Cush Jumbo Plays Hamlet & More In Young Vic's 2020 Programme

By: May. 29, 2019

Cush Jumbo Plays Hamlet & More In Young Vic's 2020 Programme

Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah has announced the Programme for 2020.

In the Main House:

• Nora: A Doll's House, Stef Smith's radical reworking of Ibsen's classic, a co-production with Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, directed by Elizabeth Freestone

• World Premiere of Orfeus: A House Music Opera, a contemporary retelling of Ovid's myth, created by and starring Nmon Ford as Orfeus and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright

• In a co-production with LIFT for 2020, internationally-acclaimed 24-hour feat of endurance performance and live cinemaThe Second Woman, created by Nat Randall and Anna Breckon

Cush Jumbo makes her Young Vic debut as Hamlet in Shakespeare's great tragedy, directed by her long-time collaborator Greg Hersov

• Academy Award-nominee Ruth Negga is Portia in Portia Coughlan, Marina Carr's haunting play directed by Caroline Byrne

Also in 2020:

• Introducing a brand new strand of music and club nights in The Maria studio

• Taking Part, the Young Vic's participation programme, announce a new season of work made for and with the local community including; 8196 Humans, a play created with young people from London's travelling community;TWENTY TWENTY, a year-long project about the history and heritage of Lambeth and Southwark; a parallel production around Nora: A Doll's House made with schools and young people; and Nobler in the Mind, exploring attitudes to mental health, inspired by the upcoming production of Hamlet

Plus, still to come in 2019 at the Young Vic:

• This weekend, critically-acclaimed Bronx Gothic opens in The Maria written and performed by MacArthur 'Genius' Award winner Okwui Okpokwasili and directed by Peter Born

• From 10 July, Ivan and the Dogs plays in The Clare, directed by 2018 Genesis Future Directors Award winner Caitriona Shoobridge

• Rehearsals began last week for the highly anticipated World Premiere of Tree, co-created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, which opens at Manchester International Festival on 4 July before playing at the Young Vic 29 July - 24 August, with more tickets just released

Gavin Drea, Aoife Duffin, Olwen Fouéré and Steffan Rhodri cast in Marina Carr's new version of Lorca's most famous tragedy Blood Wedding, directed by multiple award-winning Yaël Farber from 19 September

• Dadiow Lin announced as the next Genesis Future Directors Award winner for 2019.

Jackie Sibblies Drury's 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning new play Fairview, directed by Genesis Fellow and YV Associate Director Nadia Latif, opens 28 November

• Taking Part present a second tour of YV Unpacked, taking She Ventures and He Wins to community venues in Lambeth and Southwark and Home, an installation created by local young people in response to the upcoming production of Tree

Artistic Director 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.

On the horizon is a significant development of our Directors Program website, maximising the opportunities for the 1,200 emerging artists we work with every year. We are also excited to announce a new series of music and club nights, as well as a continuation of our YV:ID 'Town Hall' live debate events. Theatre should be a two-way dialogue, and these opportunities to hear from our audiences directly on subjects that matter to them are pivotal in ensuring we continue to serve in a 21st century stylee! (Yes, the double ee is on purpose!)

Over the past few decades, the Young Vic has created a profound and vital connection with its nearest neighbours through the work produced by our Taking Part team, and this mission will continue to be at the heart of what we do. 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, 12pm. Public booking opens Tue 25 June, 12pm.

A Young Vic and Citizens Theatre co-production


A radical new version of Henrik Ibsen's play by Stef Smith

Directed by Elizabeth Freestone

Main House

6 February - 21 March, with press night 11 February

'You've lies in the whites of your eyes, Nora. What have you done...?'

Nora is the perfect wife and mother. She is dutiful, beautiful and everything is always in its right place. But when a secret from her past comes back to haunt her, her life rapidly unravels. Over the course of three days, Nora must fight to protect herself and her family or risk losing everything.

