Behind the Scenes highlights from Stage Managers Day 2018

In the theatre world, sometimes those behind the scenes can get lost amongst the glamour and glitz of what’s on stage – so this year for Stage Manager’s Day we handed our wonderful stage managers the reigns to our Instagram account to reclaim the spotlight and show off what they do best.

See the highlights below!

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Twelfth Night runs until 17 Nov at the Young Vic. Limited tickets from £10.

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.

 

 

Wings: 11 Questions with Nick Gasson

Nick Gasson is currently starring in Wings at the Young Vic. His character is struggling to rebuild his communication skills after experiencing aphasia – a condition that affects the brain and leads to problems with speech and language.

We caught up with Nick to ask him these 11 questions . . .

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 1. Can you describe your character in Wings in three words?

Recovering stroke victim

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

Wings is an extra-sensory experience!

3. What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this Young Vic production?

Working with such an amazing team of actors and crew

4. Emily Stilson was a wing walker. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Going on the ‘tea-cups’ ride at the funfair!

4. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

Apart from hugely impressed at Juliet Stevenson’s performance, I think they will feel like they have a better understanding of what goes on in the head of someone who’s had a major stroke

5. What has it been like working with Natalie Abrahami?

Wonderful. Her approach is always collaborative and the final results are finely detailed

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

Reading the papers!

7. What is your favourite play you’ve either seen, read or worked on?

There have been so many but in terms of taking part, playing the old tramp Davies in 3 tours of The Caretaker. Plays that really stunned me when I saw them include Bent and Angels in America, both at the National Theatre.

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

Writing and performing in play at primary school

8. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you recently?

I was in my local bar in Spain and Bobby Davro walked in. You have to be fairly old to know who he is, but he was a popular comedian / entertainer on TV in the 1980’s.

9. What’s the one thing you value most in life?

Got to be either health or the feeling of warm sun on your face

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

No longer with us: David Bowie. I’d say ‘Fancy a pint?’. Alive: Judi Dench. I’d say ‘Fancy a cuppa and a chat?’

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

I wish I’d been born in ’67 rather than ’57. So much changed for the better in those 10 years.

Wings runs at the Young Vic until 4 November. Juliet Stevenson stars as Emily, an aviator who suffers a stroke that destroys her sense of reality. Fragments of her life come together as she struggles to find her voice and sense of self.

Click here to book tickets from £10

 

Kwame Kwei-Armah announced as Young Vic’s new Artistic Director

The Young Vic is thrilled to announce that Kwame Kwei-Armah will become the new Artistic Director in February 2018.

A photo of Kwame Kwei-Armah taken outside the entrance to Baltimore Centre Stage

Kwame Kwei-Armah will become the new Artistic Director in February 2018

Kwame Kwei-Armah is an award-winning director and playwright and the outgoing Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage where he directed extensively. Directing credits also include New York’s Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. His production of One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play.

His works as playwright include One Love (Birmingham Rep), Marley, Beneatha’s Place (Baltimore Center Stage), Elmina’s Kitchen, Fix Up, Statement of Regret (National Theatre) and Let There Be Love and Seize the Day (Tricycle Theatre). Kwame was the Chancellor of the University of the Arts London from 2010-15, and in 2012 was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama.

Kwame will succeed David Lan further to the announcement that he would be stepping down in 2018 after 18 years in the role. Kwame will announce his first season of work as Artistic Director in the new year.

Kwame Kwei-Armah says: “To walk into the Young Vic is to come face to face with everything I love about theatre, so I am beyond humbled, if not a little scared. But to lead this magnificent theatre at this time in our nation’s history, after such a visionary as David, excites me beyond words. I can’t wait to get started.”

Patrick McKenna, Chair of the Board, says: “After meeting Kwame the panel was unanimous in its decision to appoint him as the next leader for this remarkable institution. Kwame’s wealth of experience directing, writing and working with the local community in Baltimore and beyond will translate beautifully to his new role leading the work on the Young Vic’s three stages as well as its pioneering outreach and education work in London.”

David Lan, outgoing Artistic Director, says: “The choice the panel has made is inspired. I welcome it wholeheartedly and will do whatever I can to support Kwame in the early days as he finds his own distinctive way to keep the Young Vic one of the great producing theatres of this country and the world.

 

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “An electric storm of a performance” | Nina reviews

The reviews are in for Nina: A Story about me & Nina Simone !
Josette Bushell-Mingo, and her three piece band, mix story and song as she draws together tales from the life of Nina Simone, Josette’s own extraordinary career and the Black Lives Matter movement. This production is all sold out but you are welcome to join our returns queue from 6.45pm each night.

