The Young Vic is thrilled to announce that Kwame Kwei-Armah will become the theatre’s new Artistic Director in February 2018. He takes over from David Lan, who is stepping down after 18 years in the role. Kwei-Armah will announce his first season of work as Artistic Director in the new year.
Kwame Kwei-Armah is an award-winning director and playwright and the outgoing Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage where he directed extensively. Directing credits also include New York’s Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. His production of One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play.
“To walk into the Young Vic is to come face to face with everything I love about theatre, so I am beyond humbled, if not a little scared. But to lead this magnificent theatre at this time in our nation’s history, after such a visionary as David, excites me beyond words. I can’t wait to get started.”
Patrick McKenna, Chair of the Board, says: “After meeting Kwame the panel was unanimous in its decision to appoint him as the next leader for this remarkable institution. Kwame’s wealth of experience directing, writing and working with the local community in Baltimore and beyond will translate beautifully to his new role leading the work on the Young Vic’s three stages as well as its pioneering outreach and education work in London.”
David Lan, outgoing Artistic Director, says:
About Kwame Kwei-Armah
Kwame Kwei-Armah, born in 1967, is the outgoing Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage where he has directed: Jazz, Marley, One Night in Miami, Amadeus, Dance of the holy ghosts, The Mountaintop; An Enemy of the People, The Whipping Manand Things of Dry Hours. Other work as a director includes: Twelve Night, Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Detroit’67 (Public Theatre, New York), The Liquid Plain (Signature Theatre, New York and Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Porgy and Bess (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra) the Olivier Nominated One night in Miami for Best New Play 2016 (Donmar Warehouse) and One Love (Birmingham Repertory Theatre).
As a playwright his credits include One Love (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Beneatha’s Place (Baltimore Center Stage) Elmina’s Kitchen, Fix Up, Statement of Regret (National Theatre) Let There Be Love and Seize the Day (Tricycle Theatre).
Kwame was Artistic Director for the Festival of Black arts and Culture, Senegal, in 2010. He conceived and directed the opening ceremony at Senghor National stadium. He is an Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse and has served on the boards of the National Theatre, Tricycle Theatre, and Theatre Communications Group. Kwame was the Chancellor of the University of the Arts London from 2010 to 2015, and in 2012 was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014 Kwame was named Best Director in City Paper’s Best of Baltimore Awards and in 2015 was nominated for the prestigious Stage Directors and Choreographers Zelda Fichandler Award for Best Regional Artistic Director. In 2016 he was awarded the Urban Visionary Award alongside House Representative Elijah Cummings by the Center for Urban Families for his work in the Baltimore community.