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

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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.

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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

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.

Now We Are Here | Tammy

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.

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Tammy at the Young Vic. Photo by Leon Puplett.

Q. How have you found working on a project like this?
A. Ian [Rickson] and Imogen [Brodie, Director of Taking Part at the Young Vic], especially Imogen…they make it so welcoming and there was no pressure. For example…this whole thing is about truth and wanting to be precise…they made sure I was comfortable because there are more vicious things that I’ve been through but I wasn’t ready to put it out there and they made it comfortable [easy] for me to realise that I can share just what I want…what I’m ready to. So it was very comfortable and very cool.

Q. You’re based in London now. How are you finding it?
A. I’ve been living here since 1999, so quite a long time. Liberating is the word. Liberating because…put it this way, for a long time I thought that something was wrong with me but then when I came here and found out that actually this was normal…that this was natural and that the church was being hypocritical and then I had to re-read the bible from start to finish a few times to realise that God made me in his own image so I am actually normal. The fact that I’m a lesbian doesn’t take away anything. I am his child. My great-grandmother was a Christian and I do believe in God so that was something that really brought me to a very comfortable place, comfortable in myself and accepting myself and loving myself because all the bad things that happened to me back then I just thought I deserved it because I wasn’t normal.

Q. You mentioned religion. How do you feel about religion now / are you practicing it?
A. I wouldn’t say I practice per se. I think religion should be a personal thing between a person and whoever they believed in. I think it’s your choice. I just got to church when I want, when I feel I need to otherwise I do it personally in my room or on the bus if I want to sit there and close my eyes and talk to him. So I don’t think that it’s this huge big thing that I need to throw into somebody’s face. I think that it’s something you have personally with you and your god or whoever you serve.

Q. And have you been back to Jamaica since?
A. No – I haven’t because of this asylum thing. When I lost my passport – well, the Home Office lost it – my lawyer said ‘better to claim asylum in that case’, and you have to wait for a certain period of time before you’re able to travel. So as soon as it’s safe for me to go back the first thing I want to do is to go to my great-grandmother’s grave because I haven’t been there. […]

Q. How was it telling your story in such and open and honest way?
A. The first time Golda [the actor sharing Tammy’s story]…when I first readied myself it was a little bit too much in the sense that I was breaking down because it’s almost like you’re there again. It just your life…you’re re-living your life so that’s why Ian got Golda to come in and do it. When she first did it in rehearsal, every time she does it actually I commented that it’s almost like I could smell that smell again of the boy burning. Ian pointed out to me that your smell and your brain are somehow connected to you memory… Just hearing her do it, y’know, it’s just as touching as if I was doing it y’know. I’m sitting there…it’s almost watching my life inside a TV or something like that.

Q. Do you think Golda, the actor sharing your story, did the piece justice?
A. I think she did more than justice. She did an incredible job. I just hope that it wasn’t too emotionally draining on in the end because it is like going through all these emotions, personal emotions. She did really well.

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.

Stay Another Song | Taking Part Schools Production

Each year Young Vic Taking Part produces a schools production in response to a theme or topic taken from a show. This May saw Stay Another Song take place in the Maria theatre with director, Elayce Ismail guiding teenagers from St Martin-in-the-Fields High School for Girls and the London Nautical School in a production inspired by If You Kiss Me Kiss Me.

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The cast of Stay Another Song. Photo by Helen Murray.

The cast of 31 used both music and dance to tell stories which came from both the cast and their parents’ answers to the question, ‘What does music mean to you?’.

The cast developed material for the show over four months, exploring their favourite musical memories; how music is a soundtrack to their daily lives; ways in which music informs their identities; and how they relate to their parents through music.

Playing with text, song and dance, the cast created the production through a series of improvisations and devising exercises. The wide variety of songs featured in Stay Another Song reflects the range of their musical tastes and experiences.

Find out more about Taking Part’s work with schools and colleges or follow them on Twitter to keep up with all their latest projects and productions.