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Casting Announced for Danai Gurira’s The Convert

Danai Gurira
Letitia Wright

Letitia Wright

Letitia Wright will play the role of Jekesai/Ester in the Young Vic production of Black Panther co-star, and Tony nominated writer Danai Gurira‘s The Convert.

She is cast alongside Paapa Essiedu (RSC Hamlet) who plays Chilford, and Ivanno Jeremiah (Humans) taking on the role of Chancellor.

 Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira

Further casting includes: Jude Akuwudike (Uncle); Rudolphe Mdlongwa (Tamba); Pam Nomvete (Mai Tamba). The casting of the role of Prudence will be announced at a later date.

Directed by Ola Ince The Convert, set in 1896 in what is modern day Zimbabwe, explores if faith has a cost and if so, when that cost is too much. Jekesai, a young Shona woman fleeing forced marriage finds herself working for devout Catholic priest, Chilford. He relishes the opportunity to shape his new convert but Jekesai’s salvation has a price.

Casting announced for Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s musical reworking of Twelfth Night

Kwame Kwei Armah
Kwame Kwei Armah

Kwame Kwei Armah

Today casting is announced for Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s musical reworking of Twelfth Night. The Young Vic production is set in London’s Notting Hill.

Casting is as follows:
Melissa Allen (Feste) 
Gabrielle Brooks (Viola)
Gerard Carey (Malvolio)
Natalie Dew (Olivia)
Martyn Ellis (Sir Toby Belch) 
Gbemisola Ikumelo (Maria)
Jyuddah Jaymes (Sebastian)
Jonathan Livingstone (Antonio)
Silas Wyatt-Barke (Andrew Aguecheek) 
Rupert Young (Orsino)

The professional cast will perform alongside a community chorus of 60 members from Southwark and Lambeth. The chorus will be divided into two teams of 30.
 

Twelfth Night set design is by Rob Jones, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Richard Brooker, choreography by Lizzi Gee and musical direction by Sean Green. Casting by Pippa Ailion, CDG.Twelfth Night was originally performed at The Public Theater in New York as part of their Public Works program in 2016, and revisited this summer as part of their free Shakespeare in the Park Delacorte season. Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater, is co-directing with Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Full cast biographies available on the Young Vic blog here.

Twelfth Night
Tuesday 2 October – Saturday 17 November 2017
Main House, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Press Night: Monday 8 October at 7:00pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm
Access Performances:
Captioned Performance: Thursday 1 November at 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Wednesday 7 November at 2.30pm
Tickets:
Previews 2 – 6 October £10, £20, £25| 9 October – 17 November £10, £20, £30, £40
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

The Jungle Holds Performance in Recognition of World Refugee Day

Nahel Tzegai Helene and Sara Mokonen Rahel in The Jungle West End. C
Nahel Tzegai Helene and Sara Mokonen Rahel in The Jungle West End. C

Nahel Tzegai Helene and Sara Mokonen Rahel in The Jungle West End. Credit Marc Brenner

The Jungle, currently in previews at the Playhouse Theatre, will today recognise World Refugee Day with all tickets to the evening performance offered to refugee charities, arts partners and guests from the cultural sphere. The production is set in Europe’s largest unofficial refugee camp, the Calais Jungle, which in 2015, became a temporary home for more than 10,000 people. A National Theatre and Young Vic co-production with Good Chance Theatre, The Jungle is written by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson and directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin. It transfers to the West End, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Tom Kirdahy and Hunter Arnold following a sell-out run at the Young Vic in December 2017.

Refugee Week is the UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees and celebrates its 20th anniversary between 18 and 24 June 2018. For two decades, the festival has brought together people of all backgrounds to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and the welcome offered to them by British communities.  For this year’s World Refuge Week people are invited to celebrate Refugee Week’s 20th anniversary by doing one of 20 Simple Acts, which are simple actions everyone can do to stand with refugees and bring people together in their communities.   Thousands of people are expected to join Refugee Week’s 20th anniversary celebrations at hundreds of arts, cultural and educational activities across the UK.

