Young Vic

Young Vic

66 The Cut, WaterlooLondonSE1 8LZ
Nearest Tube
Waterloo/Southwark
Nearest Train
Waterloo/Waterloo East

Young Vic, London

**The Young Vic, London**

The Young Vic is a theatre on The Cut, located near the South Bank, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It specialises in giving opportunities to young actors and directors. The 550 seat theatre is publicly subsidised and has a high artistic reputation. British actor, playwright, director and broadcaster, Kwame Kwei-Armah was appointed Artistic Director of the Young Vic in 2018, the first person of African-Caribbean descent to lead a major British theatre. Kwei-Armah used 60 members of the local community in the chorus and main acting company in Twefth Night, his first production as Artistic Director as he believes “my target is to make sure the Young Vic represents the makeup of London.”

**Young Vic History**
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 Molière’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.

**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 early 1971 in order to rehearse what would become their masterpiece album, Who’s Next. One of these shows was released on the Deluxe edition of this album.

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.

In 1982 the theatre hosted a Poetry Olympics, where comedian Pat Condell took part.

**Young Vic Awards**

2004 – Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre

2008 – Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre

**Young Vic Refurbishment 2004-2006**

The ClareIn 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.

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.

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