You can read the reviews below and check out what audiences have been saying so far in our Storify round up.

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Josette Bushell-Mingo and band in Nina at the Young Vic. Photo by Simon Annand

 

★★★★
“An electric storm of a performance”
Time Out | Read the full review

★★★★
“Amid this darkness, there’s also much light. Bushell-Mingo inhabits instinctively the union of joy and protest in Simone’s sound.”
The Times| Read the full review

★★★★
“Josette Bushell-Mingo’s searing one-woman show pushes the boundaries of theatre.”
The Stage| Read the full review

Nina: A Story about me & Nina Simone runs in the Young Vic Maria studio until 29 July before it heads to the Traverse Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

YV Directors Program goes to York

Last month the Young Vic and York Theatre Royal held a workshop for directors and theatre makers who live and work in Yorkshire and the North East, through the Young Vic Directors Program Reach Out scheme. 

Eight young directors who have been making socially responsive theatre met with York Theatre Royal Associate Artist John R. Wilkinson, Sue Emmas, Associate Artistic Director of the Young Vic, and Imogen Brodie, Director of Taking Part at the Young Vic. The session delved into the work of the Young Vic’s Taking Part department and how the theatre engages with schools, colleges, young people and local residents of Lambeth and Southwark. In particular it looked at the past production of Men in Blue, a community response to Blue/Orange which worked with men who had suffered more than one episode of psychosis.

The day started with some classic exercises to get to know the names of everyone in the room, including ball games used in the original Men in Blue workshopsThe morning session largely focused on the work the Taking Part does within it’s communities and what it achieves with it’s community productions. Imogen talked about the process behind developing several Taking Part projects such as Men in Blue and See Me Now.

Also discussed were the ethics of participatory theatre, what we hope to achieve through it, and who it ultimately helps. The directors then completed some of the exercises used within the development of the Men in Blue project. These included writing exercises starting with the sentences ‘A man is’, ‘Today is’ and ‘I am scared of’. The results of the exercises done during the Men in Blue process actually made it in to the script. The group shared both their responses and the responses of the Men in Blue, and interesting example of how much content you can create through a simple exercise.

The afternoon session focused particularly on Men in Blue and the processes, road bumps and troubleshooting that arose within that particular project. Afterwards the directors paired up and came up with their own ideas for participatory theatre that could have been made in response to Blue/Orange. These ideas, or individual ideas that the directors were currently working on, were pitched to Sue and Imogen. They gave advice on the holes and highs within the concepts before the pitches were discussed and dissected by the whole group. This was an invaluable exercise for the participants in developing an idea into a tangible option.

Imogen Brodie’s top tips to working in Participatory Theatre:

• Make friends with partner organisations
• Make a project as flexible as possible to work with the needs of the participants
• Individualise schedules for participants
• Feed people
• Contact people on mobiles
• Be prepared to do a lot of pastoral work
• Be prepared to give a lot of yourself
• Be open to whatever people bring, no matter how odd or off beam it seems
• Get a brilliant creative team who are interested in other people
• Only do this work if you really like people
• Go to them
• Have the same standards and creative ambitions for the work as you would for professional work
• Have a sense of humour
• Remember this is not their job
• Be mindful of language and people’s frame of reference
• Be super organised
• Know what you want people to get out of it and make sure that happens
• Don’t be a dick

Reach Out is a Young Vic Directors Program initiative that runs a range of activities for directors across England who live and work outside London. Some take place at the Young Vic and others are run in association with theatres we are either touring work to or have ongoing relationships with.

Keen to attend a future Reach Out event or interested in joining our Genesis Directors Network? Read all about the Directors Program and the opportunities it offer.

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.

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Casting announcement – meet the full cast of Wings

We’re thrilled to announce the rest of the cast of Wings directed by Natalie Abrahami, playing in the Main House from 14 September. Joining Juliet Stevenson is Lorna Brown, Kelle Bryan, David Emmings, Nicholas Gasson, Richard James-Neale, Emily Mytton, Mary Sheen and Emily Wachter. Find out more about them below. 

Lorna Brown 2Lorna Brown makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include:  Bodies, Torn (Royal Court); Things of Dry Hours (The Gate); The Oresteia (Almeida / West End); Little Light (The Orange Tree); Medea, Blurred Lines, Damned by Despair (National Theatre); Crowning Glory (Stratford East); Fear (The Bush); Clybourne Park (Royal Court / West End); Short Fuses (BOV) and Once on this Island (Hackney Empire / Tour).
Film credits include: The Lady in the Van, Taking Stock and Les Miserables.
Television credits include: Chewing Gum, Holby City, True Love and Outnumbered.

