|Address|| The Cut |
|Public transit|| Waterloo; Southwark |
Waterloo; Waterloo East
|Owner||The Young Vic Company|
|Type||Non-commercial resident company|
|Capacity||420 Main house|
150 Maria (studio)
70 Clare (studio)
|Rebuilt||2006: Haworth Tompkins|
The Young Victheatre is a performing arts venue located on The Cut, near the South Bank, in the London Borough of Lambeth.
The Young Vic was established by Frank Dunlop in 1970. Kwame Kwei-Armah has been Artistic Director since February 2018,succeeding David Lan.
In the period after World War II, a Young Vic Company was formed in 1946 by director George Devineas an offshoot of the Old Vic Theatre School for the purpose of performing classic plays for audiences aged nine to fifteen.
This was discontinued in 1948 when Devine and the entire faculty resigned from the Old Vic, but in 1969 Frank Dunlop became founder-director of The Young Vic theatre with Scapino, his free adaptation of Molière's The Cheats of Scapin , presented at the new venue as a National Theatre production, opening on 11 September 1970 and starring Jim Dale in the title role with designs by Carl Toms (decor) and Maria Björnson (costumes).
Initially part of the National Theatre, the Young Vic Theatre became an independent body in 1974.
In the words of Laurence Olivier, then director of the National Theatre: "Here we think to develop plays for young audiences, an experimental workshop for authors, actors and producers." The aim was to create an accessible theatre which offered high quality at low cost in an informal environment. The aim was to appeal to young audiences, but this time not specifically to children.
Frank Dunlop completed creation of the theatre venue in 1970, a breeze-block building on The Cut constructed out of a former butcher's shop and an adjacent bomb-site. It was intended to last for five years, but has become permanent.
The auditorium, with a thrust stage, has an approximate capacity of 420, although the configuration and capacity can vary depending on the design of each production.
In addition to the Young Vic's main house, there are now two smaller theatre spaces. The Maria, named after theatre designer Maria Björnson, is the larger of the two with a capacity of 150. The Clare, named after the former artistic director of the Sheffield Crucible, Clare Venables,seats 70. Like the main house, both smaller theatres have flexible seating configurations which can be arranged to suit the production design. In the two smaller auditoriums seating is usually unreserved, with the actors performing in close proximity to the audience.
The Young Vic primarily performs classic plays, but often in innovative productions. Many well-known actors have worked at the Young Vic including Ian Charleson, who made his memorable professional debut with the Young Vic 1972–74, and who played Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger and Hamlet in the first revival of Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in 1973. Others include Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Timothy Dalton, Robert Lindsay, Willard White, John Malkovich, Michael Sheen and Arthur Lowe.
Quintessential rock band The Who held free, weekly concerts at the Young Vic in early 1971 in order to rehearse what would become their masterpiece album, Who's Next . One of these shows was released on the Deluxe edition of this album.
A memorial at the theatre's south-east corner commemorates the 54 people killed in 1941 while sheltering in the cellars of the former building on the site, during the Blitz.
In 1982 the theatre hosted a Poetry Olympics, where comedian Pat Condell took part.Virginia Woolf taught at Morley College from 1905, which represented the natural precursor of the Young Vic's education and community engagement programme. The latter now runs an office which accommodates and paradoxically houses the 'homeless' Belarus Free Theatre, of Nikolai Khalezin, Natalia Koliada, inspiring a new feminist generation and aesthetic, with Sarah Kane's '4.48 Psychosis' performed underground, illegally in Minsk and Farringdon, in cold cells of Clerkenwell House of Detention, a secret location in London. Echoing the words of Woolf and mirroring her suicide, Kane's play benefitted from another feminist, Sue Emmas, who since the year 1993 has been Associate Director of the social engagement programme, working closely with Kwame Kwei-Armah and leads the Directors Program which provides initiatives for emerging directors, with emphasis on seeking out and nurturing artists from under-represented backgrounds.
In 2003, the Young Vic launched a campaign to raise £12.5 million for a major reconstruction of its building and closed in 2004 for work to start.
Designed by architects Haworth Tompkins – also known for their refurbishment of the Royal Court Theatre, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, and two temporary venues for the Almeida – and with Jane Wernick Associates as the structural engineers, and consulting engineers Max Fordham LLP designing the building services, the refurbishment was completed in October 2006.
The main auditorium has been left intact, but refurbished and technically enhanced. The butcher's shop has also been retained as the main entrance to the building and also the box office.
The remainder of the 1970s structure has been rebuilt to provide new foyers, dressing rooms, two studio theatres, and workshop spaces. An award of £5 million was received from the Arts Council of England.
The Young Vic re-opened on 11 October 2006, with a production of the community opera Tobias and the Angel ; with music by Jonathan Dove and a libretto by David Lan.