The first footage was today released of the newly revamped Playhouse Theatre, where the traditional proscenium theatre has undergone an unprecedented transformation, unlike anything seen in a West End venue before. The stalls have been reconfigured to house Miriam Buether’s critically-acclaimed set design as seen at the Young Vic, where audiences are invited to sit at the benches and tables of the Afghan café in the Calais camp. The Playhouse Theatre also offers the new experience of watching from the Dress Circle, which has been renamed “Cliffs of Dover”. Whilst the circle will retain its traditional theatre seating, the unique and intimate experience is unlike anything regular Playhouse Theatre attenders have had before, with views over the dramatically transformed performance space below, which extends beyond the proscenium arch and over the stalls, enhanced by accompanying video screens, relaying close-up ‘live news broadcast’ style footage of some of the action. The in-the-round transformation reduces the capacity of the theatre to under 450 seats. Top price tickets are directly enabling 40% of the house to be priced at £25 and under, and a proportion of tickets will be held off sale to be offered to refugees and targeted groups in order to maximise diversity and accessibility. Bucket collections and donation stations are available at every single performance of the show.

This is the place where people suffered and dreamed.  Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of the Jungle – just across the Channel, right on our doorstep. The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction. Join the residents over freshly baked naan and sweet milky chai at the Afghan Café, and experience the intense, moving and uplifting encounters between refugees from many different countries and the volunteers who arrived from the UK.

Official charity partner, Help Refugees, which was established alongside the Good Chance Theatre in the Calais Jungle in 2015, and is now the leading UK NGO in a new movement of International humanitarian aid, is supported by the production.

The company is made up of actors from around the world, cast are from Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, England, Zimbabwe, Syria, Armenia, Congo, Wales, Scotland, The Gambia, Morocco, Lebanon and Germany.

Following its West End run at the Playhouse Theatre, The Jungle will have its American Premiere at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY, beginning December 4, 2018.

Sonia Friedman Productions and Tom Kirdahy, Hunter Arnold present A National Theatre and Young Vic Co-Production with Good Chance Theatre.

LISTINGS

Sonia Friedman Productions and Tom Kirdahy, Hunter Arnold

in association with Elizabeth Dewberry & Ali Ahmet Kocabiyik, Paula Marie Black, Michael Desantis, Tulchin Bartner Productions, 1001 Nights Productions, Rupert Gavin, Brenda Leff, Stephanie P. Mcclelland, Richard Winkler, Jane Cee & Glenn Redbord present

National Theatre and Young Vic co-production with Good Chance Theatre

THE JUNGLE
by Joe Murphy & Joe Robertson
Directed by Stephen Daldry & Justin Martin
Set Miriam Buether
Costumes Catherine Kodicek
Lighting Jon Clark
Sound Paul Arditti

Musical Direction / Composition John Pfumojena
Video Duncan McLean and Tristan Shepard
Casting Julia Horan CDG
Executive Producer David Lan

The Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5DE

First performance: Saturday 16 June
Final performance: Saturday 3 November
Opening Night: Thursday 5 July

Monday to Saturday evenings, 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinees, 2.30pm

Box office: 0844 871 7631 Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge

Groups Bookings: 020 7206 1174

Access Bookings: 0800 912 6971
www.thejungleplay.co.uk

Prices from £15

Twitter: @TheJungleLDN
Facebook: @TheJungleLDN
Instagram: @TheJungleLDN
#TheJungleWestEnd

 

