The Young Vic has announced programming for the final season of work in its current building, ahead of a two-year closure for its long-planned £12.5 million makeover. The spring schedule, running from 27 February to 10 July 2004, will include the world premiere of a new play by Martin Crimp starring Kerry Fox, major revivals of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth and Joe Penhall's Some Voices, and the British debut of internationally renowned director Luc Bondy as well as a festival of work by new directors.

Opening the season in the main auditorium, artistic director David Lan directs the first London production for 50 years of The Skin of Our Teeth, running from 4 March to 10 April 2003 (previews from 27 February). Written in 1942, Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play sets the suburban New Jersey lives of George and Maggie Antrobus, their children Gladys and Henry and their maid Sabina against a vast historical backdrop. The family endures icebergs, dinosaurs, rising waters and the murderous tendencies of Henry, in an effort to assert their tenacious human spirit.

Wilder described The Skin of Our Teeth as a 'history of mankind in comic strip' and called it his most ambitious project. Directed by Laurence Olivier in 1945, the first London production starred Vivien Leigh with George Devine as George Antrobus, who will be played by David Troughton in Lan's revival. Richard Hudson designs, with lighting by Bruno Poet, sound by Paul Arditti, choreography by Kate Flatt and musical direction by Tim Sutton.

In the Studio from 17 March to 3 April 2004 (previews 12 March), actor Matthew Dunster - who last appeared on stage at the Young Vic in The Daughter in Law and is now touring in David Hare's The Permanent Way - directs the first major revival of 1994's Some Voices. Discharged from a psychiatric hospital and living in London with his brother, when Ray falls in love with Laura, he starts to wonder if the tablets he takes are really necessary. Author Joe Penhall famously went on to write the award-winning Blue/Orange, also about mental illness. The new production is designed by Anna Fleischle.

Internationally acclaimed director Luc Bondy makes his British debut in the spring with Martin Crimp's Cruel and Tender, a new version of Sophocles' darkly comic account of the abuses of war, Trachiniae. Kerry Fox (Shallow Grave, Intimacy on screen; The Maids, In Flame on stage) stars in the co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre and Wiener Festwochen, which is designed by Richard Peduzzi.

Cruel and Tender runs initially at the Young Vic from 5 to 15 May 2003 (with a press night on 13 May) before embarking on a European tour and then returning as the theatre's closing show from 17 June to 10 July 2004. During its absence, from 24 May to 12 June, the theatre will host a three-week Young Directors Festival (programme still to be confirmed).


The Young Vic also announced this week that it has received planning permission by a unanimous vote from the London Borough of Lambeth to begin its rebuild of the theatre, according to the design plans of architects Haworth Tompkins (artist's impression of new building pictured).

The theatre has already raised £4 million of the £12.5 million necessary for the project, and is hoping to secure up to a maximum of £5 million from Arts Council England (See News, 11 Sep 2003). A total of £11 million is needed by May 2004 in order to begin construction. A public fundraising campaign will be launched in February to secure the remaining funds.

All going to plan, the Young Vic will close after this forthcoming spring season, appearing in various other London venues while building work is undertaken. It is expected to reopen in autumn 2006.

- by Terri Paddock