YV takes home Best Actress and Best Revival for Yerma at the 2017 Olivier Awards

We are overjoyed and honoured to have won two Olivier Awards at this year’s ceremony. Last night the talented Billie Piper won Best Actress for her role as ‘Her’ in Yerma, with the production itself taking out Best Revival. Our congratulations go out to all the winners across the categories.

Yerma-Olivier-Winner

Following a sold out run in 2016, Yerma returns to the Young Vic this July.  The two Olivier Awards adds to Billie Piper’s previous wins for this role of; Best Actress Evening Standard Theatre Awards, Best Actress Critic’s Circle Theatre Awards and Best Actress WhatsOnStage Awards.

If you missed out on Yerma tickets for its run at the Young Vic, the production will be broadcast from 31 August by NT Live. For tickets and info, click here.

Check out some behind the scene snaps below:

Billie Piper after her Best Actress win.

Artistic Director David Lan with the Best Revival Olivier.

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Best Actress winner Billie Piper on the red carpet beforehand.

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Holly Williams in discussion with David Lan

Young Vic production ofA Midsummer Night's Dream Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins

It starts with a play – and a passion. The Young Vic may have developed a reputation as the home of so-called ‘director’s theatre’, offering radical takes on classic plays directed by the likes of Joe Hill-Gibbins, Ivo van Hove, Benedict Andrews, Carrie Cracknell and Simon Stone, but for artistic director David Lan, the really crucial component is still the play. The right director is the person who mounts a convincing case for urgently staging it right here, right now.

“What I start from is the premise that there’s no point doing the play unless we’re excited by what’s in the play,” he explains. “You’ve got to love it. With A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we’re doing it because Joe said, ‘I really really want to do it’.” It’s this compulsion to revisit a classic, looking anew at “how is this relevant now?” that often leads to the “most surprising and deep response.”

A surprising response to a well-loved play – including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its magic, fairies and romance – can raise hackles, even if it does spring from a director’s own love affair with the material.

Lan recognises that unusual stagings of classic plays make some audiences anxious.

“Part of my job is to find a way to say ‘it’s fine: it may not be exactly what you think it’s going to be, but it’s good! It’s real.  You’re not being cheated out of anything.’” Indeed, the hope is that by shaking off the shackles of over-familiarity, the play comes into a sharp new focus – as was the case with van Hove’s A View from the Bridge, Cracknell’s A Doll’s House or Stone’s Yerma.

“People say, don’t you sometimes want to get out of the way and just ‘do’ the play? But you can’t just ‘do’ the play,” Lan suggests. To him, any production is a series of choices, from what the actors bring to their parts to the visual world a designer creates. Any performance that has a director is, in a sense, director’s theatre because they guide these choices. “With any production, you’re always going to see the particular director’s take on the play; it just might not be a very interesting director!”

The notion, especially when it comes to Shakespeare, that actors should simply speak the text or trust the language is also naive. “A robot could just ‘say the words’, but an actor can’t, because they’re a human being and what they’re responding to is the meaning those words have in the situation they’re in.”

And this response can be – should be – complicated and multifaceted. If there’s one thing Lan really wants a Young Vic production to do, it’s to explore the contradictions inherent in being human, contradictions which the best dramatists reveal. They’re certainly there in Shakespeare.

Young Vic production ofA Midsummer Night's Dream Directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins

“We’re trying to say, all human life is here. And audiences feel that, they’re not patronised, the characters in this play are as complicated and complex as they are. Everybody’s life is a complete mess, everybody is going ‘god I don’t know what to do’ – and that’s in the plays. Don’t try to resolve it. Stage the contradiction.”

That means allowing the play to be complex: A Midsummer Night’s Dream might turn out to be stranger than we expect. The material shouldn’t be treated with stuffy reverence but as an obligatory dose of cultural medicine.

“It’s not to do with simplifying, or saying ‘oh this is a bit like a druggy rave so let’s get a lot of polythene…’ No bullshit, [but also] no worthiness, no saying it’s good for us.” Just the question: is there actually something there for us, today, in a certain play?

