Springboard – a week in the YV Directors Program

This past week the Young Vic’s Directors Program held Springboard, a week long series of workshops led by Genesis Fellow Gbolahan Obisesan for emerging directors from across the country.  

During the week participants took part in a series of practical workshops led by experienced directors. These asked participants to consider the balance between their creative ambition on the one hand and the skills and responsibilities of a director on the other.

” The week was curated to allow access to established theatre makers with the broadest approach toward making theatre, allowing the directors to cultivate an eclectic practical knowledge of how different artists utilise their unique artistic and technical talents to make great theatre.”
        – Gbolahan Obisesan

Workshops were led by Ramin Gray, Nadia Fall, Kirsty Housley, Sacha Wares and Richard Twyman, with topics ranging from the director/designer relationship, devising, verbatim theatre and more. The directors visited Bijan Sheiban’s rehearsal room at the National Theatre and observed rehearsals for Barber Shop Chronicles. They also attended Life of Galileo at the Young Vic and Salomé at the National Theatre.

“As the years roll by, connecting with young directors coming innocently at the problem of how to make theatre fresh and powerful is a healthy corrective. It’s a springboard not only for them but also, I found, for myself as I walked back up The Cut, invigorated.”
        – Ramin Gray on the Directors Program


David Lan in session at Springboard. Photo by Leon Puplett

The week finished with a workshop led by our artistic director David Lan who led a conversation about what it means to be an artistic director, what he looks for in his programming and whether the term ‘director’s theatre’ actually means anything.

“I want the voices heard here to need us. If they can be heard at other theatres, let them be heard at other theatres. I want to do the things that if we don’t do them here, they won’t be done.”
         – David Lan on programming for the Young Vic.

The Young Vic has been running it’s Directors Program for over a decade, offering young directors a unique opportunity to exchange experiences with peers and be part of a network of talented younger directors, producers and designers.

Find out more about the Directors Program and the opportunities offered across the country.

Gbolahan Obisesan is generously supported by the Genesis Foundation.
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.

11 Questions with the cast of The Events: Clifford Samuel

Clifford Samuel and Derbhle Crotty in The Events

Clifford Samuel and Derbhle Crotty in The Events. Photo by David Levine

Clifford Samuel can currently be seen on stage at the Young Vic in The Guardian’s #1 show of 2013, The Events.  Now in it’s final week in London, Clifford answers our 11 Questions.

What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?
Brush my teeth, check my mic pack, a bit of skipping prep, a few press ups, less talking, wish my co-star “break a leg!”.

What is your favourite play (seen, read or worked on)?
Very hard to choose… I worked on The Girl in the Yellow Dress by Craig Higginson. Beautifully structure and story.

What is your favourite midnight snack?
Cereal – with lovely cold milk.

What is your favourite word?

Favourite holiday you’ve ever been on?
Tulum, Mexico/Rio de Janeiro.

What is your favourite song?
Cupid by Sam Cooke.

If the days were 28 hours long what would you do with the extra 4 hours?
Continue with some more of my writing and perhaps finish Breaking Bad!

If you could be in a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Tropical fish.

Favourite city and why?
London. It’s a huge melting pot of different cultures, some incredible, old architecture juxtaposed with new. And because it’s London. Any Londoner knows what I mean…

If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?
Late 60s – 70s. Great music and musicians. Flamboyant fashion. Turning point in human rights. Useful technology.

If you could have any one supernatural power which would you choose and why?
Time travel/teleporting.

The Events is on until this Saturday 2 August at the Young Vic, to book tickets here.

The Events Remixed & Discussed

The Events is a play about communities, whether they are ethnic, geographical, or just centred around a shared love of singing. When making the show, we worked with Schauspielhaus Wien (Austria) and Drammens Teater (Norway) to create their own versions that have been touring the world simultaneously to the original production. 

On 10 and 12 July, The Events will be presented in a truly unique way. Ramin Gray, Artistic Director, has called upon the UK cast, the Norwegian cast, and the Austrian cast to all take the stage at the same time, in an international, multi-lingual performance. 