Kwame Kwei-Armah announces first season as Artistic Director at Young Vic

Kwame Kwei Armah
Kwame Kwei Armah

Kwame Kwei Armah

  • A musical adaptation of Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s Twelfth Night
  • Black Panther’s Danai Gurira’s play The Convert
  •  Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train  by Stephen Adly Guirgis to be directed by Winner Kate Hewitt
  •  Genesis Future Director Award Winner announced as Debbie Hannan who will direct Things of Dry Hours by Naomi Wallace in the Clare
  • A new strand of work, YV Unpacked, taking the highest quality theatre to the community
  • Digital project My England, a celebration of Englishness from playwrights across the country
  • The Young Vic to host VR experience Draw Me CloseNational Theatre and National Film Board of Canada production
  • Crying in the Wilderness to join the Young Vic as new Associate Company
  • Initial casting for Twelfth Night is also announced: Gabrielle Brooks as Viola; Gbemisola Ikumelo as Maria; Jonathan Livingstone as Antonio and Silas Wyatt-Barke as Sir Andrew Aguecheek
  •  £5 First Previews announced – all Main House show first preview tickets will be sold at just £5 via a TodayTix lottery 
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, said:
 The Young Vic as a producing theatre has become synonymous with staging international works created by some of the world’s finest directors, performers and creatives; productions and projects that say something about the world that we live in. My first season as Artistic Director will attempt to balance on those shoulders the things that are important to me: joy, community, politics and these are deeply embedded in all that we do.

That’s why the musical reworking of Twelfth Night – that I previously directed at The Public Theater in New York – is the show that I have chosen to kick-start my tenure with. A show that stands community members shoulder to shoulder with professional artists, it’s filled with joyful, soulful music by Shaina Taub; it’s a celebration.

After this we will see Danai Gurira’s The Convert and Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Trainboth, in my opinion, modern classics one portraying Rhodesia 1896 and the other prison in Rikers Island. Both plays ripe for interpretation by some of the most interesting young directors in the country.

Alongside these productions, today we announce two projects that will develop throughout the year. My England: a series of monologues from across England created by playwrights, actors and directors telling us how they define “Englishness” in our potentially fractious society. Through this we are committing to pushing the boundaries further, taking theatre outside our four walls and performing the highest quality shows in prisons, community hubs and centres across London. The first of these shows, Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, looks at the sexually oppressive culture of Germany in the nineteenth century.”

MAIN HOUSE

Twelfth Night
by William Shakespeare
Conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub
Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis
Tuesday 2 October – Saturday 17 November 2018
Press Night: Monday 8 October 2018

A Young Vic adaptation of Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s Twelfth Night, originally performed at The Public Theater in New York as part of their Public Works program in 2016, and revisited this summer as part of their free Shakespeare in the Park Delacorte season.

This musical reworking of Shakespeare’s comedy with music and lyrics by critically acclaimed songwriter Shania Taub, will be designed for the Young Vic stage by Rob Jones with Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater, co-directing with Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Initial casting includes: Gabrielle Brooks as Viola; Gbemisola Ikumelo as Maria; Jonathan Livingstoneas Antonio and Silas Wyatt-Barke as Sir Andrew Aguecheek.. These professional artists will perform alongside community members from Southwark and Lambeth in this classic tale of love and disguise.

The Convert
by Danai Gurira
Main House Friday 7 December 2018 – Saturday 19 January 2019
Press Night: Friday 14 December

Black Panther star and Tony-nominated writer Danai Gurira’s striking play explores the impact of colonialism and Catholicism on black identity.

Set in 1896 Rhodesia, a young girl is taken into the household of a black Roman Catholic missionary, escaping a forced marriage at the cost of leaving behind her family and converting to Catholicism.

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train
by Stephen Adly Guirgis directed by Kate Hewitt
Thursday 14 February – Saturday 30 March 2019
Press Night: Wednesday 20 February 2019

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Motherfucker with the Hat) Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train takes places in a prison in Rikers Island New York. A frightened young man accused of murdering a cult leader is confronted with a charismatic born-again serial killer and a sadistic guard. Will one man’s redemption lead to another’s damnation?