In attempting to answer this question, the Young Vic has become known for its distinctive takes on familiar works (not that, as Lan points out, the theatre would be considered radical compared to most European theatres) but while he’s “delighted that people think that if you go to the Young Vic you will get something special, or unexpected, or surprising”, he also hopes that people think of the Young Vic as a place where you still “really get the play.” That’s where it starts – and that’s where it ends, too.

By Holly Williams

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is running at the Young Vic until 1 April. Find our more about the show and book tickets here.

World premiere announced: Paul Mason’s Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere

We are delighted to announce a new show Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere by Paul Mason and directed by David Lan, which will be performed 28 – 30 March 2017 in the Young Vic’s Maria studio. Tickets are free and will be allocated by ballot. The show will be filmed and broadcast at a later date by BBC Television as part of Performance Live.

“What kind of revolution is this?”

The world premiere of a play about revolution.

This is the story of the networked generation. How did we get from the optimism of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement to Trump’s election and the dislocation of the present day?

Journalist Paul Mason teams up with Young Vic artistic director David Lan for this powerful and challenging new show based on Paul’s acclaimed book.

Performed by Paul Mason, Khalid Abdalla, Lara Sawalha and Sirine Saba in promenade with stunning video designs, the audience will interact with the company throughout the show.

Tickets for the limited run are one per person and available exclusively through our online ballot. More details below.

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The ‘How’, the Terms, and the Conditions:

  • Click through to our ballot form here to register for free tickets.
  • Fill out the required fields including which performance you would like to attend.
  • You must apply by 12pm Wednesday 22 March.
  • Winners will be contacted on Thursday 23 March by email.
  • If you don’t respond with confirmation by 12pm Friday 24 March your ticket will be assigned to another applicant.
  • If you are successful in getting a ticket, but are unable to attend the performance, the ticket is non transferable and will be assigned to another applicant.
  • You must bring photo identification with you that matches your name to the ballot entry.
  • Audience participation is a key part of the performance so please be prepared to have the company interact with you.
  • This performance is being filmed for the BBC. By ticking the filming permissions box on the ballot, you agree to be filmed for inclusion in the programme, and give all rights for use to the producers in perpetuity
  • The YV promises that you will not receive unsolicited mail by supplying your personal details.

 

11 Questions with the cast of The Bear / The Proposal – Rebecca Root

You may recognise her from Trans Scripts, The Danish Girl or Boy Meets Girl  amongst other things … It’s Rebecca Root’s 11 Questions on eating gin (eating?) and more below. 

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Rebecca Root 

1) Describe your stage presence in three emojis or words?

Spirited, unexpected, present.

2) What’s it been like working on a Young Vic Genesis show?

Hard work, exhilarating, enervating, joyful.

3) What is one thing you would like people to know about the gender-fierce*/gender queer community? 

We’re just like you.

4) What are you usually doing 10 minutes before a show begins?

Doing final checks (props, make up etc); running through a scene in my head; reciting Shakespeare’s 29th Sonnet as a personal talisman.

5) What is your favourite part of the rehearsal process?

Coming off book for the first time. Like riding a bike without stabilisers.

6) What did you want to be growing up?

A female actor.

7) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Gin. Wait, does that count? Sunday roast if not. Chicken, trimmings, the lot. And gin.

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

Doing the school nativity play when I was 4.

9) What’s your favourite play you’ve seen, read or worked on?

Hamlet.

10) If you could be a superhero who would it be and why?

Wonder Woman. Because of the pants.

11) Would you rather have the hiccups for the rest of your life, or always feel like you have to sneeze but not be able to?

Sneeze. There’s so much drama in the anticipation.

Rebecca stars in The Bear / The Proposal   which runs 15 – 25 Mar in the Young Vic’s Clare. Tickets for this production are all sold out but you are welcome to join our returns queues from an hour before each performance. Find more information on The Bear / The Proposal here