Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic, has announced the start of the Young Vic’s 50th birthday with a year-long programme of work entitled We are the New Tide, dedicated to the theatre’s milestone birthday.
The 50th birthday year of work begins with three major commissions:
- YV 50th Projection Project – a projection celebrating the people and productions from across five extraordinary decades, illuminating the front of the Young Vic building each evening, with video design by Duncan McLean
- The Unforgotten – an interactive outdoor art installation commemorating trailblazers Mary Seacole, Marsha P. Johnson and Ulric Cross. Furthering the conversation within the Black Lives Matter movement, the Young Vic community will be invited to contribute to the installation by submitting their own nominations in writing on the side of the building and online, asking us all to (re)consider who we celebrate as our heroes. Created by artists Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and Anna Fleischle.
- The New Tomorrow – for the first piece of live theatre since the pandemic closed UK theatres, this weekend festival of speeches and monologues asks what the next 50 years hold. Writers and artists Jade Anouka, Marina Carr, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Ruth Madeley, Amy Ng, Stef Smith, Jack Thorne, Isobel Waller-Bridge and Steve Waters will explore the change that has come and is coming. Cast to be announced.
Kwame Kwei-Armah said: “We had planned to hold a giant street party celebration to mark the beginning of our 50th birthday year– we had envisioned 50 individual stages in and around the YV featuring the people who make up its DNA – drama students and community members, actors, artists, creatives, technical crews… – and we were going to invite hundreds of people to join us.
“This year has taken a very different turn, and it feels vital our revised birthday plans serve this urgent moment, on this precipice of monumental change. The YV’s extraordinary past will be rightly celebrated, but we cannot do this without acknowledging the seriousness of this present moment and also looking towards our future.
“The beginning of our 50th year marks a moment of change for everyone, but it is a year I go into with absolute optimism, for We are the New Tide.”
Glenn Earle, chair of the Young Vic Board, said: “The Young Vic has been a theatrical powerhouse for five decades. A daring display of what theatre can be, the Young Vic is both deeply rooted in the local community and applauded internationally for artistic excellence. Our 50th birthday is a chance to celebrate the Young Vic’s ambition and brilliance, and also the spirit of community at the heart of this very special theatre. It is a chance to look back on fifty wonderful years of art and impact – and to dream about the next 50.”
YV 50th Projection Project
From 11 September to 4 October 2020
To begin the 50th birthday year, each evening the front of the Young Vic building will become a giant canvas, illuminated by a video projection celebrating the past people and productions who collectively represent five extraordinary decades. With video design by Duncan McLean, the projection captures the spirit of the Young Vic, including decades of world-leading productions under the leadership of seven artistic directors, inspiring work made for and with the local community, and hundreds of emerging and established creatives and artists who have each found a place and home within the theatre’s four walls to make their art.
From 11 September 2020
The Unforgotten is an interactive art installation which participates in and contributes to the ongoing conversation within the Black Lives Matter movement. This interactive art piece adorning the Young Vic building commemorates three unsung trailblazers of the Black community: Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican businesswoman who set up the ‘British Hotel’ behind the lines during the Crimean War, Marsha P. Johnson, an advocate and activist for LGBTQ+ rights and Ulric Cross, a Trinidadian diplomat, RAF navigator, legal visionary and most decorated black serviceman of World War II.
Created by artists Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and Anna Fleischle, the Young Vic community will be invited to contribute to the installation by submitting their own nominations in writing on the side of the building and online in response to provocations written by Jennifer Akre, asking us all to (re)consider who we celebrate as our heroes.
The New Tomorrow
3 and 4 October 2002
For the first piece of live theatre at the Young Vic since the pandemic closed UK theatres in March, this free weekend festival of performances will include short commissioned performances and activist speeches exploring what the next 50 years might hold. Writers and artists including Jade Anouka, Marina Carr, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Ruth Madeley, Amy Ng, Stef Smith, Jack Thorne, Isobel Waller-Bridge and Steve Waters will explore the change that has come and is coming. Cast to be announced.
The performance will be streamed via Facebook Live, with a limited number of in-person tickets also available via ticket lottery.