News: amazing cast announced for the Young Vic’s The New Tomorrow

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic, today announces the cast of The New Tomorrowa weekend of pop-up performances celebrating the Young Vic’s 50th birthday. The New Tomorrow – the first piece of live theatre at the Young Vic since the pandemic closed UK theatres in March – will interrogate the change that has come and is coming, and what the next 50 years might hold.

Ronkẹ Adékọluẹ́jọ́, Adjoa Andoh, Matthew Dunster, Paapa Essiedu, Martina Laird, Anoushka Lucas and Sophie Stone will perform short works from writers and artists Jade Anouka, Marina Carr, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Ruth Madeley, Amy Ng, Stef Smith, Jack Thorne, Isobel Waller-Bridge and Steve Waters, directed by Young Vic Genesis Fellow and Associate Director Jennifer Tang. The performance will be hosted by Kwame Kwei-Armah, and also feature speeches from activists Shahidha Bari and Tom Gill, with Kwame Kwei-Armah Jr. as DJ. Continue reading “News: amazing cast announced for the Young Vic’s The New Tomorrow”

Happy 50th Birthday to the Young Vic

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 50thProjection 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 – check out just some of those productions in the gallery above.

    From 11 Sept – 4 October, 7.30pm – 10.30pm daily except Sundays, free.

  • 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.
    From 11 September, free.
  • 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 fifty 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.
    3 & 4 October, 4pm, Main House, free

Review: Shangri-La, Finborough

“Welcome to Authentic China”

What kind of holidaymaker are you? The type that looks for the first place to sell you a full English breakfast or the type that cringes when you hear another English accent in the place, usually over-emphasising at a sceptical waiter. If you tend towards the latter then you might have already heard of sustainable tourism, heck, even booked a trip wanting to fully embrace the authenticity of a place rather than its tourist-stuffed facade.
Amy Ng’s Shangri-La questions the very notion of whether its possible though – whether a form of pure cultural tourism can exist or if it is all a sham, something cooked up to relieve all-too-easily proffered wallets and purses. Until 2001, the Chinese Himalayan city of Shangri-La was known as Zhongdian, its renaming aimed to capitalise on the vogue for all things Tibetan, and Ng asks at what cost such decisions are made.
The prism for her often witty play is would-be photographer Bunny, a member of the Naxi minority ethnic group whose customs and ceremonies are buried deep in centuries-long tradition and secrecy. She’s making a living as a tour guide and when her local knowledge is called upon to give a private tour to a wealthy potential benefactor, she’s faced with the dilemma of what she’s prepared to sacrifice in the name of her individuality versus her people’s, something she has had to consider before.
Shangri-La thus plays out in two timeframes and this is something Charlotte Westenra’s production could make a little smoother. Julia Sandford’s Bunny negotiates the back-and-forth well though, caught between newly-introduced ideas of what her life could be versus the reality of what she’ll have to do gain it, and Rosie Thomson is excellent as two different women who can facilitate that change for her, gaining several laughs in the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment with an iPhone.
There’s perhaps a little too much stuffed into the narrative for it to truly breathe. The complexities of Chinese authoritarian rule are only ever hinted at, the fascinating role of corruption glanced on briefly; fortunately, the focus on shady tourism sitting cheek by cheek with exploitation and poverty is fiercely examined, our own Western complicity left in no doubt whatsoever. There’s strong support from Andrew Koji’s Karma and Kevin Shen’s Nelson, two men with very different ideas on what’s acceptable and Ng pleasingly eschews giving us any easy answers.
Running time: 75 minutes (without interval)
Photo: Scott Rylander
Booking until 6th August