Ibsen's brutal portrayal of womanhood caused outrage when it was first performed in 1879. Originally produced at Citizens Theatre, this bold new production by one of Scotland's most exciting playwrights reframes the drama in three different time periods. The fight for women's suffrage, the swinging sixties and modern day intertwine in this urgent, poetic play that asks how far have we really come in the past 100 years?

Casting to be announced.

'A beautiful and explosively significant piece of theatre' - The Scotsman

Written by Stef Smith, Directed by Elizabeth Freestone, with Design by Tom Piper, Lighting Design by Lee Curran, Composition and Sound Design by Michael John McCarthy and Movement by Emily-Jane Boyle.


Words, Music and Libretto by Nmon Ford

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright

Main House

14 April - 30 May, with press night 21 April

Blurring the lines of opera, house music and theatre, Nmon Ford's Orfeus makes its World Premiere at the Young Vic, directed byCharles Randolph-Wright (Motown: The Musical). Set in the near future, this unique production blends music genres and performance into a timeless version of Ovid's legend. Orfeus confronts his true nature to save the beautiful poet Euridice from his father Pluto, the fascist ruler of a dystopian empire. Award-winning Nmon Ford plays Orfeus, with further casting to be announced.

Words, Music and Libretto by Nmon Ford, Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright.

A Young Vic and LIFT co-production


Created by Nat Randall and Anna Breckon

Main House

June 2020

In their first collaboration since 2014, the Young Vic co-produce with LIFT, as part of Kris Nelson's first festival as Artistic Director, to bring an exciting new production of this internationally-acclaimed 24-hour feat of endurance performance and live cinema to London.

Virginia waits. The door opens. Marty enters. Virginia has some things she needs to say. But how will he respond?

In a brilliant concept inspired the 1977 John Cassavetes film Opening Night, created by an all-female-identifying and non-binary team who capture and mix the action live from multiple cameras, 100 different men are invited to star opposite 'Virginia' who performs the exact same scene again and again, for a full 24 hours. At the conclusion of each scene, the man must make a stark decision. The wait for what comes next becomes a brilliant binge-worthy spectacle.

None of the 100 different Martys have met or rehearsed with Virginia. Many of them are non-actors, and while the presence of each new man shifts the meaning of this intimate exchange, it's the recurring, unnerving yet familiar moments that shock. Whether you choose to stay for an hour or the whole 24 hours, the precarious nature of gender and power relationships will continue to circle in your mind long after you leave your seat.

Casting to be announced.

"Utterly compelling. A demonstration of the power of formal experimentation and a stunning creative feat." - The Guardian, praise for The Second Woman at Liveworks Festival, Sydney 2017

Created by Nat Randall and Anna Breckon, Script & Direction by Anna Breckon and Nat Randall, Video Design by EO Gill and Anna Breckon, Lighting Design by Amber Silk and Kayla Burrett, Sound Design by Nina Buchanan, Set Design by FUTURE METHOD STUDIO, Original Hair and Makeup Design by Sophie Roberts, Produced by Performing Lines.


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Greg Hersov

Main House

6 July - 20 August, with press night TBC

Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife, The Good Fight) makes her Young Vic debut as a new kind of Hamlet. Following a succession of award-winning productions together, she reunites with her long-time collaborator, director Greg Hersov, to bring us Shakespeare's great tragedy about power, politics and desire.

Further cast to be announced.

Directed by Greg Hersov, with Design by Anna Fleischle, Lighting Design by Neil Austin, Sound Design by Adam Cork and Casting by Sophie Holland.


By Marina Carr

Directed by Caroline Byrne

Main House

16 September - 31 October, with press night 22 September

Academy Award-nominee Ruth Negga makes her Young Vic debut as Portia Coughlan in Marina Carr's haunting play, directed byCaroline Byrne (YV Unpacked: Spring Awakening).

There's a wolf tooth growin in me heart and it's turnin me from everywan and everythin I am.

