Young Vic announces World Premiere of Mandela as part of Summer-Autumn Season

Young Vic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, announces upcoming work for Summer and Autumn 2022:

  • The drumbeat that inspired a revolution – the story of Mandela and the movement behind him comes to the Young Vic stage in the World Premiere of Mandela, a revolutionary new musical, with a book by Laiona Michelle, music & lyrics by Greg Dean Borowsky & Shaun Borowsky, additional music & lyrics by Bongi Duma, directed by Schele Williams, choreographed by Gregory Maqoma, orchestration and musical supervision by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, and developed in proud partnership with Nandi Mandela, Luvuyo Madasa and the Mandela family. (Quotes avaliable)
  • Multi-award-winning director Ivo van Hove presents his blistering production of literary sensation Édouard Louis’ Who Killed My Father, performed as a monologue by acclaimed actor Hans Kesting.
  • Chasing Hares, a new play by Sonali Bhattacharyya, winner of Theatre Uncut’s 2021 Political Playwriting Award, and directed by Milli Bhatia (seven methods of killings kylie jenner) considers the power of storytelling in imagining a fairer world, in an epic tale about a father’s resistance in the face of exploitation, set between the UK and West Bengal.
  • The Young Vic’s creative engagement department begins a year of celebrations to mark its 25th anniversary with a series of events entitled Taking Part 25. 
    • Of The Cut co-written by Yasmin Joseph (J’Ouvert) and the company, directed by Philip J Morris (Sessions) brings together the voices and imagination of the Young Vic’s Taking Part community to create a promenade performance piece which blends film, theatre, audio and imagery, using magical realism to imagine what the next 25 years could look like on and around The Cut. 
    • Journeys, a six-part podcast series celebrating local voices in Lambeth and Southwark, uncovers stories with our Neighbourhood Theatre Company, taking a look at the past 25 years and looking ahead to the next. 
    • Taking Part’s 25th anniversary season will conclude with The Twenty Thrive Exhibition, an immersive, interactive exhibition combining archive material, photography, and storytelling to explore the role the Young Vic has played in its community over the past 25 years.
  • Deirdre McLaughlin the Young Vic’s 2021 Genesis Future Directors Award recipient will direct a devilishly camp social satire The Secretaries by American collective The Five Lesbian Brothers, integrating creative access into the heart of the show.
  • YV Unpacked returns for its fourth year with a new devised show in The Maria and on tour within Lambeth and Southwark. I Wonder If… will be directed by Daniel Bailey (Red Pitch) and devised by the company which includes John Rwothomach (Far Gone) and Shakira Stellar fusing dance, music and dialogue to explore human relationships in its many forms.
  • An international collaboration between the Young Vic Taking Part, the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, Jay Jay Revlon, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu and Kemar Jewel, Communities of Resistance will see a group of young Queer and Black or Global Majority UK-based artists travel to the US to explore the political heritage of ballroom.
  • Tickets for all Young Vic performances start at £12.50 with Lucky Dip tickets available from £10 and tickets available from £5 with the Young Vic’s £5 First Previews lottery, which opens 48hrs in advance of the performance.

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Young Vic Artistic Director says:

Our Summer/Autumn season is a celebration of community and of resilience – from the stories you find on your doorstep to powerful tales of international resistance – that will bring us together to view the world through the eyes of others and through the lens of their experiences.

Starting with three of this season’s main house shows, intimate familial stories unfold against a backdrop of global struggle from the factory picket lines of West Bengal to France’s Yellow Jacket Protests and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. We invite you to travel the world with us to celebrate the forms of communal strength that have come before.   

We open the season with Sonali Bhattacharyya’s Chasing Hares, a tale of defiance, dignity and the power of storytelling in the face of exploitation. Moving from West Bengal to Continental Europe, Who Killed My Father is a son’s poignant account of his relationship with his father and fury at the social deprivation that led to his father’s decline. Finally, we travel to South Africa for a story of hope, the story of Nelson Mandela – father, husband and freedom fighter – his family and the sacrifices they made for a liberated nation in the World Premiere of Mandela, a revolutionary musical.  

In the Clare Theatre we will watch gender stereotypes and workplace exploitation be torn apart in the riotous and satirical camp-comedy-horror The Secretaries. Staged and updated for 2022 by our 2021 Genesis Future Directors Award recipient Deirdre McLaughlin.

We stand by the belief that theatre is there for its community – it is our rallying cry and has sat at the centre of the Young Vic’s ethos for the past 25 years. This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beating heart of our organisation, our extraordinary outreach and engagement programme Taking Part, with a joyful season that shines a light on the stories from our vibrant community and the role we, the Young Vic, have played in Lambeth and Southwark over the last quarter of a century. 

