The Marbleous Route Home, Intro to Theatre and Something to Declare | YV Taking Part Summer update

It’s been an incredibly busy few months for the Young Vic’s outreach team, Taking Part. We’ve shared the playful, non-verbal production The Marbleous Route Home with SEND schools and young people over two weeks of performances, our YV Young Associates created an installation for Refugee Week, Something to Declare and Intro to Theatre, our week long programme of free workshops for young people interested in a career in theatre was attended by hundreds who enjoyed the talents and advice of some incredibly exciting artists.

The Marbleous Route Home

Our playful, non-verbal production, The Marbleous Route Home was our new Young Vic Taking Part production created as an original response to Fun Home aimed at children and young people who attend special schools.


Conceived by Natasha Nixon and Kirsty Harris, and devised by the company, Natasha Nixon’s production received some beautiful and excited reactions from audiences throughout our two weeks of performances set in our open and relaxed performance environment.

Intro to Theatre

Our week long programme of workshops for Young People got even bigger in May 2018. We hosted hundreds of Young People across 26 workshops held by exciting artists including directors Roy Alexander Weise, performers Yolanda Mercy, Serafina Bey, London Hughes and Michael Balogun, writer Luke Barnes and photographer Helen Murray as well as our very own Kwame Kwei-Armah and Nadia Latif.


If you’re interested in finding out more about the next Intro to Theatre then send an email to youngpeople@youngvic.org and they’ll let you know how you can sign up.

Something to Declare

The Young Vic Young Associates are local young people from Southwark who work at the YV, each joining a different department for 9 months of the year. Towards the end of their time at the YV they are given the opportunity to come up with some work on a theme of their choosing. This year’s team of Lanikai, Sandra and Patrick chose to create some work in response to the refugee crisis during Refugee Week.


Their installation, Something To Declare was developed through a series of interviews and workshops with LGBTQI+ refugees. Visitors were invited to listen to different narratives on headphones while inside the installation room, composed from interviews with workshop participants about their experiences in their home countries and in the UK. The second room offered a chill out space with music, films and food, and later featured moving performances from poets Belinda Zhawi and Tamara McFarlane. It was a great evening and we had a fantastic response from our audiences – big thanks to everyone who contributed to the project and to all of those who came.

All photos © Leon Puplett

 

Young Vic celebrates World Refugee Week, 2018

It’s Refugee Week, 2018 and we’re delighted to have a number of events lined up alongside hundreds of others in communities across the UK, all helping raise awareness of the contribution of refugees around the world.

refugee week banner

Following in the footsteps of the Young Vic staging plays which engage with the world’s migration crisis and which explore the individual stories of refugees, our most recent production of which The Jungle has just opened in the West End.

The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction.

We are thrilled that our Taking Part team will be taking the cast of The Tide (our schools response to The Jungle, performed by local teenagers, exploring what is home, family and migration) to see a performance of The Jungle for free during Refugee Week.

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Meanwhile, our Young Vic Young Associates’ project will culminate with Something To Declare, an installation performed by LGBTQ+ refugees, on 21 June at 6pm at Platform, SouthwarkSomething To Declare has been created through workshops with LGBTQI+ refugees and performances from people who identify as such.

We’ll also soon be hosting our next instalment of Kitchen Conversations on 17 July in conjunction with Migrateful: an initiative which aims to bridge the cultural and generational gap between the local community and refugees who are new to the U.K.

Follow Refugee Week on twitter and the  hashtag for all the latest news and stories. You can find events in your local area on Refugee Week’s events listings: http://refugeeweek.org.uk/events/

Within Reach | A Taking Part community response to The Inheritance

“It’s been a wonderfully rewarding process. Not only have I learnt how to awaken my body through movement, but I’ve learnt that speech isn’t always needed to create a powerful, emotive performance.”

Created by a group of individuals who have a relationship to HIV and/or AIDS, Within Reach was inspired by the themes found within Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance.

