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Sir Lenny Henry in A Windrush Chronicle (Photo: Carlton Dixon)

Sir Lenny Henry in A Windrush Chronicle (Photo: Carlton Dixon)

Lenny Henry to star in Young Vic’s YV:ID festival

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson Published 14 January 2019

The Young Vic have announced plans for YV:ID, a five-week festival of digital and live events throughout February and March which addresses questions around the theme of identity.

The festival includes series of performances, short film screenings, multi-part web series, and accompanying live debates.

Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle was commissioned by BBC Arts and co-produced by Sir Lenny Henry’s production company Douglas Road Productions and the Young Vic. These eight 15-minute monologues are set in and around the front room of an Afro-Carribean home, and will be broadcast on BBC Four in February. An accompanying live discussion event will take place on 21 February.

The pieces were curated by Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, and will star the likes of Henry (The Long Song), Vinette Robinson (Doctor Who), Montserrat Lombard (Upstart Crow), Danielle Vitalis (Attack the Block), Clifford Samuel (McMafia), Gamba Cole (Damilola: Our Loved Boy), Elliot Barnes-Worrell (Jericho), Jonathan Jules (Invasion Earth), and Olivia-Mai Barrett (Penny on M.A.R.S).

Christopher Eccleston in England's Red by Javaad Alipoor, an episode of My EnglandChristopher Eccleston in England’s Red by Javaad Alipoor, an episode of My England

My England, a collection of 14 short films by cast and creatives across the country, will query the notion of English national identity. The films will be released on the Young Vic website from 25 February, with an accompanying event on 12 March.

Writers will include Javaad Alipoor, Lynette Linton, Polly Stenham, Simon Stephens and Jack Thorne, amongst others, and stars include Christopher Eccleston, Jenny Rainsford, Kate Dickie, Ophelia Lovibond, Ronke Adekoluejo and Mat Fraser. Directors will include Nadia Latif and Rodney Charles.

A five-part web series, The 8 Club, will also be available via the venue’s social channels from 11 March. These explore the notion of ‘toxic masculinity’, as well as the ideas of masculinity as defined by generations before. Often unspoken topics including mental health, money, sex, violence and personal relationships will be tackled, with participants including JJ Bola, Michael Brooks, Ned Dukes, Matt Harvey, Roly Hunter, LionHeart, Simon Anthony Mitchell, Adam Pugh, Michael Simon, Jordan Stephens, Elric Stockley and Jamell Williams.

Kwame Kwei-Armah, said today, “After seven years in America, I returned home to a country which seemed amidst an identity crisis. YV:ID is a way to catalyse a debate about […] perceptions, and, as part of our commitment to channelling work into the digital world, we are also bringing these discussions into the digital sphere to reach new audiences and continue the conversation outside of our four walls.”

More information can be found on the Young Vic website.


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