So please join us as we come together, audience members and artists alike, in the communal space of the Young Vic to celebrate our communities, pay tribute to the stories of hope and resilience and challenge ourselves to see the world from different perspectives.”

Shereen Jasmin Phillips, Director of Young Vic Taking Part says:

I am incredibly proud to present our 25th birthday season of Taking Part work, for, with and by the local community of Lambeth and Southwark. This year we will be connecting our young people with the queer community in New York through our Communities of Resistance project, imagining what the next 25 years will look like through a magical realism lens with our Of The Cut promenade production that will boast a 30 strong intergenerational community ensemble cast! And for a fourth year we will be taking theatre to community centres, hospitals and schools through YV Unpacked: I Wonder If… , which will explore human connection through an array of stories. Taking Part is staunchly committed to continuing joyous & thought provoking work through our local communities over the next 25 years and beyond.”

The Secretaries 

By The Five Lesbian Brothers. Directed by Deirdre McLaughlin

Clare Theatre

1 – 11 June

“How did a decent girl like me get involved with a cult of murderous secretaries?”

New girl Patty is just dying to fit in with the perfectly put together secretaries at the Lumber Mill. But when the local lumberjacks start going missing, how far will she go to join their clique?

From American theatre company, The Five Lesbian Brothers, comes a murderously dark comedy that splits open gender stereotypes and carves up the line between violent instincts and passive submission.

Deirdre McLaughlin, Genesis Future Directors Award recipient, directs The Secretaries, integrating creative access into the heart of the show. Set and costume design is by Rhys Jarman, lighting design is by Stacey Sandford, sound design by Mwen, creative captioning by Rachel Sampley movement by Sita Thomas, casting director is Polly Jerrold and the trainee assistant director is Esmee West-Agboola.

Cast includes Jessica Murrian, Natasha Jayetileke, Georgia Frost, Tessa Parr & Francesca Mills.

Audio description and captioning are integrated into every performance and all performances will be relaxed.

Socially Distanced Performance: Wednesday 8 June 2022, 2.45pm

The Secretaries goes on sale to Soul Mates 19 April, and Friends 22 April. 

Public booking opens 28 April 2022. 

The Genesis Future Directors Award program is made possible by the Genesis Foundation.

A Taking Part and Hetrick-Martin Institute project

Communities of Resistance. Co-created by Jay Jay Revlon, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu & Kemar Jewel

June – July

New York

Following the sell-out success of the Taking Part production Sundown Kiki, young people will explore how art has historically been used as a collective space of political resistance. 

The Young Vic will engage a group of Queer and Black or Global Majority young artists in a new creative process which connects Sundown Kiki to the birthplace of ballroom – New York City and explores ballroom’s political heritage.  

Working in collaboration with Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, co-created by House Father and leading figure of UK ballroom Jay Jay Revlon, theatre director and writer Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, and US based theatre and ballroom artist Kemar Jewel, the young artists will explore what the notion of Communities of Resistance means to them and within their creative practice.

The project will conclude with a collaboration between the UK and US young artists in New York City, summer 2022 where they will create a scratch performance around the theme of Communities of Resistance. This international group of young artists will also march together in the New York Pride Parade 2022.

A Young Vic and Theatre Uncut co-production

Chasing Hares 

By Sonali Bhattacharyya. Directed by Milli Bhatia

Main House

From 16 July – 13 August

“There’s a story he can’t afford for me to tell. For anyone to tell. And I wish I hadn’t realised that. Because now it’s the only one I’m interested in…”

Prab and Kajol dream of a different life for their daughter, Amba. One far away from their grinding factory jobs in West Bengal. So when the factory owner’s son asks Prab to write a new play for his Jatra theatre troupe, they jump at the chance to impress the boss. But Prab knows stories are powerful, and as conditions in the factory worsen, he has a choice to make about the story he is writing – one that will have far-reaching consequences for Prab, Kajol and the factory itself.

Winner of Theatre Uncut’s 2021 Political Playwriting Award, Sonali Bhattacharyya’s Chasing Hares is a tale of resistance and dignity in the face of global exploitation. The play is directed by Milli Bhatia (seven methods of killing kylie jenner), with designs by Moi Tran, lighting design by Jai Morjaria, sound design by Donato Wharton, composition by Sarathy Korwar, movement direction by Chi San Howard, video design by Akhila Krishnan and lyric consultant Jammz.

Casting to be announced.