It's Portia's thirtieth birthday - and the fifteenth anniversary of the death of her twin brother, Gabriel. The haunting presence of Gabriel and overpowering reminder of her loss is omnipotent, luring Portia to contemplate her own fate. Can she change her story? Or was it never hers to begin with?

Set in the midlands of Ireland, Portia Coughlan is a profound and disturbing story about love and kinship, examining how the history of the family is also the history of a nation.

Written by Marina Carr, Directed by Caroline Byrne.


The Young Vic is excited to announce a brand new programme of music and club nights in The Maria studio, with dates and artists to be announced.

Kwame Kwei-Armah said: 'We are extremely lucky to have some beautifully versatile spaces at the Young Vic, and it has been an ambition of mine to explore new ways in which to use these spaces in order to play with art and form, and to challenge expectations of how people can engage with our theatre. We cannot wait to invite audiences to experience the Young Vic in an entirely new way, with a series of club and gig nights hosted in The Maria. We hope we'll see you there!'

2019 Genesis Future Directors Award Winner - Dadiow Lin

Dadiow Lin is the next Genesis Future Directors Award winner for 2019. Lin will direct at the Young Vic this autumn, with further details including production title to be announced.

The coming year will also see a significant development to the Young Vic's Directors Program website, which will help to maximise the opportunities for the 1,200 emerging artists the program engages with annually.

Young Vic TAKING PART Presents:


By 'Ariadne'

Winter 2019

Following the success of the first YV Unpacked, which took the professionally performed production of Spring Awakening directed by Caroline Byrne to Lambeth and Southwark community venues, including prisons, old people's homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres, Taking Part will tour She Ventures and He Wins to similar locations in the boroughs where theatre is not normally performed, reaching audiences who may find it difficult to access theatre.

She Ventures and He Wins caused an uproar when it was first published in the late 17th century. Written by an unknown woman - one of the earliest known female playwrights - who broke the conventions of her time so much, that not only did she write under the pseudonym 'Ariadne', but even her pseudonym was not included in the original publication.

This ground-breaking play, credited with starting the great theatrical tradition of cross-dressing, tells the story of women who are tired of the old ways of dealing with affairs of the heart, and are determined to control their own romantic lives.


Summer 2019

In response to the upcoming production Tree, which examines ideas of home, family and belonging, Taking Part will be asking local young people where they feel most at home. This will inspire an installation at the Young Vic exploring these places - whether they be where the young people live, where they feel most connected, or where their ancestors are from.


Early 2020

In response to Marina Carr's new version of Blood Wedding, Taking Part will be working with young people from travelling communities across London to create a play that celebrates their heritage within our city and the estimated 8,196 travellers who live here.


Spring 2020

Young people and schools will work with Taking Part to create a parallel production of Nora: A Doll's House, looking at the predicament of Nora through the eyes of the next generation.


Summer 2020

Alongside the upcoming production of Hamlet, all three strands of the Taking Part department - Learning, Neighbourhood Theatre and Participation - will join together to work with people aged 4-100 to explore experiences of and attitudes towards mental health.


Autumn 2020

Taking Part will spend a year working with three community partners - Thames Reach, Certitude and Blackfriars Settlement - to create three interlinking plays about the history and heritage of Lambeth and Southwark residents.

Updates on productions announced for 2019:

A Young Vic and Sweat Variant co-production


Writer, Performer and Sound Designer: Okwui Okpokwasili

Director, Visual and Sound Designer: Peter Born

Maria Studio

1-29 June 2019, with press night Wednesday 5 June

At the intersection of dance, theatre and visual installation, Okwui Okpokwasili's Bronx Gothic delves into one woman's attempt to shake loose memory. In a coming of age story of a girl in the Bronx on the cusp of a sexual awakening, what emerges is a breath-taking exploration of girlhood.

Created in collaboration with Peter Born, Bronx Gothic draws on inspiration from West African griot storytelling and the epistolary style of the Victorian novel to ask what it means to be a brown girl dreaming herself awake. Bronx Gothic was the winner of the 2014 New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Award for Outstanding Production. This is the show's UK premiere.

