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:




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.


Go Between at the Young Vic. Photo by Jordan Lee


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.


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.

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.

Now We Are Here Portrait - Tamara

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.

Remembering stories from The Cut

On 17 April, 1941, a bomb shelter on the former site of a baker’s shop, which is now the location of the Young Vic’s main house, suffered a direct hit. All 54 people sheltering there were killed. The youngest victim was two months. The oldest 81 years. Entire families of children, parents and grandparents. To imagine the horror of those last moments, and the grief that followed, is an impossible task, one which we had no desire – or right – to undertake. But we did want to find a way of remembering. So we started to think about all the other people who had inhabited the building over time, what patterns their footsteps made, what their legacies might have been.

People sharing stories in Platform Southwark

Local residents sharing their stories. Photo by Jerome Toole.

We wanted to acknowledge all of the echoes. The Young Vic is a living palimpsest, a re-usable manuscript. Built in a butcher’s shop next to a baker’s on top of a bomb site, it inhabits a space in the community far greater than its considerable size suggests. So we designed and built a cart. Part rag and bone, part postbox, we trundled it around the local area with artist, Anna Beecher over the course of a year. We parked it in estate courtyards, community centres, the street and our own foyer and invited local residents and people who had moved out of the area to contribute stories and memories, gradually building up a vivid picture of a changing area.

Drawings, quotes and caligraphy were hung on the walls of Platform Southwark

Visitors reading stories with designs by Anna Beecher. Photo by Jerome Toole.

On Saturday 16 April, 2016, almost 75 years to the day after the bomb hit, we gathered all of the collected postcards and created an installation that could be explored and added to. A group of five storytellers, who we had contacted and worked with over a few weeks to expand their contribution, read at the event and we played a voice recording of an 88 year old woman who moved away years ago. Stories of tailored overcoats, racial tension in the 70s, flower stalls, jellied eels and overnight cleaners at Waterloo were delivered in a celebratory atmosphere enhanced by a piano player, tea, and lots of cake. The cart we built will now live on as part of a community garden. A fitting fate for a project that was designed to commemorate past, present, and future.

The Cut sharing at Platform Southwark - stories from The Cut shared on postcards

Cut Cart postcards, each with a personal story from the area. Photo by Jerome Toole.

HumanMe – a response to the refugee crisis

Once a year our Young Associates have the opportunity to create a performance in response to a topic they want to explore. This year they chose to create something that represented the human side of the refugee crisis, going against what the stereotypical negative story of groups of migrants the media tends to portray. They created a multi-discipline performance entitled, HumanMe.

YV HumanMe rehearsal

The production featured three different elements; a short video documentary, a ‘Syrian lounge’ and a performance by a cast of 9 young people from our neighbourhood, directed by Diyan Zora and Fiona Sowole.

YV HumanMe rehearsal

The cast of 9 devised short scenes exploring new and different relationships forged between strangers as a result of the crisis. Many of the stories which featured were influenced from one of the participant’s own experiences living in Calais. The group focused on sharing stories from individual refugee’s perspectives in an attempt to humanise the crisis and the positive relationships that can form in difficult circumstances.

YV HumanMe rehearsal

The video documentary the Associates created featured two interviews with a 16 year old Syrian refugee who discussed his journey and his family who are now spread across Europe and Andrew Connolly, a journalist who helped contextualise the crisis and the issues and hardships refugees are facing day to day.

YA HumanMe - Syrian Lounge

The ground floor of the community art space Platform in Southwark was transformed into a Syrian styled lounge. The audience were invited to enjoy the space after the performance and to encourage them to talk about what they had watched over some Syrian food and music.

When asked why the refugee crisis was chosen one of the Young Associates, Fiona explained, ‘We wanted to do something that we cared about and something that was important to us. When we heard about the Good Chance Theatre closing down we knew that we wanted to express how important this crisis was to us. We care about what is going on and wanted that to show in our work.’

HumanMe was created by our four current Young Associates. Our associates are young people from Southwark who are learning the ropes for a year in different Young Vic departments, arming them with transferable skills for future employment. Our Young Associates are:

Kate Clement Production
Teniola Osholoye Finance and Fundraising
Fiona Sowole Taking Part and Directors Program
Helen Spincemaille Press & Marketing

Drag King Workshop – International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day we invited women from Southwark and Lambeth to take part in a Drag King workshop. The diverse group explored gender, stereotypes and performance and were led by director Lucy Skilbeck and Drag King performer, Louis Cyfer.

YV TP Drag Kings

Each woman created a male persona, chose a costume and a named their characters before they brought their ideas and characters to life in a small performance at the end of the day long workshop.

We chose a few of the fantastic characters from the workshop to share, along with some of the great feedback from our local participants.

YV TP Drag King - Snidey Dave
Snidey Dave
Wonderful experience. Met loads of amazing people and had a taster of walking in a man’s shoes.

YV TP Drag King-Elliot
Had lots of fun. It was nice hearing different people’s opinions and getting to work together.

YV TP Drag King - Nelson
I LOVED the dancing! It was liberating.

YV TP Drag King - Omari
It’s definitely made me think differently about gender… it’s made me think a bit more about the challenges of being a man. And a woman!

YV TP Drag King - Jose
I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s highlighted how much both genders stereotype.


If you live in Southwark or Lambeth and would like to take part in one of our upcoming workshops email twoboroughs@youngvic.org and follow Taking Part on twitter to find the latest opportunities to get involved in.

Two Boroughs Shakespeare workshop

TP m4m workshop

This week Two Boroughs participants have been given the chance to explore different approaches to putting on Shakespeare, from text to clown to design. The workshops have been led by five different practitioners including Jerwood Assistant Director, Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart (Assistant Director for our current main house show, Measure for Measure) and our associate director and Genesis Fellow, Gbolahan Obisesan.

Our participants had the chance to rehearse the opening scene from our Measure for Measure production on the stage, as well as get to grips with the stage management, sound, lighting and video elements to the show.

Participants have been drawn from across our members and include people who have been in past community shows including Flashes, The Events, The Trial, Turning a Little Further and The Brolly Project, as well as people who have never taken part in a workshops at the Young Vic before.

Find out more about Taking Part and follow @YVTakingPart for all the latest Schools, Young People and Two Boroughs activities, including our Cut Cart story collecting day.