Relaxed Performance: 3 August 2022, 7.30pm

Socially Distanced Performance: 8 August 2022, 7.30pm

BSL Performance: 29 July 2022, 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance: 2 & 9 August 2022, 7.30pm

Captioned Performance: 4 August 2022, 7.30pm

Chasing Hares goes on sale to Soul Mates 19 April, and Friends 22 April. 

Public booking opens 28 April 2022.

A Young Vic Taking Part project

Journeys the podcas. Led by Neighbourhood Theatre Company

25 July – 25 December


A six-part podcast series celebrating local voices in Lambeth and Southwark. We’ll uncover stories about our community over the past 25 years and look ahead to the next 25 years, with even more stories to share.

This series is a tribute to the legacy of our community work and its long-lasting impact. Our episodes will be published on the 25th of each month, starting in July which will take us right through to the end of the year.

Part of Taking Part 25, a season of work celebrating 25 years of the Young Vic’s creative engagement department.

A Taking Part production from Young Vic and TEA films 

Of The Cut. Written by Yasmin Joseph and the Company. Directed by Philip J Morris 

30 July – 6 August 

Across multiple locations including Southwark College and The Maria, Young Vic 

To celebrate 25 years of Taking Part, our three strands (Learning, Participation and Neighbourhood Theatre) will come together to create a promenade performance piece which shines a light on the voices and stories of our community members. Of The Cut will be led by a team of multi-disciplinary creatives, fusing film, stage, sound, imagery and story together through the lens of magical realism. Of The Cut will provide an insight into the many lives lived on and around The Cut, and also explore what the next 25 years has in store for our vibrant community.

This is a co-production with TEA films, led by Adam Kes Hipkin and Dan Patrick Hipkin and will champion the local creativity of Lambeth and Southwark, which the Young Vic has spent the last quarter-century doing. Of The Cut is designed by Natalie Pryce with sound design by Nicola T. Chang. The assistant producer is Jordi M. Carter, the stage manager is Emily Behague, the deputy stage manager is Phyllys Egharevba and assistant stage manager is Leelah McEvoy.

Part of Taking Part 25, a season of work celebrating 25 years of the Young Vic’s creative engagement department.

Of The Cut will go on sale later in the year.
Of The Cut is generously supported by IHS Markit.

An International Theater Amsterdam production in association with Young Vic

Who Killed My Father. Adapted by Ivo van Hove from the book by Édouard Louis

Main House

7 – 24 September

“Every time we have a fight, your father swears he’ll change. He’ll never change. It’s like they say, a dog that’s bitten before will bite again.”

Adapted for the stage by multi-award-winning director Ivo van Hove, Who Killed My Father is an anger-soaked letter written by literary sensation Édouard Louis to his father. Inspired by a visit to his father after some time, where he found him almost unrecognisable, it tells a gripping story of a life marked by alcohol, social deprivation, and years of hard work in heavy industry in the north of France.

Making its UK premiere at the Young Vic, Who Killed My Father is “both a furious indictment of the political elite and a son’s declaration of love” performed as a monologue by Hans Kesting.

Who Killed My Father is translated, adapted and directed by Ivo van Hove, after the book by Édouard Louis, performed by Hans Kesting with scenography and lighting by Jan Versweyveld, costumes by An D’Huys and music by George Dhauw. 

Access performances to be announced.

Who Killed My Father goes on sale to Soul Mates 19 April, and Friends 27 April. 

Public booking opens 19 May 2022.

A Young Vic Taking Part project

The Twenty Thrive Exhibition: Celebrating 25 years of creating, exploring and Taking Part in our community

Creatives include Myah Jeffers and QianEr Jin
The Maria

14 October – 21 October

Explore The Twenty Thrive Exhibition, an immersive and interactive exhibition that celebrates the last 25 years of the Young Vic’s outreach and engagement work. Curated and designed by a team of multi-disciplinary artists including Myah Jeffers and QianEr Jin, and young people from Southwark and Lambeth, The Twenty Thrive Exhibition will use archive material, photography, storytelling and testimonies from Taking Part participants past and present to explore the role the Young Vic has played in our community over the past 25 years and celebrate how our community has helped make us who we are today. 

Part of Taking Part 25, a season of work celebrating 25 years of the Young Vic’s creative engagement department.

The Twenty Thrive Exhibition will go on sale later in the year.

YV Unpacked: I Wonder If …

Devised by the Company. Directed by Daniel Bailey. On tour to community venues in Lambeth and Southwark, 10 – 21 October 

The Maria, 24 – 29 October 2022

Two people meet. The rest is infinite.

Set in a world of limitless possibilities, two people meet, but how they meet changes with the beat of the drum. One moment they’re friends figuring out the depths of their affection, in another they’re star-crossed lovers trying to stay in rhythm.