This poignant response piece used movement to physically explore participants experiences, memories, challenges and beliefs over the course of two months.

Within Reach image © Leon Puplett

Director Grace Gibson, supported through the Jerwood Assistant Director Programme at the Young Vic, told us more about this work:

“The topic of HIV and AIDS is huge and means different things to different people. We can only speak (or in this case move) from our own experiences. Each individual has brought their own story and energy to the process and it has been a true collaboration.”

YV TP - Within Reach © Leon Puplett-08835

YV TP - Within Reach © Leon Puplett-08712

One of our amazing participants, Jill, recorded a poem alongside Sound Designer George Dennis as a personal reflection of her time working with us. Listen here:

Our Director Grace went on to explain why she chose movement as the means to tell the story:

“This is the first time the full group have used movement as a form of self-expression. Through exercises involving trust, contact and improvisation the company created a safe and generous environment in which they allowed each other to openly share and take risks.”

You can read some audience responses to the piece here:

 

 

 

In response to The Jungle, The Brothers Size and The Inheritance | YV Taking Part

It’s been a busy start to 2018 for our incredible education and outreach team, Young Vic Taking Part. Working in response to some stunning productions in the YV’s Main House including The Jungle, The Brothers Size and The Inheritance, they’ve been working with a wide range of people from Lambeth, Southwark and beyond.

The Tide

The Tide was our schools response to The Jungle and was met with some amazing feedback. Written by Eno Mfon, directed by Eva Sampson and performed by local teenagers, The Tide explored what is home, family and migration and was performed in the YV’s Maria space with a stunning design incorporating trampolines by Cecile Tremolieres.

The Brothers Size Parallel Production

A post shared by Young Vic (@youngvictheatre) on

Taking Part have also been working with HMP Wandsworth. At the beginning of February Jonathan Ajayi, Sope Dirisu, Manuel Pinheiro and Anthony Welsh performed Bijan Sheibani’s production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size.  Forty men currently at the prison watched the sharing and were invited to take part in our project inspired by the theme’s explored in McCraney’s work. The script they develop with writer Luke Barnes will form a later production with young offenders, directed by Justin Audibert.

Neighbours Known. Neighbours Unknown.

In collaboration with the acclaimed The Choir with No Name who run choirs for homeless and marginalised people, on a singing project that brings together their members with people from our local boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. Members of the YV Taking Part’s Neighbourhood Theatre have been working on Neighbours Known. Neighbours Unknown. a singing project that celebrates singing, community and togetherness. They’ll be performing on Sat 17 March at The Workshop in Vauxhall.

Within Reach

Within Reach - TB TP 2018 invite v2

Taking Part have also had the first few rehearsals of Within Reach, a movement based response to Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, led by Grace Gibson. Working with people who have HIV or have been directly affected by the illness, the work will be shared in early May.

Arts in Schools Campaign

Taking Part has also been working hard on arts in schools and worked on the first London Theatre Consortium symposium on a future curriculum for drama education which YV AD Kwame Kwei-Armah spoke at. Find out more about the event and people’s responses on our video.

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.

Reflecting on Zimbabwe | Unified Women

Unified Women artwork. Orange background with silhouettes of two young women standing outside holding hands.

Written 2,500 years ago by Aeschylus The Suppliant Women is one of the world’s oldest plays and yet speaks to us through the ages with startling resonance. Seven young women aged between 18-25 from Lambeth and Southwark travelled to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe this September working in response to Ramin Gray’s production, with the YV Taking Part team and director, Sasha Milavic Davies. Zimbabwean writer, Noma Damasane, aka. Lady Tshawe worked with the group to produce a piece of work which reflected the shared experiences across the two groups of women, regardless of their geography or local cultures.

We asked some of our group of women to document their “once-in-a-lifetime experience”, sharing their observations and best moments from their cultural exchange which started with one forgotten passport 😉

Monique takes it from here…

The hardest thing about travelling for me is packing, I can do it quickly but I’m never sure I’ve packed the right things. However, whether your top to bottoms ratio is right means nothing if one forgets to pack the most important item: the passport. Yes ladies and gentlemen I forgot my passport! My mother would be so ashamed.