Originally directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, this adaption will be directed by Kate Hewitt, winner of the JMK Award 2014.

CLARE STUDIO

Things of Dry Hours
by Naomi Wallace and directed by 2018 Genesis Future Director Award Winner Debbie Hannan
Wednesday 15 August – Saturday 25 August 2018

2018 Genesis Award winner Debbie Hannan directs this tantalizing, poetic play. Weaving the spiritual into the political, Things of Dry Hours interrogates the idea that humans cannot change; are we really all that black and white?

Due to the nature of the Genesis Future Director Award, there will be no press night performance. 

WORK BEYOND THE STAGE


 YV Unpacked is a new strand of work, taking the highest quality theatre to people who do not normally think that theatre is for them. We will be taking shows to refugee centres, prisons, community hubs and homeless shelters as part of this work. The first work to be taken out to the community is: Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, directed Caroline Byrne.
My England is a celebration of playwrights from across regions of England. The works look at what it means to be English. Monologues will be recorded and shown on the Young Vic social media channels.

Confirmed commissions include work from: Lucy J Skilbeck, Omar El-Khairy, Polly Stenham, Barrie Rutter, Jack Thorne and May Sumbqanyambe.

Draw Me Close by Jordan Tannahill is a preview of the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada production, presented by Young Vic. Draw Me Close blurs the worlds of live performance, virtual reality and animation to create a vivid memoir about the relationship between a mother and her son in the wake of her terminal-cancer diagnosis.
 Crying in the Wilderness Productions join the Young Vic as an Associate Company. Crying in the Wilderness Productions is dedicated to producing groundbreaking productions which are anchored to an intercultural philosophical practice. They have produced work in collaboration with the Bush Theatre, Arcola Theatre and at Stratford Circus Theatre.

Young Vic announces casting for Fun Home

fun home
fun home

fun home

Director Sam Gold makes his Young Vic debut with the five-time Tony award-winning musical Fun Home. Casting includes: Kaisa Hammarlund as Alison; Eleanor Kane as Medium Alison; Jenna Russell as Helen; Ashley Samuels as Roy, Mark and Jeremy; Cherrelle Skeete as Joan and Zubin Varla as Bruce, Alison’s father.

The production is produced in association with Sonia Friedman Productions, Fox Theatricals and Barbara Whitman.

Casting for Small Alison, John and Christian will be confirmed at a later date.

Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s celebrated 2006 graphic novel, made a sensational debut at The Public Theater in New York in October 2013, followed by a triumphant Broadway run and a successful US National tour.

Fun Home explores the memories of Alison’s uniquely complicated family at three different stages in her life – her volatile, brilliant, enigmatic father, mother and brothers – that connect with her in surprising new ways. Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

Choreography is by Danny Mefford, set and costume design by David Zinn, light by Ben Stanton, sound by Kai Harada, music supervision by Chris Fenwick, music direction by Nigel Lilley and casting by Julia Horan CDG. The Associate Director is Portia Krieger. The Jerwood Assistant Director is Leo J Skilbeck. This role is supported through the Jerwood Assistant Director Program at the Young Vic.

This is the final show in David Lan’s last season as Artistic Director of the Young Vic.

Fun Home runs from 18 June – 1 September 2018 in the Young Vic’s Main House.   

West End transfer announced for The Jungle

The Jungle at the Young Vic.
The Jungle at the Young Vic.

The Jungle at the Young Vic. Credit David Sandison

Following universal critical acclaim, and a sold-out run at the Young Vic, producers Sonia Friedman Productions, Tom Kirdahy andHunter Arnold have announced the West End transfer of the National Theatre and Young Vic co-production with Good Chance Theatre of Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson’s The Jungle, directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin. The production is set in Europe’s largest unofficial refugee camp, the Calais Jungle, which in 2015, became a temporary home for more than 10,000 people.  Previewing from 16 JuneThe Jungle will have an Opening Night on 5 July at the Playhouse Theatre. The first wave of tickets will go on general sale on 15 March.

