At a press conference held at the South Bank theatre today - before it closes its doors on Saturday (10 July 2004) after 34 years in the building meant to last a maximum of five years - artistic director David Lan (pictured) announced details of the first “Walkabout” season, saying: “We thought if we couldn’t be here, we’d be everywhere.”
Produced in partnership with a host of other companies, the schedule features the modern chamber opera Tobias and the Angel along with reprisals of five previous Young Vic hits which, says Lan, “we believe there is more audience for”. They are: the dark Christmas show Sleeping Beauty, Lorraine Hansberry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American play A Raisin in the Sun, Theatre Vesturport’s Romeo and Juliet and, as previously announced, Langston Hughes’ musical Simply Heavenly and the theatre’s current production of Cruel and Tender.
At today’s event, Lan also announced that Cruel and Tender’s Luc Bondy, the internationally renowned Swiss theatre and opera director, has been appointed an associate director, to advise on the Young Vic repertoire, form more international links (such as with the Vienna Festival, of which he’s artistic director) and occasionally direct new productions.
The Young Vic company – both creative and administrative staff – will remain intact throughout the Walkabout. From next week, they’ll be based in Kennington Park, south London, at ITV’s five rehearsal studios, which have been donated free of charge by the television company.
Construction on the 21st-century Young Vic starts later this month and is due to be completed by autumn 2006. The new building, designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects, will retain the renowned semi-in-the-round auditorium and the original butchers’ shop, which currently serves as a foyer, albeit with improvements. Two smaller studios will be built to its west for rehearsals and performances. The rest of the site will be razed to make way for new facilities, including expanded offices, dressing rooms, a terrace and more public spaces.
Since launching its high-profile fundraising campaign, led by screen star Jude Law, in February (See News, 10 Feb 2004), the Young Vic has raised £1.5 million on top of the £10 million already gathered from public and private sources, including £5 million from the National Lottery and £1 million from chairman Patrick McKenna. Options for public donations to the rebuild campaign include naming opportunities (starting with a toilet for £2,500) and buying permanent seats in the auditorium (£1,000). For further information and to make a pledge, visit the Young Vic website.
- by Terri Paddock
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