Young Vic

The Young Vic is a theatre in The Cut, located near the South Bank, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It specialises in giving opportunities to young actors and directors. The theatre is publicly subsidised and has a high artistic reputation. Playwright David Lan has been the theatre's artistic director since 2000. Its philosophy is to "produce great plays for great audiences, now and in the future".


The Young Vic's name derives from the nearby Old Vic, one of the most celebrated of London's theatres and the first home of the National Theatre.

In the period after World War II a Young Vic Company was formed in 1946 by director George Devine as 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 his free adaptation of Moliere's The Cheats of Scapino, 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 Bjornson (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.

The Young Vic Theatre

Frank Dunlop completed creation of the theatre venue in 1970, a breeze-block building in The Cut constructed out of a former butchers' 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 a capacity of around 500 but this can vary depending on the configuration of the stage for 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 Bjornson, 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 all of the Young Vic's theatres, seating is 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, Ian McKellen, Willard White, Clive Owen, and Jude Law.

Quintessential rock band The Who held free, weekly concerts at the Young Vic in order to rehearse what would become their masterpiece album, Who's Next.

A memorial in the theatre's auditorium commemorates the 54 people killed in 1941 while sheltering in the cellars of the former building on the site, during The Blitz.

Refurbishment 2004-2006

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 butchers' 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. The Stage review

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 short-listed for the RIBA Stirling Prize on 27 July 2007.


January 2008 - June 2008

by Thomas Babe.

Direction Dominic Hill. Design Giles Cadle. Lighting Bruno Poet.

by Bertolt Brecht. Translation David Harrower

Direction Richard Jones. Set Miriam Buether. Costume Nicky Gillibrand.

June 2007 - January 2008

based on the film by Alain Berliner.

Direction Pete Harris. Music Gary Yershon. Choreography Ayse Tashkiran.

by Carson McCullers.

Direction Matthew Dunster. Design Robert Innes Hopkins.

  • Fragments

by Samuel Beckett.

Direction Peter Brook.

  • The Investigation

by Peter Weiss, adapted by Jean Beaudrillard.

Direction Dorcy Rugamba and Isabelle Gyselinx. Design Fabienne Damiean.

  • The Brothers Size

by Tarell Alvin McCraney part of the Brother/Sister plays

Direction Bijan Sheibani. Design Patrick Burnier.

  • A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May

  • The Magic Flute

by Mozart adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May

October 2006 - June 2007

Music by Jonathan Dove. Words by David Lan.

Direction John Fulljames. Conductor David Charles Abell. Design Alexander Lowde.

  • Love and Money

by Dennis Kelly.

Direction Matthew Dunster. Design Anna Fleischle.

Music by Jonathan Dove. Words by Alasdair Middleton.

Directon John Fulljames. Design Dick Bird.

  • The Soldiers Fortune

by Thomas Otway.

Direction David Lan. Set Lizzie Clachan. Costumes Joan Wadge.

  • generations

by debbie tucker green.

Direction Sacha Wares. Design Miriam Buether.

  • A Respectable Wedding

by Bertolt Brecht.

Translation Rory Bremner. Direction Joe Hill-Gibbins. Design Ultz.

  • The Jewish Wife

by Bertolt Brecht.

Translation Martin Crimp. Direction Katie Mitchell. Design Hildegard Bechtler.

  • Senora Carrar's Rifles

by Bertolt Brecht.

Translation Biyi Bandele. Direction Paul Hunter. Design Robert Innes Hopkins.

  • How Much Is Your Iron?

by Bertolt Brecht.

Translation Enda Walsh. Direction Orla O'Loughlin. Design Dick Bird.

by DBC Pierre.

Adaptation Tanya Ronder. Direction Rufus Norris. Design Ian MacNeil. Costumes Nicky Gillibrand.


External links

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