations and Theatre Clubs.

Find out more about Young Vic Taking Part and how you can get involved.

Intro to Theatre | Young Vic Taking Part

Our Taking Part team welcomed over 200 new young people over October half-term with a series of Intro to Theatre workshops led by some great friends of the Young Vic.

Talks and workshops with Simon Stephens, Kayode Ewumi and Tyrell Williams, Thalissa Teixeira, Ashley Walters, Jemima Robinson, Toby Clarke, Shanika Warren-Markland, Arnold Oceng and Gbolahan Obisesan, gave a mix of 14-25 year olds a first look at careers in playwriting, acting, design, helped with audition techniques and held talks.

We also held a panel discussion with the heads of acting from RADA, LAMDA, Mountview, LIPA, East 15, Rose Bruford, Central, Drama Centre and the RCS on the process and future of applying to drama schools attended by 60 young people from Lambeth and Southwark.

To find out more about the Young Vic’s opportunities for young people head to youngvic.org and follow Taking Part on twitter.

11 Questions with the cast of Yerma – Maureen Beattie

Yermaprod2016JP_00822

Maureen Beattie in Yerma. Photo by Johan Persson.

Maureen is currently staring in Yerma at the Young Vic. She plays Helen in Simon Stone’s adaptation of Lorca’s classic. Here are her answers to our 11 questions:

Can you describe your character in Yerma  in three words?

A terrible mother.

What’s it been like working with Simon Stone?

Bliss.

How did you find the rehearsal process in comparison to other productions you’ve been in?

Unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Finishing off my make-up.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?

Medea, in a version by Liz Lochhead after Euripides. I was Medea.

What is your favourite midnight snack?

Fried egg sandwich.

What was it that first got you interested in the theatre?

I was always a show off! Also, my father was a variety artiste.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

The Island of Bute, in the Clyde Estuary.

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

My darling brother, who has battled mental illness for decades and yet remains a kind and courteous man.

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?

I’m pretty happy with now.

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

I’d like to be able to de-materialize and re-materialize anywhere in the world at will.

Make sure to sign up to our e-newsletter for all the updates and news from the YV.

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.

YV-Saadiya_LucyWoollatt_DavidLan_SadiqKhan2016

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.

Street level  london is open

#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

Now We Are Here | Desmond

Now We Are Here, part or our Horizons season of work, features four true refugees stories which are drawn together into a heartbreaking tale of the pursuit of freedom. Taking Part at the Young Vic presents this extraordinarily beautiful new play.
We spoke to the people who were originally involved in our first workshops about where they are from and why they decided to get involved in this important project.

Now We Are here - Desmond

Q. How did you find sharing your story through a performance?
A. There’s so much today but then you just have to take things in small portions. I guess it had its affect. I guess it leaves people more aware – wanting more. With a smile on their face; interesting, sad…all the emotions. It hit the mark.

Q. How long have you been living in the UK?
A. This year makes it 21 years.

Q. And how are you finding it?
A. For me it’s a sort of a culture I’ve always had in me in the sense that – well y’know the Caribbean can be busy. The culture can be busy, up and down. Overexcited sometimes but for me, I’m calmer which allows me to relax, to think, to feel, to share because it makes no sense being a busy-bee going nowhere without any emotion, without any caring, without any feeling.

Q. How have you found taking part in a workshop like this? Have there been any particular challenges?
A. I look on it this way, and for me it’s a simple way. Based on my experience, based on what I’ve been through – it’s not only for me. It’s for people who are probably not as strong, who probably can’t deal with…because it’s a lot of things out there that if they know the half of it, you realise how strong and resilient people can be because some people…they keep it in but they’re constantly fighting and sometimes they just need a simple kind word or somebody else’s experience to lift their spirit and for them to realise that ‘I’m not alone’. Life is never normally for you alone. Life is for everybody to learn from it even from one single sentence.

Now We Are Here will run 20-30 July in The Clare at the Young Vic. Tickets are free and all donations will go to Micro Rainbow International and Room to Heal.

Now We are Here | Mir

Now We Are Here, part or our Horizons season of work, features four true refugees stories which are drawn together into a heartbreaking tale of the pursuit of freedom. Taking Part at the Young Vic presents this extraordinarily beautiful new play.
We spoke to the people who were originally involved in our first workshops about where they are from and why they decided to get involved in this important project.

Portrait of NWAH participant, Mir

Mir at the Young Vic. Photo by Leon Puplett.

Q. How have you found doing the workshop?
A. Imogen has been wonderful. I’ve worked with the Young Vic 2/3 times in the past. I never knew Ian in the beginning and then when I researched his work I was mesmerised. I was like ‘oh my god’. As an actor, as a struggling actor, for me it was like massive big break and again, working with the Young Vic as well… Imogen has been very supportive from the beginning and Ian brilliant. I mean it was a wonderful experience.

Q. And in terms of your challenging story, what have you taken away from this and sharing your story in such a public way?
A. I never thought about telling my story in this way. Nobody wants to have a sorry feeling y’know. It’s just I wanted to get it out of my system, it’s therapeutic. It was very much helpful just to take all of that negativity out of me. I like dark stuff normally, even in my performances as well so for me this was something dark that I could show to the audience…the brutal reality of life. So it kind of makes me feel lighter now.

Q. You’re based in London now. How are you finding it?
A. Um, it’s nice. It’s a lonely city I must say. It’s the most loneliest city but people are friendly and I’m doing a lot of stuff which I always wanted to do. So this country has given me all those opportunities which I wanted to do…what I wanted to become. So I find it like, wow. I’m doing it, this is what I wanted to do.

Q. Anything to add about your experience and the importance of things like this?
A. Meeting different people from different cultures. When you can associate with them… As Golda said, ‘broken hearts are universal and when all the broken hearts come together, it fixes them back in way’.

Now We Are Here will run 20-30 July in The Clare at the Young Vic. Tickets are free and all donations will go to Micro Rainbow International and Room to Heal.
You can read our other interviews with our Now We Are Here collaborators in these blog posts.