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Cush Jumbo and Ruth Negga to star in new Young Vic season

Cush Jumbo and Ruth Negga to star in new Young Vic season

Ruth Negga & Cush Jumbo to appear in new Young Vic season

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 29 May 2019, Last Updated 29 May 2019

The Young Vic has put on some incredibly exciting productions recently. From the Olivier-nominated musical Fun Home, to its current critically acclaimed success, Death Of A Salesman, there’s certainly been no shortage of top shows with equally top talent involved.

And if Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah’s plans for 2020 are anything to go by, next year looks to be just as spectacular. This is what they’ve got in store, including the Young Vic debuts of Ruth Negga  & Cush Jumbo.


Nora: A Doll’s House

Nora: A Doll’s House

6 February – 21 March 2020

A unique and bold twist on the classic Ibsen play, A Doll’s House, this production will reframe the show and set it within three different time periods. Topics and important issues including the fight for women’s suffrage, the swinging sixties and the modern day will all entangle and intertwine as it asks the question, how far have we really come in the past 100 years?

Directed by Elizabeth Freestone and written by Stef Smith, the show was a hit when it was first staged with Citizens Theatre back in March.


Orfeus: A House Music Opera

Nmon Ford. Photo by Jose Zakany.

14 April – 30 May 2020

Another adaptation of a classic story, Orfeus: A House Music Opera will mix several musical genres to tell the mythical tale of Orfeus and Euridice. Set in the near future, Orfeus must confront home truths in order to save Euridice from his fascist father, Pluto.

In the title role of Orfeus will be the award-winning Nmon Ford, who’s also responsible for the words, music and libretto in the show.

Directing this world premiere is Charles Randolph-Wright (Motown: The Musical).


The Second Woman

The Second Woman

June 2020

A 24-hour feat of endurance performance and live cinema, The Second Woman will see The Young Vic and the London International Festival of Theatre reunite as co-producers for the first time since 2014.

Inspired by the 1977 film, Opening Night, 100 different men will be invited to star opposite Virginia, who will perform the scene again and again for 24 hours. None of the men will have ever met or rehearsed with Virginia, and many of them won’t even be actors. At the end of each scene, her male co-star will be asked to make a difficult decision. The show will be filmed live by multiple different cameras for the audience at home to watch, and whether you watch for an hour or the whole day, it’s sure to be a binge-worthy spectacle.



Cush Jumbo as Hamlet. Photo by Dean Chalkley.

6 July – 20 August 2020

Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife, The Good Fight) will star in Hamlet. Her Young Vic debut, Cush will reunite with her long-time collaborator, Greg Hersov, who’s directing the show.

Olivier-award winning designers Anna Fleischle and Neil Austin (lighting) will also be working on the show.


Portia Coughlan

16 September – 31 October 2020

Also making her Young Vic debut next year will be Academy Award-nominee Ruth Negga, in the lead role of Portia Coughlan in Marina Carr’s new haunting play.

Directed by Caroline Byrne, the show is the profound and disturbing story of Portia, as she celebrates her 30th birthday, and commemorates the 15th anniversary of the death of her twin brother, Gabriel.

Set in the midlands of Ireland, her brother’s haunting presence keeps overpowering Portia, leading her to contemplate her own fate. Can she change her story? Or was it never hers to begin with?


In addition to these exciting new shows, the Young Vic will also be holding club nights in The Maria Studio and launching a new participation programme, entitled Taking Part. This will be a new season of work made for, and with, the local community.

Taking Part’s season will include:

  • 8196 Humans: A play created with young people from London’s travelling community.
  • Twenty Twenty: A year-long project about the history of Lambeth and Southwark.
  • A Doll’s House: A parallel production made with schools and young people.
  • Nobler In The Mind: Exploring attitudes to mental health, inspired by the upcoming production of Hamlet.

About the new season of shows for 2020, Kwame Kwei-Armah said:

“It is with much joy that I introduce a programme for 2020 which includes on our Main Stage: two exciting Young Vic debuts from world-class talents – the magnificent Cush Jumbo playing Hamlet, and the incredible Academy Award-nominee, Ruth Negga, in Marina Carr’s hauntingly brilliant Portia Coughlan; Stef Smith’s radical new version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House seen through an entirely fresh lens; Nmon Ford’s Orfeus, the first house music opera; and the genre-busting, utterly unique 24-hour endurance feat, The Second Woman, a co-production with LIFT. My hope is that these plays and these players will do more than just entertain us, they will reflect and refract the times we are living in.

“Over the next year, we will create work with and for our community, around themes including home, heritage and mental health. We will embark on our second tour of YV Unpacked, taking She Ventures and He Wins to local audiences who cannot easily access our building. And as ever, we remain committed to keeping our ticket prices low, no matter what the box office demand, with at least 10% of tickets allocated free of charge to schools and neighbours.

“I can’t wait to share these extraordinary experiences and phenomenal talents with you. Come and join us.”

Tickets for 2020 Main House shows go on sale to Friends of the Young Vic Tue 18 June at 12pm. Public booking opens Tue 25 June at 12pm.


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