On 16 May 2007, the refurbished Young Vic won the RIBA London Building of the Year Award.Following this award, the Young Vic was also shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize on 27 July 2007.
A rebranding exercise by Sense Worldwide in 2010 resulted in the abandonment of its 30-year-old "sit anywhere" policy and a new strapline, "It's a big world in here".
The Young Vic was one of the launch theatres for Digital Theatre, a project that makes theatre productions available in video download form. The first performances that were filmed were Kafka's Monkey and The Container.
The Royal National Theatre in London, commonly known as the National Theatre (NT), is one of the United Kingdom's three most prominent publicly funded performing arts venues, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House. Internationally, it is known as the National Theatre of Great Britain. It was founded by Laurence Olivier.
Mother Courage and Her Children is a play written in 1939 by the German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956), with significant contributions from Margarete Steffin. Four theatrical productions were produced in Switzerland and Germany from 1941 to 1952, the last three supervised and/or directed by Brecht, who had returned to East Germany from the United States.
Kwame Kwei-Armah is a British actor, playwright, director, singer and broadcaster. He is best known for playing paramedic Finlay Newton in the BBC medical drama Casualty from 1999 until 2004. In 2005 he became the second black Briton to have a play staged in the West End of London. Kwei-Armah's award-winning piece Elmina's Kitchen transferred to the Garrick Theatre in 2005. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to drama. He is currently the artistic director of the Young Vic theatre in London, succeeding David Lan.
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Stephen Howard Davies, was a British theatre and television director.
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Round Heads and Pointed Heads is an epic parable play written by the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht, in collaboration with Margarete Steffin, Emil Burri, Elisabeth Hauptmann, and the composer Hanns Eisler. The play's subtitle is Money Calls to Money and its authors describe it as "a tale of horror." The play is a satirical anti-Nazi parable about a fictitious country called Yahoo in which the rulers maintain their control by setting the people with round heads against those with pointed heads, thereby substituting racial relations for their antagonistic class relations. The play is composed of 11 scenes in prose and blank verse and 13 songs. Unlike another of Brecht's plays from this period, The Mother, Round Heads and Pointed Heads was addressed to a wide audience, Brecht suggested, and took account of "purely entertainment considerations." Brecht's notes on the play, written in 1936, contain the earliest theoretical application of his "defamiliarization" principle to his own "non-Aristotelian" drama.
Elmina's Kitchen, first performed in May 2003, is the fifth play from the British actor, playwright and broadcaster, Kwame Kwei-Armah. Set in a West Indian restaurant, Elmina's Kitchen tells a tale of family, drugs and crime on Hackney's Murder Mile. The play is centred on the character of Deli, the owner of a West Indian restaurant and father to Ashley. Ashley is a misguided teen who can't help but be seduced by the gangster culture that surrounds him. Deli tries to run a successful restaurant while attempting to keep his son on the straight and narrow particularly when his son gets closer to a well-known local gangster, Digger.
Statement of Regret is a play by black British actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah. The play premiered in the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre, London, in 2007, directed by Jeremy Herrin.
William Dudley is a British theatre designer.
Paul Arditti is a British sound designer, working mainly in the UK and the US. He specialises in designing sound systems and sound scores for theatre. He has won awards for his work on both musicals and plays, including a Tony Award, an Olivier Award, a Drama Desk Award and a BroadwayWorld.com Fans' Choice Award for Billy Elliot the Musical.
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Matthew Dunster is an English theatre director, playwright and actor. He was the Associate Director of the Young Vic from 2005 to 2009 and the Associate Director of Shakespeare’s Globe from 2015 to 2017. His production of Love and Money by Dennis Kelly was nominated for the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre in 2006 and his production of Mogadishu by Vivienne Franzmann was nominated for that same award in 2012. In January 2016 Dunster was appointed as a patron to the Arts Educational Schools, London.
Eleanor Elizabeth Bamber is an English actress. In 2018, she won third prize at the Ian Charleson Awards for her 2017 performance as Hilde in The Lady from the Sea at the Donmar Warehouse. She was in Tom Ford's feature film Nocturnal Animals and the BBC One television series, Les Misérables, as Cosette, and portrayed Mandy Rice-Davies in the BBC series, The Trial of Christine Keeler.
One Love: The Bob Marley Musical previously titled Marley is a stage musical based on the life and music of Bob Marley, written by Kwame Kwei-Armah.
Olivia-Mai Barrett is an English actress, singer and dancer from London, UK. Having trained at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, she has gone on to feature in commercials (for companies such as Amazon and VO5), music videos, theatre and film and is most notable for her role of Penny in Penny on M.A.R.S. and Alex & Co. on the Disney Channel.