Theatre News

Young Vic announces Kwame Kwei-Armah's inaugural season

The venue has announced its programme for 2018 and 2019

Kwame Kwei-Armah and the Young Vic
Kwame Kwei-Armah and the Young Vic
© Dan Wooller, Turbulentium / flickr

The Young Vic has announced its 2018 and 2019 programme, the first season under new artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah.

The season will open with the Young Vic adaptation of Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub's musical Twelfth Night, which originally opened at New York's Public Theater in 2016. With music and lyrics by Taub and co-direction by Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis, the piece adds music to Shakespeare's classic.

Starring in the production will be Gabrielle Brooks as Viola, Gbemisola Ikumelo as Maria, Jonathan Livingstone as Antonio and Silas Wyatt-Barke as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. They will be joined by members of the Lambeth and Southwark community in the show. The piece runs from 2 October to 17 November.

Kwei-Armah said: " [It's] 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".

Black Panther's Danai Gurira's The Convert will be performed at the venue from 7 December to 19 January. The piece is set in Rhodesia at the end of the 19th century and explores the impacts of colonialism on black communities.

2014 JMK Award-winner Kate Hewitt will direct a new version of Stephen Adly Guirgis' Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train from 14 February to 30 March. The piece is set in a New York prison where a young man is imprisoned for murdering a cult leader.

From 15 to 25 August, Genesis Future Director Award winner Debbie Hannan will direct Naomi Wallace's Things of Dry Hours, exploring humanity and our ability to be seen differently. The show runs in the Clare Studio.

As part of a new scheme, YV Unpacked, director Caroline Byrne will oversee a new production of Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening, taking the show to venues such as refugee centres, prisons, community hubs and homeless shelters.

Speaking about the season, Kwei-Armah said: "My first season will attempt to balance the things that are important to me: joy, community, politics and these are deeply embedded in all that we do."

The Young Vic will also collaborate with the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada to present a new VR show entitled Draw Me Close, by Jordan Tannahill. A version of the piece was staged at the Tribeca Film Festival last year.

There will also be a new project entitled My England, where a series of monologues will be created across the country by playwrights, actors and directors to question what it means to be English. Those featured include Lucy J Skilbeck, Omar El-Khairy, Polly Stenham, Barrie Rutter, Jack Thorne and May Sumbwanyambe.

The venue will also offer £5 tickets to preview performances via a lottery.