Actors Jude Law and Helen McCrory (pictured together) joined Young Vic artistic director David Lan at the venue in Waterloo yesterday (22 June 2005) to celebrate the half-way mark in the two-year redevelopment of the building and a grant from the London Development agency of £500,000.

The grant was announced at the 'topping out' ceremony, which was led by chief patron of the fundraising initiative Jude Law and which marked the completion of the Young Vic’s new auditorium. Other grants have been awarded by Arts Council England, the National Lottery, Waterloo Project Boards, and various trusts, foundations and individual supporters.

One fundraising scheme allows supporters to buy a seat, which will have their name on it, for the new auditorium at a cost of £1,000. So far, 138 seats have been sold, many to actors, including Patrick Stewart, Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis and Clive Owen, as well as Law and McCrory.

There is now only £600,000 left to raise for the £12.5 million rebuild, designed by architects Haworth Tompkins and built by Verry Construction Ltd. The South Bank venue, which was originally erected 34 years ago to last a maximum of five years, plans to reopen in September 2006 following completion of the building by March next year.

Speaking at yesterday’s event, Lan said: “It’s a thrilling moment for us and for British theatre. It means that the world renowned Young Vic auditorium and company are not just of the past and of the present but also of the future.”

Though the Young Vic’s semi-in-the-round main auditorium will remain, it will be made more technically sound and versatile, with an increased capacity of up 600 (as opposed to 350-450 in previous configurations). The plans also include the creation of two new studios, a workshop, terrace spaces and expanded offices, dressing rooms and public foyers.

Helen McCrory, who is currently starring in Lan’s West End production of As You Like It with Law’s fiancée Sienna Miller, said yesterday: “It is important that theatres are new and interesting spaces… I expect great things.”


Jude Law, Helen McCrory & Young Vic executive director Kevin Fitzmaurice at the topping out

Young Vic artistic director David Lan overseeing construction at the topping out