Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah has announced a new season of work, Welcome Back and Welcome Home, welcoming theatre-makers and audiences back through the doors for the first time since the venues’s 50th Birthday celebrations in October 2020.
- Changing Destiny, Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri’s new adaptation of the 4,000-year-old Egyptian poem of Sinuhe the Warrior King, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and designed by award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye (9 July to 21 August 2021, press night is 16 July).
- Best of Enemies, a new play by Olivier Award-winner James Graham, follows the debates that changed politics and television forever, directed by Jeremy Herrin in a co-production with (2 December 2021 to 22 January 2022)
- Klippies, the acclaimed debut by Jessica Siân, a coming-of-age drama set in the twentieth year of South Africa’s democracy about the intensity of first love, directed by Genesis Future Directors Award recipient Diyan Zora (4 to 13 August 2021).
- A unique collaboration between human and computer minds, AI is a play developed by Chinonyerem Odimba and Nina Segal, written alongside GPT-3 OpenAI technology (23 – 25 August 2021). Using this advanced deep-learning artificial intelligence system to generate human-like script and dialogue, Genesis Fellow and associate director Jennifer Tang and company will create a new play for the stage.
- Best Seat in Your House, an innovative multi-camera immersive broadcast experience inviting audiences to play with the broadcast form.
Kwame Kwei-Armah said: “This pandemic has wielded an unquantifiable wound to theatre-makers and theatres, the repercussions of which we will continue to feel for a long time. We have seen a year of racial reckoning reverberate through our sector, a cry of pain and a call to do better. To announce a new season of work fills my heart with optimism, as it comes with the hope that artists can return to their craft, and as we rebuild, we improve on what was good, and take time to undo the broken systems and structures.
“My message with this new season is Welcome Back and Welcome Home. The Young Vic is a civic centre and a home-away-from-home for our community. It is a space for us to hear extraordinary stories told by the world’s finest artists that help us see the world through someone else’s eyes.”
The complete creative team has also been announced for the highly-anticipated Hamlet, with Cush Jumbo in the title role, directed by her long-time collaborator Greg Hersov (25 September to 13 November 2021, press night is 4 October).
Set and costume design are by Anna Fleischle, with lighting design by Aideen Malone, sound design by Emma Laxton, video design by Nina Dunn, movement direction by Lucy Hind, casting by Sophie Holland CDG, voice and text by Barbara Houseman and fight direction by Kev McCurdy. Further cast to be announced.
The Young Vic’s Best Seat in Your House will be an immersive, multi-camera live broadcast experience. Made in collaboration with YV artistic associate Duncan McLean, the innovative streaming platform offers two ways for audiences to experience live performances. The Director’s Chair allows audiences at home take control of their view of the show, cutting live between any of the cameras placed around the theatre at any time throughout the performance. The Director’s Cut gives viewers the chance to sit back and enjoy a more traditional live edit of the show from the theatre to the viewer’s screen, created with the show’s director, and mixed by the production team. Ben Okri’s Changing Destiny will be the first show available to experience via this innovative platform.
Following the success of two YV Unpacked tours –which saw professionally performed productions of Spring Awakening and She Ventures and He Wins performed in community venues in Lambeth and Southwark including prisons, elderly care homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres – Taking Part (the Young Vic’s creative engagement department) will tour Love Reign to similar locations in local boroughs where theatre is not usually performed. Written by Shereen Jasmin Phillips and directed by Stef O’Driscoll, this is an eclectic piece of new writing that centres a fusion of narrative and music to create a live storytelling experience. The production goes on tour to community venues in Lambeth and Southwark from 4 to 15 October and the Maria Theatre from 18 to 23 October.
Sundown Kiki has been created with and performed by Queer young artists from the Global Majority and will be a bold celebration of Queer South London in all its glory. Creative direction for the piece is from Jay Jay Revlon which is directed by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, with sound design and composition by XANA.