★★★★“Raw and vivid” | Reviews for Start Swimming at Edinburgh Fringe

The reviews are rolling in for YV Taking Part’s Start Swimming, currently playing at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. Start Swimming has sold out to a magnificent response check out what audiences are saying and read the full reviews below.

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Start Swimming company. Photo by Helen Murray.

★★★★
“Radiates puckishness and a sense of mischief”
Time Out | Read the full review

★★★★
“The uniformly terrific cast exert themselves to their limits”
The Stage | Read the full review

★★★★
“Assured, impassioned performances… raw and vivid”
The Scotsman | Read the full review

“Terrific piece from the Young Vic Taking Part department”
The Guardian | Read more

Start Swimming is now sold out but you can contact Summerhall about returns. Created in response to Why it’s Kicking Off Everywhere, Start Swimming is the latest Young Vic Taking Part Parallel Production. Learn more about what Taking Part do. 

 

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.

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Go Between at the Young Vic. Photo by Jordan Lee

Fable

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Two weeks exploring technical theatre with YV Taking Part’s Backstage Pass

This month we’ve been delighted to have 9 young Londoners at the Young Vic learning the skills and secrets of stagecraft, as part of Taking Part’s Backstage Pass programme. Find out what they got up to below. 

Backstage Pass is a free course at the Young Vic where for two weeks we invite young Londoners to take part in exploring all aspects of technical theatre. The group spends time with the YV’s immense production team having workshops in Stage Management, Lighting, Stage, Sound, Costume and Construction. These workshops culminate in a performance of an extract of a play, professionally directed and acted, which the participants have plotted, built, designed and called.  To get a full production experience, they also stay for the ‘get-out’ immediately afterwards.

As well as their time at the Young Vic, the group went on tours and trips to other London theatres – having tours and/or seeing shows in the West End, Southwark Playhouse, National Theatre, Gate, Almeida and the Roundhouse. Our thanks to the staff at these theatres for being so generous with their time!

Daniel Harrison, who coordinated the project, said “It was really great to see the group work together, as the intricacies of their chosen area of technical theatre were interwoven to create the final piece. Lighting chatted with sound over the various cues, stage management with costume over the props used. Technical theatre does not work in silo, and the group soon learnt this, as well as discovering interests and skills that they had previously not known about. Ahmed said being Stage Manager made him ‘feel like an authority figure’ and Abdul on sound told me that he’d picked up tips to use on his own grime tracks!”

Leo Wringer and Nadia Albina in Backstage Pass’ excerpt of by Alistair McDowall, directed by Finn den Hertog. Photo by Beanie Ridler 

The Backstage Pass programme gives young Londoners an understanding of and foot-in to the professional theatre scene, not just at the Young Vic, but at venues across the capital. Not only is the course free (as are all the theatre tickets), but a travel and lunch bursary are provided to ensure that those on the course have no barrier in participating.

Backstage Pass has now finished, but will be back next year. Londoners aged 18-24 are eligible to apply. For more information please email danielharrison@youngvic.org.

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.

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

‘Mesmerising and moving performance’ of Parallel Macbeth

In January audiences saw local young people take to the stage of the Clare theatre for their Young Vic debuts. The cast of 15-19 year olds were taking on Shakespeare’s Macbeth in response to Carrie Cracknell and Lucy Guerin’s main house production.

Parallel Macbeth - Photo Helen Murray

Parallel Macbeth was performed by a group of 14 young people at the Young Vic from Jan 28th-30th. Photo by Helen Murray.

Most of the young cast were from Southwark or Lambeth London and a few are refugees who are new to the UK. The company first met director Caroline Byrne in late October 2015 and they started exploring the play and the themes of the story through workshops and movement sessions. Many of the company had never engaged with Macbeth or Shakespeare at all and most had never performed prior to this.

Parallel Macbeth Cast - Photo Helen Murray

The cast of Parallel Macbeth. Photo by Helen Murray.

Members of the cast from the Main House production of Macbeth attended the dress rehearsal of Parallel Macbeth and were blown away by what the young company had created. ‘It was an incredible performance! Feel privileged to have been there. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it’ said John Heffernan, who played Macbeth at the Young Vic. Prasanna Puwanarajah who featured as Banquo in Carrie Cracknell’s production was also very encouraging, ‘it’s as good a production of a play by Shakespeare as I’ve seen in its detail and power. Incredible, mesmerising and moving performance, filled with vivid characters moments and movements’.

Movement was key to portraying Macbeth’s downfall in this Parallel Production, similar to Cracknell’s main house version, with very little text being used in the live performance. Byrne found the creative process, ‘a joyous discovery and journey with a unique and talented group of young people’.

All of Young Vic Taking Part’s Parallel Productions are created in response to shows from the current season and are produced by professional creative teams who guide the company through workshops and rehearsals to the production, which take place in the Clare theatre.

Find out more about the work Taking Part do with young people and how you can continue to support the Young Vic’s work.

Macbeth was performed at the Young Vic from 26 Nov 2015 until 23 Jan 2016 before touring to Birmingham Rep and HOME in Manchester.

‘Shakespeare is a bit of a stirrer’ | Parallel Macbeth cast talk Shakespeare

MACBETH-PIECE

Our cast of young people from across London enjoy starting afternoon rehearsals with an impromptu rap.

Our cast of young people currently devising a response to our main house show of Macbeth spent some time talking about their experience devising with director Caroline Byrne and how incorporating choreography is changing their perspective on Shakespeare and theatre.

What are you getting out of rehearsals and the project in general?

Calum: I have been exposed to physical theatre for the first time and how you can paint a story using your body instead of using words. This is something I haven’t had experience in before and it has really opened my eyes about how you can show something without even saying anything.

Ali: This project is actually helping me work a lot easier with other people and to work within a group of completely different ages… It doesn’t matter about age or where you come from, it’s just about what you can bring to the table.

Joshua: I have been able to use my imagination to form movement and also use movement to express myself and bring my imagination to life.

What do you think about Macbeth?

Jordi: I have done Macbeth about four or five times before and what I have done is mainly scripted performance. Now that we are doing a movement piece it’s not all about learning lines, it’s using movement to create the whole performance.

Have you experienced Shakespeare before and if so, in what way/ what do you think of him?

Django: What I think is interesting is that we are creating a movement piece based on a Shakespeare play, as Shakespeare is normally based on text and is very wordy. It’s interesting because most of the movement is based on violence, death and blood but we are creating a movement piece based on the things in between; sanity and the relationships between different people.

Kieran: I think William Shakespeare is a bit of a stirrer. He makes plays to comment on what’s going on in England at the time he does that really well and he does it in an admirable way.

Jordi: William Shakespeare is a cool dude.

What are you looking forward to the most in your show?

Neuza: I am looking forward to how we have interpreted it and how we can break the Shakespeare stereotype by using movement and bring new life to Macbeth.

Leticia: I am looking forward to the performance because we see how many people think Shakespeare is boring because of the text.

What do you think of the Young Vic?

Ali: I think they are really enthusiastic about young people and try to get fresh new ideas. It’s a really good and comfortable place to be in. Every time I come here I am really welcomed and people are really nice to me. It’s a really lovely place.

Kieran: Very nice place, five out of five stars

Our Parallel Macbeth will be shared with an invited audience in January 2015. To find out more about our Parallel Macbeth production and the young people involved take a look at our blog post.