The Jungle will transfer to the Playhouse Theatre in the West End, where the traditional proscenium theatre will undergo a remarkable transformation. The auditorium stalls will be completely reconfigured to house Miriam Buether’s critically-acclaimed set design as seen at the Young Vic, where audiences were invited to sit at the benches and tables of the Afghan café in the Calais camp. The Dress Circle will be renamed “Cliffs of Dover” and will allow unique views over the performance space, which extends out beyond the proscenium arch and over the stalls. This in-the-round transformation will reduce the capacity of the theatre to 450 seats, to more closely recreate the intimate and immediate experience audiences had at the Young Vic. Top price tickets are directly enabling 40% of the house to be priced at £25 and under, and a proportion of tickets will be held off sale to be offered to refugees and targeted groups in order to maximise diversity and accessibility.

This is the place where people suffered and dreamed.  Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of the Jungle – just across the Channel, right on our doorstep. The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction. Join the residents over freshly baked naan and sweet milky chai at the Afghan Café, and experience the intense, moving and uplifting encounters between refugees from many different countries and the volunteers who arrived from the UK.

The majority of the original cast will transfer with the production, including actors from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through the Jungle.  The full cast includes: Ammar Haj Ahmad, Mohammad Amiri, Girum Bekele, Elham Ehsas, Trevor Fox, Moein Ghobsheh, Ansu Kabia, Alex Lawther, John Pfumojena, Rachel Redford, Rachid Sabitri, Mohamed Sarrar, Ben Turner and Nahel Tzegai.

Official charity partner, Help Refugees, will be supported by the production, with fundraising efforts taking place at the venue throughout the entire run.

Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy said: The Jungle was a reluctant home for thousands of people from all over the world. It was a place where people built temporary lives and communities formed out of necessity. People who visited asked why we built a theatre in a refugee camp, but it’s always seemed clear to us that theatre should be at the centre of the conversation. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring this play to new audiences and to the West End, in a totally transformed Playhouse Theatre, a stone’s throw from Parliament. The metamorphosis of the Playhouse is a bold statement: that we need new spaces for this conversation to happen, and that the stories of the people in this play belong on our most significant stages.”

Josie Naughton, CEO, Help Refugees said: “Help Refugees is honoured to be the charity partner for the West End run of The Jungle. We have worked with Good Chance since we first met in Calais in 2015, where their theatre provided camp residents with a vital outlet for self-expression. We are excited that in addition to having local social impact, funds will be raised to actively support displaced people in the UK and in Calais. In northern France, there are currently more than 1,000 people sleeping in the forests with no shelter from the rain and snow, with limited access to drinking water, showers and toilets, with no access to safe and legal routes to sanctuary and no opportunity to learn, work and start a new life. Our teams and our partners are still working tirelessly to provide for people’s basic needs, including food, shelter, information and protection.”

Rufus Norris, Director of National Theatre said: Having visited the Calais Jungle at the end of 2015 it felt incredibly important to tell this story. Joe and Joe’s script together with Stephen and Justin’s production perfectly captures the lives of so many individuals caught up in an impossible situation. The Jungle is an unforgettable experience which is both powerful and moving, and it is wonderful that it has now found a home in the West End.”

David Lan said: “It was clear from the start that The Jungle would be one of the most provocative and significant shows we’ve produced.  It tells a powerful real-life story that matters hugely to everyone.  It’s created and performed in an enthrallingly inventive way by some of those who lived it. Those who saw it at the Young Vic said they’d never seen anything like it – and that it was as if they’d been on the journey of a lifetime.  I’m delighted it will now be seen by so many more.”