Okwui Okpokwasili is a 2018 MacArthur 'Genius' Award recipient.

Writer, Performer and Sound Designer: Okwui Okpokwasili

Director, Visual and Sound Designer: Peter Born


By Hattie Naylor

Directed by Caitriona Shoobridge

Clare Studio

10-20 July

Genesis Future Directors Award winner Caitriona Shoobridge directs this one-person show which explores the need for kindness and trust when, despite being betrayed by the people around you, family can still be forged in the face of adversity. Alex Austin plays Ivan.

Written by Hattie Naylor, Directed by Caitriona Shoobridge, with Design by Basia Bi?kowska, Lighting Design by Elliot Griggs, Sound Design by Xana, Casting Director Lotte Hines and Movement Director Natasha Nixon.

A Manchester International Festival, Young Vic and Green Door Pictures co-production


Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah

Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah

Main House

29 Jul 2019 - 24 Aug 2019, with press night 1 August

Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this new collaboration is an electrifying blend of drama, music and dance which follows one man's journey into the heart and soul of contemporary South Africa - with the audience at the centre of the action.

Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, with music inspired by Elba's album Mi Mandela, Tree is an exhilarating show about identity, family and belonging, seen through the eyes of one man on the toughest journey of his life. This unique production is intended to be experienced standing, with audience members placed at the heart of the action and the performance unfolding around them.

Kwame Kwei-Armah said 'It's going to feel like a club, like a gig, but with a narrative that is soulful.'

The show will receive its world premiere this July at Manchester International Festival, before transferring to the Young Vic.

With cast including Christian Bradley, Lucy Briggs-Owen, Sinéad Cusack, Kurt Egyiawan, Alfred Enoch, Anna-Kay Alicia Gayle, Joan Iyiola, Anthony Matsena, Daniella May, Patrice Naiambana, Mbulelo Ndabeni and Andile Sotiya.

Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, with Set and Costume by Jon Bausor, Choreography by Gregory Maquoma, Lighting by Jon Clark, Sound by Paul Arditti, Video Design by Duncan McLean, Music Supervision and Composition by Michael Asante, Dramaturgy by Mongiwekhaya and Casting by Pippa Ailion.

A Manchester International Festival, Young Vic and Green Door Pictures co-production.

In association with Eleanor Lloyd Productions, Bob Benton for Anthology Theatre, Eilene Davidson Productions and Dawn Smalberg forRagovoy Entertainment.


By Federíco Garcia Lorca, in a new version by Marina Carr

Directed by Yaël Farber

Main House

19 September - 2 November, with press night 25 September

Multiple award-winning director Yaël Farber (Les Blancs, Mies Julie, The Crucible), brings Federíco Garcia Lorca's famous tragedy Blood Wedding to the Young Vic in a new version by Marina Carr.

Cast includes Gavin Drea, Aoife Duffin, Olwen Fouéré and Steffan Rhodri, with further casting to be announced.

Written by Marina Carr, Directed by Yaël Farber, with Design by Susan Hilferty, Lighting by Natasha Chivers, Sound by Emma Laxton, Composition by Isobel Waller-Bridge and Movement by Imogen Knight.


By Jackie Sibblies Drury

Directed by Nadia Latif

Main House

28 November 2019 - 18 January 2020, with press night 5 December

Following a ground breaking, sell-out run in New York, Jackie Sibblies Drury's Fairview is an interrogation of our subtly destructive preconceptions. This radical examination of power is directed by Young Vic's Genesis Fellow and Associate Director Nadia Latif. Casting to be announced.

Fairview is the winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2019 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for female playwrights.

Written by Jackie Sibblies Drury, Directed by Nadia Latif, with Design by Tom Scutt, Lighting Design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, Sound Design and Composition by Xana and Choreography by Malik Nashad Sharpe.

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

Box Office: 0207 922 2922,


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