|Capacity||420 Main house
160 Maria (studio)
80 Claire (studio)
|Type||Non-commercial resident company|
|Rebuilt||2006 Haworth Tompkins|
The Young Vic is a theatre in The Cut, located near the South Bank, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It specialises in giving opportunities to young actors and directors. The theatre is publicly subsidised and has a high artistic reputation. Playwright David Lan has been the theatre's artistic director since 2000. Its philosophy is to "produce great plays for great audiences, now and in the future".
In the period after World War II a Young Vic Company was formed in 1946 by director George Devine as an offshoot of the Old Vic Theatre School for the purpose of performing classic plays for audiences aged nine to fifteen.
This was discontinued in 1948 when Devine and the entire faculty resigned from the Old Vic, but in 1969 Frank Dunlop became founder-director of The Young Vic theatre with his free adaptation of Molière's The Cheats of Scapino, presented at the new venue as a National Theatre production, opening on 11 September 1970 and starring Jim Dale in the title role with designs by Carl Toms (decor) and Maria Bjornson (costumes).
In the words of Laurence Olivier, then director of the National Theatre: "Here we think to develop plays for young audiences, an experimental workshop for authors, actors and producers." The aim was to create an accessible theatre which offered high quality at low cost in an informal environment. The aim was to appeal to young audiences, but this time not specifically to children.
Frank Dunlop completed creation of the theatre venue in 1970, a breeze-block building in The Cut constructed out of a former butchers' shop and an adjacent bomb-site. It was intended to last for five years, but has become permanent.
The auditorium, with a thrust stage, has a capacity of around 500 but this can vary depending on the configuration of the stage for each production.
In addition to the Young Vic's main house, there are now two smaller theatre spaces. The Maria, named after theatre designer Maria Bjornson, is the larger of the two with a capacity of 150. The Clare, named after the former artistic director of the Sheffield Crucible, Clare Venables, seats 70. Like the main house, both smaller theatres have flexible seating configurations which can be arranged to suit the production design. In all of the Young Vic's theatres, seating is unreserved with the actors performing in close proximity to the audience.
The Young Vic primarily performs classic plays, but often in innovative productions. Many well-known actors have worked at the Young Vic including Ian Charleson, who made his memorable professional debut with the Young Vic 1972-74, and who played Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger and Hamlet in the first revival of Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in 1973. Others include Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Timothy Dalton, Ian McKellen, Willard White, Clive Owen, and Jude Law.
2004 - Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre
2008 - Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre
In 2003, the Young Vic launched a campaign to raise £12.5 million for a major reconstruction of its building and closed in 2004 for work to start.
Designed by architects Haworth Tompkins - also known for their refurbishment of the Royal Court Theatre, Regent's Park Open-Air Theatre, and two temporary venues for the Almeida - and with Jane Wernick Associates as the structural engineers, and consulting engineers Max Fordham LLP designing the building services, the refurbishment was completed in October, 2006.
The main auditorium has been left intact, but refurbished and technically enhanced. The butchers' shop has also been retained as the main entrance to the building and also the box office.
The remainder of the 1970s structure has been rebuilt to provide new foyers, dressing rooms, two studio theatres, and workshop spaces. An award of £5 million was received from the Arts Council of England.
The Young Vic was one of the launch theatres for Digital Theatre, a project which makes theatre productions available in video download form. The first performances that were filmed were 'Kafka's Monkey' and 'The Container'.