Sonia Friedman said: “Sometimes plays have to respond to a space. Here, thanks to the commitment of all involved, the space has responded to the work. Experiencing The Jungle at the Young Vic was extremely powerful. Audiences were plunged emotionally and physically into the world of the camp in Calais – a place I visited several times – and the combination of the setting, extraordinary performances and storytelling was a real a sucker punch. I am therefore so happy that we have found a way to transport the world and atmosphere of the play to the West End in a unique and intimate way. The West End needs productions like The Jungle and we have created a democratic pricing structure that allows, I hope, a wide range of people to see it, and to take part in the debate it provokes.”

Sonia Friedman Productions and Tom Kirdahy, Hunter Arnold present A National Theatre and Young Vic Co-Production with Good Chance Theatre.

Mental health in millenials is examined in new play at Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Breathe by Lucrezia Pollice
Breathe by Lucrezia Pollice

Breathe by Lucrezia Pollice

New play Breathe, after readings at the Young Vic and scratch night performances at the Bread and Roses, is staged in a full production at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre this February. The play tackles the thorny issue of mental health amongst millenials trying to make their way in life.

“ambitious (…) I look forward to see the (full production)” The Blog of Theatre Things

Breathe pans across the struggles of four housemates living in London trying to successfully accomplish their dreams. Personal secrets, fears and dreams emerge as their lives intertwine, revealing the importance of human connection and friendship in the face of anxiety and depression. Will they choose security or transform their fears into fuel to conquer their dreams?

Writer Lucrezia Pollice is a freelance theatre & film director and producer based in London. After training as an actor at the famous Italian drama school Paolo Grassi Academy and the RADA foundation course at CSVPA, Lucrezia graduated with a First Honours Degree from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education – focusing her degree on Directing, Producing and Playwrighting. She recently produced and directed the critically acclaimed short documentary IDENTITY ,which premiered at the United Nations WTPFilm Festival at the BFI Southbank. She will soon be producing and directing a documentary short film for Westminster Council.

Producer Aretusa Campagnolo worked as an assistant producer for MDA Contemporary Dance Company and as an executive producer for RedWedge Srl, a film production company based in Rome. She moved to the UK to undertake a Master’s degree in Culture, Policy and Management at City University of London, where she graduated in October 2017. Prior to moving into assisting in producing Metal Rabbit Productions in  2017, she interned as a Company Administrator for circus company Gandini Juggling.

Lucrezia Pollice and Aretusa Campagnolo present:
BREATHE
February 1st 2018 –  February 2nd 2018, 7.30pm, The Lion and Unicorn Theatre
Press Night: February 1st 2018, 7.30pm

The Inheritance cast announced including Vanessa Redgrave, John Benjamin Hickey and Kyle Soller

The Inheritance
 
The Inheritance

The Inheritance

Young Vic has announced casting for The Inheritance, a major world premiere in two parts: 
Andrew Burnap (Toby)

John Benjamin Hickey (Henry)
Samuel H. Levine (Adam/Leo)
Kyle Soller (Eric)

With Hugo Bolton, Robert Boulter, Hubert Burton, Syrus Lower, Michael Marcus, Luke Thallon and Michael Walters.

Vanessa Redgrave plays the role of Margaret.

The Inheritance gives a panoramic view of gay life in New York City today, a generation after the height of the AIDS crisis.

Of those fears, that activism, the new communities and the new kinds of isolation, what has survived? And what does the experience of the plague years mean to the young, overflowing with life, looking for love?

Due to demand extra performances have been added.

This production is supported by Nattering Way LLC and Sonia Friedman Productions Ltd.

This new play in two parts by Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man, The Newsroom, The Legend of Georgia Mcbride) is directed by Stephen Daldry (The Jungle, An Inspector Calls, Billy Elliot, The Hours and The Reader). Design is by Bob Crowley (An American in Paris, Skylight and Aladdin) with light by Jon Clark, sound by Paul Arditti and Chris Reid, UK casting by Julia Horan CDG and US casting by Jordan Thaler CSA & Heidi Griffiths CSA.