We arrived in Bulawayo to be greeted by the warm sun of Zimbabwe, Josh of the Nhimbe Trust and two of our cast mates, Sta and Musa, with big smiles. 

After being welcomed by the lovely Noma (our writer) we were treated to an amazing performance Khaya Arts plus the coolest band I’ve ever seen, The Afro Queens. Don’t think that just because we were guests and had been travelling for a whole day we could just sit back and enjoy the show. No! We formed a circle and it was dance time. I’m proud to say I have a really good sense of rhythm and I can throw it down on any given night but the Zim Girls brought something completely different to the table. The way they and the performers of Khaya Arts move is incredible! I have to learn.


Anasthasia from our London group also talked about the huge welcome they received and the early experiences in Bulawayo and further afield… 

My official introduction to the Zimbabwean girls felt like a huge party where the UK girls and I were the guests of honour. We were greeted with such amazing performances, with the most energetic being an amazing stomp dance act by Khaya arts showing us the natural rhythm that the Zimbabweans had to offer. With the food being similar to the African food I had back in the UK, Zimbabwe started to feel a little more like home.

Cultural learning was a key part of this experience where I learnt about both new and old cultural traditions from the Zimbabwean girls, museums, art galleries and heritage sites. There was even a talk by Pathisa Nyathi, one of the most respected historians in Zimbabwe, about the spirituality of the Shona and Ndebele people as well as traditions surrounding marriage; a talk which almost felt like an exact mimic of Danaus speech to his daughters on the same topic. One line that really stood out for me from Pathisa’s speech was “As it is above, so is below”.  It summarises African spirituality and what made an African African; the conservation of the human race and life on earth. This powerful ancient mission of African people makes me want to understand more about my own culture and heritage before colonisation; to understand the rich history of my nation.

Looking back on how Sasha and Noma developed their work, Monique reflected on how it helped her find her own voice…

Last week we shared with each other our own personal stories, whether they were about us or women we knew; we bared parts of ourselves that we probably didn’t expect. To say it was emotional is an understatement. I feel privileged to have heard those stories and I trust these women with the sharing of mine.

Probably because of the gravity of such a moment, I didn’t think about how it relates to our project. Turns out Sasha and Noma intended to use some of our experiences in our performance, in other words, mine. I was shocked. I never felt my story was worth telling in the first place compared to the other girls, so for Sasha to use it and ask me to direct a devised piece about it was pretty mind blowing. It was difficult to do. Not only to direct my peers but to dissect my story and give it over to others is a challenge but it was made easier because the story was not personal to the others, so they could offer suggestions and build the piece with me with no holding back. It also helped that I had Tamoy play me and having Anasthasia play my mum was inspired casting, she made me both laugh and cry.

I’m grateful to have worked on my story in that way. It taught that me that even little old me has something worth saying.

Anastasia later described how strong the bonds were between the group was after less than two weeks spent working together…

Departing from the Zimbabwean team was hard and upsetting but it made me realise just how strong the unity between the UK and Zimbabwean group was. Although we physically left the country, we weren’t truly saying goodbye. I like to think that no amount of land, sea or time can break apart the sisterhood made from two very different cultures of unified women formed this summer in 2017.

We shared some of the Unified Women performance in Bulwayo on the Young Vic’s instagram account. Here’s a short snippet of the sharing from our Insta story…

Keep an eye out for YV Taking Part sharing a video of the Unified Women project, and for their future workshops and productions on the YV’s Instagram and Snapchat as well as the YV Taking Part twitter.

The Unified Women project is supported by the British Council, Zimbabwe.
Many thanks to Josh, the Nhimbe Trust and our project partners, Africalia, Youth Contact Centre and Bluez Café
 for hosting us and making the trip so memorable.