 

Kelle Bryan makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.Kelle Bryan BW
Recent theatre credits include:
 The Exonerated (Charing Cross Theatre); Cinderella (PHA); Rebellion (ODAC Ltd); The Extra Factor (No. 1 Tour); Torn by Femi Oguns (Arcola Theatre); Cinderella (Catford Broadway Theatre); The Brothers (The Drum Theatre / Hackney Empire); Bouncers by John Gober (Berkley Players); Jack and the Beanstalk (Channel Theatre) and My Fair Lady (Manchester Palace).
Film credits include: The Naked Poet, In the Mix and The Virus.
Television Credits include: Me & Mrs Jones, The Knot, The National Lottery, The Brothers and Glitter Ball.

 

David Emmings BWDavid Emmings makes his Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits: The Missing Light (The Old Vic); Emily Rising (Little Angel Theatre); Sleeping Beauty (Bristol Old Vic);The Elephantom (National Theatre / West End); Something Very Far Away (Unicorn Theatre / International Tour); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic / Spoleto Festival USA),  Father Christmas (Lyric Hammersmith); The Confetti Maker (New Diorama Theatre) and War Horse (National Theatre / West End). Film credits: The Homeless Polar Bear, Sherlock Holmes and Alice. Short Film credits: Brilliant and Mime Poker.

 

Nicholas GassonNicholas Gasson makes his Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include: Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Caretaker and  Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (London Classic Theatre / Tour); The Dumb Waiter, The Lover, The Picture of Dorian Gray (European Arts Company Tour); Talking Heads (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds); James and the Giant Peach (No. 1 Tour); Season’s Greetings (Mill Theatre) and Pink for a Boy (Oldham Coliseum). Television credits include: Merlin, EastEnders, Doctors, Shadow in the North and Private Life of an Easter Masterpiece.

 

Richard James - Neale BWRichard James-Neale makes his Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include: The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe); Watership Down (Watermill Theatre); Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air); Othello (Frantic Assembly / UK Tour); Emil and the Detectives (National Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tooting Arts Club); Charlotte’s Web (Derby Theatre); Pygmalion (Old Vic) and In Doggerland (Theatre 503). Film credits include: The Legend of Tarzan, Dragon, When I’m Gone, Nadya’s Circus and The Situation.
Television credits include:  Thanks For The Memories, Atlantis and The Insiders.

 

Emily Mytton 2 BWEmily Mytton makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include:  My Brilliant Friend (Rose Theatre);  Magic Flute (ENO);  Medea (Almeida Theatre); From Morning to Midnight, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, WarHorse  and His Dark Materials (National Theatre); The Empress and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe (RSC); The Drowned Man and Tunnel 228 (PunchDrunk); World Cup 1966 and The Creation of the Violin (BAC); The Lesson (Theatre O); Beasts and Beauties (Hampstead Theatre); The Chimp that Spoke (David Glass Ensemble) and Red Ladies (Clod Ensemble).

 

Mary-Sheen BWMary Sheen makes her Young Vic debut in Wings. 
Recent theatre credits include: The Importance of Being Earnest (Politiker Productions); The Sonnet Walk (Globe); Losing It, A Fine Line and Courting Disaster (Soho Theatre); The Fastest Clock in the Universe (Sweetspot Theatre); Hyacinth Blue (Clean Break Theatre); 84 Charing Cross Road  and She Stoops to Conquer (both which she won Derby Evening Telegraph Actress of the Year, Derby Playhouse). Television credits include: Foyle’s War, Southcliffe, The Last Note, The Innocence Project and Dirty Filthy Love. Film credits include: United Strong Alone, The Last Upper, Barley Sugar and Skin Deep.

 

Emily Wachter BWEmily Wachter makes her Young Vic debut in Wings.
Recent theatre credits include: My Brilliant Friend (Rose Theatre); Swallow (Traverse Theatre); Britain’s Best Recruiting Sergeant, Caucasian Chalk Circle (Unicorn Theatre); Bedroom Farce (Salisbury Playhouse); The Humans (Avignon Festival); From Morning to Midnight (National Theatre); Rats’ Tales (Manchester Royal Exchange); Pride and Prejudice (Theatre Royal Bath); Doctor Foster (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Julius Caesar (RSC).
Television credits include: Pyschoville, Compulsion and Judge John Deed.
Radio credits include: Maiden’s Trip, Sagrasso, The Way We live Right Now and High Table, Low Orders.

Wings by Arthur Kopit, direction by Natalie Abrahami runs in the Main House of the Young Vic from 14 Sept – 4 Nov. Tickets available to book now