Former artistic director of the Young Vic, director and playwright David Lan will be presented with the Special Award at the Olivier Awards 2018 ceremony on Sunday 8 April at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The award will be presented in recognition of his outstanding contribution in leading the Young Vic since 2000, his work within the local community around the theatre, and his commitment to internationalism and diversity. The honour comes only two months after Lan received a special award for services to theatre at the Critics’ Circle Drama Awards.
Lan stepped down as artistic director of the Young Vic earlier this year after leading the theatre for almost two decades. Over the course of his tenure, the Young Vic’s reputation has grown to become one of the most admired theatres in the world. It is known for its extensive and fully integrated outreach programme, its engagement with young theatre artists, especially directors, and for playing to an audience acknowledged as one of the most diverse in the UK. Lan wrote the architectural brief for the 2004/6 re-development of the theatre and led the entire project including a 24 show, 32 city walkabout season.
He has produced the work of some of the most influential theatre-makers of our time including Peter Brook, Ivo Van Hove, Benedict Andrews, Susan Stroman, Stephen Daldry and Katie Mitchell and has championed innovative ways of co-producing across the UK and internationally.
Lan also is responsible for establishing the Young Vic’s Genesis Directors Program, many of whose past members now lead theatres all over the UK. Many Young Vic productions have gone on to great success in the West End and on Broadway (the Olivier Award-winning Yerma opening this March at the Park Avenue Armory, New York), and in other theatres around the world.
In addition, he founded the What Next? Alliance of arts organisations which now has ‘Chapters’ throughout the UK.
The Young Vic has won 11 Olivier Awards under Lan’s tenure including Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate Theatre in 2004 for his “audacious season” and artistic direction.
Past recipients of the Special Award include Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Sondheim, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.
Widely recognised as the most prestigious stage honours, this year’s Olivier Awards return to the Royal Albert Hall and will be hosted by Catherine Tate.