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London Theatre News Today: Thursday 6 May

Published 6 May 2021

Young Vic reopens with 2021 Welcome Back and Welcome Home season

Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah announces a new season of work, welcoming theatre-makers and audiences back through the doors to create and experience live performance for the first time since the Young Vic’s 50th Birthday celebrations in October 2020.

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.

With Ben Okri’s Changing Destiny and Shakespeare’s Hamlet we bring you the tales you thought you knew, and present them afresh. These stories have withstood the test of time because they continue speak to what it means to be human, and I believe now, more than ever, they deliver messages we need to hear. We also bring you bold work to illuminate our present. Our co-production with Headlong, Best of Enemies is a new play from James Graham that places its fingers on the political pulse of 1960s America, but could not feel more current today.

Emerging from the pandemic into a world which feels more digitalised than ever before, our ambitious experiment with technology continues. With AI, we ask great human and computer minds to come together, to see how each may inform the other in the creation of art. With Best Seat in Your House – our offer of multi-camera broadcasts – we invite audiences to play with technology, redefining the live streaming experience for ultimate flexibility and choice. 

Our Directors Program, which for the last twelve months has served over 4,000 artists, will continue adapting to meet the needs of its members, including finding ways to interrogate the structures that limit our future generations of theatre-makers. They continue helping artists develop their craft; in this season we see a new version of Klippies, directed by Genesis Future Directors Award recipient Diyan Zora.

And Taking Part, our creative engagement department, will continue extending its arms as wide as possible to our local boroughs, touring a brand new play Love Reign to venues like hospitals, prisons, and residential homes, and with Sundown Kiki, they welcome Queer South London to our space to tell their stories.

Both the Young Vic Directors Program and Taking Part, supported by the wider YV team, have overcome the hurdles of this pandemic year to reach their networks and connect them to art. I feel this moment is a celebration of their achievements, as much as it is anticipating the excellence to come.

So, we can’t wait to welcome you back into our theatre. Some elements, such as the measures we have in place to ensure your safety, might feel slightly different as protecting our staff and audiences is – and always will be – our priority. But much will feel exactly like the Young Vic home you remember. We are committed to keeping ticket prices low, starting at £10. We continue with our £5 first previews. We will keep giving 10% of our tickets free to those who experience barriers to accessing the arts, our local communities, and early-career artists – irrespective of box office demand. So join us to participate in the magic of live theatre, as we take you from Ancient Egypt to Artificial Intelligence, and everything in between.

Welcome back and welcome home.”

Find out more about the new season of shows on the Young Vic’s website.






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