Justin Martin is Associate Director. The Jerwood Assistant Director is Sadie Spencer. This role is supported through the Jerwood Assistant Director Program at the Young Vic.

The Inheritance 

by Matthew Lopez
direction Stephen Daldry

Main House 

Friday 2 March – Saturday 19 May 2018
Press Day Wednesday 28 March 2018

Casting Announced for The Brothers Size

Sope Dirisu
Sope Dirisu

Sope Dirisu

Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney was an unknown writer when The Brothers Size was first seen at the Young Vic in 2007. Today casting for the highly-anticipated revival from the Evening Standard Award-Winning writer is announced:

After playing Coriolanus at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sope Dirisu plays eldest brother Ogun. Jonathan Ajayi plays younger brother Oshoosi, reunited with Ogun after a spell in prison. Both make their Young Vic debuts.

Finally, Anthony Welsh returns to the role of Elegba, Oshoosi’s ex-cell mate who tempts him back to his life of crime. Anthony originally performed this role during the 2008 revival of The Brothers Size at the Young Vic and UK tour in the same year.

Bijan Sheibani returns to direct this deeply moving fable following his hit production of The Barbershop Chronicles at the National Theatre.

The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney is directed by Bijan Sheibani, designed by Patrick Burnier with live music and sound design by Manuel Pinheiro. A co-production with Actors Touring Company.

It runs from 19 January 2018 – 14 February 2018 in the Young Vic’s Main House.

There will be a Jerwood Assistant Director working with Bijan Sheibani The Brothers Size. The role is supported through the Jerwood Assistant Directors Program at the Young Vic.

Cast biographies can be found on the Young Vic blog here.

Listings

The Brothers Size

19 January 2018 – 14 February 2018
Main House, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LZ
Press Night: Friday 26 January 2018, 7.00pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm | Matinees on Wednesday & Saturday (except 20, 24, 27 January)
Access Performances
Captioned Performance: Thursday 8 February at 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Thursday 6 February at 7.30pm
Tickets: Previews 19 – 25 January £20, £10 | 27 January – 14 February £38, £29, £20, £10
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922
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Playwright, Elinor Cook interview: “If the dudes are pitching great plays — then those of us who aren’t the white men need go in there and nail those commissions.”

Elinor Cook is not some no-frills interviewee. My time with the feisty young playwright involved her batting my base level questions politely, while occasionally pouring herself a glass of water.

image

Elinor Cook

Not having arrived today with any sort of agenda, we simply had a chat. She tells me that yesterday she had an ‘impromptu Mexican dinner’ with the Lady From The Sea cast and Kwame Kwei-Armah to celebrate his recent appointment as Artistic Director of the Young Vic. ‘FYI’ she had pan-seared tuna tacos and a beer… And a margarita. “Two drinks — Mexican appropriate,” she says, laughing.

Her new version of The Lady From The Sea, directed by Kwei-Armah opens at the Donmar tonight. Ibsen’s play encompasses those familiar Ibsen themes: obligation, accountability, the role of women and how the past impinges on the future. How has she found adapting such a classic text? “I’ve found it a complete joy,” says Cook. “I’ve loved it and I definitely want to do more of this sort of thing because there is something about having the map in place. It’s gone through a couple of permutations in terms of the setting of it. The first draft was all set contemporary, in time of the second draft we had a conversation and decided it would be more helpful to make it post-colonial and that mirroring Ellida’s own restless and need to be independent herself.”

395439_770_preview.jpg

The Lady From The Sea at The Donmar Warehouse

Cook is revelling the opportunity to work with the new Artistic Director of the Young Vic. “He has this ability to facilitate an incredibly open rehearsal room,” she says, smiling. “He’s able to make people trust him and each other. There’s a beautiful lightness and airiness with the work and with what is happening on stage and it’s all there because of his attention to detail. He’s really big on psychology and emotion and my God you can really see that. It’s just extraordinary. He’s incredibly generous and honest.”