Following the matinee performance at 2.45 pm on 12 July, Channel Four’s Matt Frei will be chairing a panel discussion with Rob Liddle from The Spectator and Bjørn Ihler, a survivor from the island of Utøya. The theme of the discussion is It’s Not Easy to be Open When Your Tribe Feels Weak. We would love for you to come along, see a very unique performance followed by a lively debate. More panel guests will be announced soon. 

And in case you can’t make any of those dates, The Events will be on the airwaves this Friday on BBC Radio 4. Tune in here. Jane Anderson from the Radio Times has been given a sneak preview of the radio version and describes it as ‘the best drama I have heard so far this year.’ Artistic Director Ramin Gray and the ATC team will be on Twitter during the broadcast, answering questions and providing live commentary, so keep an eye on hashtag #TheEvents on Friday evening. 

To book for these special performances, or to see The Guardian’s “Best Play of 2013” in its original form, book now at www.youngvic.org or call 020 7922 2922. 

And for those of you not London-based, ATC has just announced performances in Leicester, Manchester, and Southampton this autumn.

‘We’re all here…’ Tim Neumann, a member of the Young Vic Open Voices Choir, talks about performing in The Events at the Young Vic

Young Vic Choir First PerformanceS Neville_05#A9E0David Greig’s daring new play The Events has just finished a sell-out run at the Young Vic. The production explores our destructive desire to fathom the unfathomable and asks how far forgiveness can stretch in the face of brutality. Each night, a different London choir performed as part of the show.

Tim Neumann is a member of the Young Vic Open Voices Choir, one of the many choirs involved, and he told us
about his experience of being part of this very special production.

‘My own journey with The Events started in October 2012 at a singing workshop, where composer John Browne and director Ramin Gray tested out a few ideas for an emerging play. The workshop ended with us singing the line “Someone will surely come” to a half-improvised melody, with lead actress Neve McIntosh stacking up chairs as a lonely figure. A particularly moving scene.

One year later, and the improvised “Someone will surely come” morphed into a fully composed “We’re all here”. ‘We’, in this case, is Young Vic Open Voices, a rather diverse collection of ordinary Lambeth and Southwark residents recruited through Young Vic’s Two Boroughs project. The play features a different community choir each night, and looking at us I cannot help thinking that we embody the idea of a community choir exceptionally well.

What sets us apart from other choirs is that we are, in fact, not a regular choir, and some of us are not even too passionate about singing! We are effectively just a bunch of neighbours with an interest in theatre, so the prospect of mastering seven songs within just nine weekly rehearsals was daunting. But thanks to our energetic choirmaster Rob, we progressed quickly and swelled with pride at the final rehearsal when Kirsten and Imogen from the Young Vic declared that we sounded “like a proper choir”.

The rehearsals, light-hearted though ambitious as they were, were part of the overall fun, including Super Sunday, a joint rehearsal with multiple choirs involved in the play, led by members of the production team. By that time, we were really keen on using our new skills for real. And we actually wanted to see the play – while the plot was roughly outlined to us, we were kept in the dark enough to be a normal audience in between our parts.

Just about two hours before the performance, we were properly briefed and handed the ‘Order of Service’, a folder with our score, stage directions, and small bits of text that we were supposed to read out, and not recite from memory. The production team was taking a gamble by involving amateurs, so they wanted to reduce risks as much as possible. This was evident in an overly detailed health and safety briefing as well as extremely clear and slow-paced directions, with ample guidance on avoiding potential pitfalls. The production team knew very well how nerves can turn even the simplest task into a minor disaster, and I am sure I was not the only one to appreciate their reassurance.

Our first performance went very well, with only two unnoticeable glitches. Back in our dressing room, a warm feeling of post-performance satisfaction was paired with a somewhat pensive mood, due to the nature of David Greig’s impressive play, leaving us to brood over our own take on forgiveness and coping. Luckily we had two more performances to look forward to, two more opportunities to observe and support Neve McIntosh’s and Rudi Dharmalingam’s outstanding acting, all thanks to the wonderful community engagement work of the Young Vic and the Actors Touring Company.

When I left the theatre, an audience member was still singing the closing song “We’re all here”. Well, here we are, and I hope that we, as Young Vic Open Voices, will be back!’.

Tim Neumann
Member of the Young Vic Open Voices Choir