Every Playwright has a unique approach to writing. Where does she work best? “I work in the library – I go to the Wellcome Collection Library, which I’d highly recommend as a place to work,” she says. “I try and do a full work day because I need the structure and just to have other people around. It’s nice to feel that you are part of something.”

We talk about the lack of female writers on our biggest stages. “You can’t ignore that conversation because everyone’s having it”, she shrugs when I suggest that the scenario is not exactly ideal. “It does anger me, but I’m reluctant to go: ‘The reason it’s taken me 10 years is because I am a woman.’ However, I am conscious of the fact that I am white, privileged and straight. I think it’s more about how you get into those rooms in the first place.”

Not, she hastens to add, that she’s had it easy. “As someone who’s had every opportunity, but struggled so much with confidence for a long time and that feeling that I didn’t know how to hold my own in the room the way my male counterparts did. I wrestled with the feeling that at any second I’d be chucked out because I had nothing of interest to say.”

How can we ensure a real shift toward gender equality? “It starts before the theatres are making those decisions,” she says.

“If the dudes are pitching great plays — then those of us who aren’t the white men need to make sure that we are enabled to go in there and nail those commissions. There are so many reasons why I would struggle to pitch something and if I find it hard then how hard would those who hadn’t had those privileges and opportunities to get on?”

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Out of Love – Paines Plough

Does she feel obliged to write about politics, I ask. “The whole gesture of playwriting is political in itself,” she states. “With a play like Out of Love, I wanted to write something very human, getting to the complexity of the relationship between two women. I wanted to excavate something that I hoped would touch people on a human level. If you succeed with something like that then you are asking the audience for their imagination and empathy. In this increasingly fractured world, where the divisions are widening, if we are not able to imagine what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes then we are kind of doomed.”

She continues: “A political play doesn’t have to be one set in the House of Commons, it can be perceived to be a smaller beast. My play Image of An Unknown Woman is my most overtly political play because it directly critiques a repressive regime and questions democracy. But I’d argue that Pilgrims or Out of Love, which are smaller in scale are political in a different way.”

Cook talks of the lucky opportunities that have come her way and in particular the pace at which she has progressed. “There’s something about being the age I am now and my career taking off that feels really right. I’m not sure I would have been prepared for the opportunities had I been younger… I was so crippled with a lack of self-confidence and self-consciousness… It was challenging.”

And now, following a storming debut at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Out of Love is on tour as part of Paines Plough’s pop-up space, the Roundabout. The play is a comic exploration of female friendship spanning 30 years. What are the challenges of writing for such a unique performance space? “When you are writing for Roundabout the work has to have a universality to it – it has to have something that is going to resonate in Poole and in Stoke and in Darlington or Edinburgh,” she says. “There is something about that space; being in the round and with no props. It demands a particular kind of playwriting, it has to be very front-footed. It has to be very clear about what it is from very early on.”

She looks to Tamara Harvey, Amelia Sears and Charlotte Gwinner, particularly at the start of her career, for inspiration. “I’ve had really great relationships with directors. The first skill of a director if they read a draft and are able to help you as the writer really get to the nub of what you have to say.”

Today, she is honest about her commitments beyond The Lady From The Sea. “I’m at that glorious stage where I don’t know what the next project is,” she says, with a glint in her eye.

“I am looking forward to being able to see where my brain takes me and where the world takes me. I’d love to do more adapting and having written two very intimate plays with Pilgrims and Out Of Love, I’d love to go back to a bigger Image Of An Unknown Young Woman size cast and with international heft. But what that actually is I don’t know and that’s really exciting!”

The Lady From The Sea is at the Donmar, London, until 2 December. Box office: 0844 871 7624.

Out Of Love is currently on a UK Tour as part of Paines Plough’s pop-up theatre Roundabout.