Fusing dance, music and dialogue to explore the human relationship in its many forms, I Wonder If…  is a dazzling new play directed by Daniel Bailey (Red Pitch) and devised by the company.

YV Unpacked was established in 2018 by Kwame Kwei-Armah, developed with the intention of reaching audiences who may find it more difficult to access theatre by taking professional work to them. Following the success of three YV Unpacked tours – Spring Awakening, She Ventures, He Wins and Love Reign which were performed in community venues across Lambeth and Southwark including prisons, schools, care homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres – Taking Part will tour I Wonder If… to similar locations in local boroughs where theatre is not usually performed.  

I Wonder If… will be devised by the company and directed by Daniel Bailey, with movement direction by Ricardo Da Silva, design consultation by QianEr Jin, musical direction and composition by Shakira Stellar and dramaturgy by Shereen Jasmin Phillips. The company stage manager is Sylvia Darkwa-Ohemeng, the deputy stage manager is Emily Behague and the sound operator is Lateef Salvador Oshinowo. The cast includes John Rwothomach and Shakira Stellar.

I Wonder If… will go on sale later in the year.

Young Vic presents


Book by Laiona Michelle. Music and Lyrics by Greg Dean Borowsky and Shaun Borowsky. Directed by Schele Williams. In proud partnership with the Mandela family 

Co-Produced by special arrangement with Nandi Mandela, Luvuyo Madasa, Shaun Hurwitz, Ronen Zekry, Greg Dean Borowsky, Shaun Borowsky and Brian & Dayna Lee

Main House

28 November – 4 February 2023

“A new spirit has gripped our nation!”

“Together is where tomorrow’s promise lies”

A revolutionary new musical that tells the story of Mandela the man and Mandela the movement. Infused with the rhythms and spirit of South Africa, Mandela shines a light on the South African people’s courageous fight for their liberation. For 27 years, Mandela and his comrades sacrificed their freedom and their families paid the price. It is a story of determination, hope and how the world rallied to free him and his people. The production is presented in proud partnership with Nandi Mandela, Luvuyo Madasa and the Mandela family.

The book is by Laiona Michelle, with music & lyrics by Greg Dean Borowsky & Shaun Borowsky, additional music & lyrics by Bongi Duma, directed by Schele Williams and choreography by Gregory Maqoma, orchestration and musical supervision by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, casting by Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG and developed in proud partnership with Nandi Mandela, Luvuyo Madasa and the Mandela family. Cast and further creative team to be announced.

Nandi Mandela (Granddaughter of Nelson Mandela) says:

As my grandfather once said, music has the power to free us to dream, to unite people as one voice, and we hope that our musical will do just that. We are so proud to be bringing his story to the stage, with our brilliant creative team led by Greg and Shaun Borowsky, Laiona Michelle, Bongi Duma, Gregory Maqoma and Schele Williams in a way that honours and celebrates Madiba, for who he was – a grandfather, a father, a man who tried to do the best that he could during his journey on earth. We hope that my grandfather’s story, of a man from humble beginnings who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, will resonate with audiences far and wide, and communicate his message of hope – that we are all capable of doing great things, as long as we are true and authentic to ourselves. 

Luvuyo Madasa (Great Grandson of Nelson Mandela) says:

Mandela is a story of hearts and minds, the result of an incredible journey that we have been walking with Greg and Shaun Borowsky for the past seven years. Together, we will invite people to the Young Vic to see who Madiba was, who his family were and what they meant to him, the sacrifices they made and the many unsung heroes that journeyed alongside Mandela as he became a global, political icon. By sharing his tale in this way, we hope that people from all walks of life will see the story of my great grandfather in a new light and recognise that he was just a human being following his path and perhaps, this can inspire many more of us to follow in his footsteps.

Mandela will be broadcast live for four performances as part of Best Seat in Your Housethe Young Vic’s immersive multi-camera player that allows audience members to pick their preferred camera angle during the live show. The broadcast experience is designed uniquely for the production, with multiple cameras positioned to offer unique perspectives of the show. The broadcast will be available worldwide. Captions, audio description and BSL-interpretation will be available for every stream.

Relaxed Performance: 4 January 2023, 7.30pm

Socially Distanced Performance: 21 December 2022, 7.30pm

BSL Performance: 13 December 2022 & 12 January 2023, 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance: 19 December 2022,10 & 24 January 2023, 7.30pm

Captioned Performance: 15 December 2022 & 5 January 2023, 7.30pm

Best Seat in Your House broadcasts: 19, 20 & 21 January 2023, 7.30pm and 21 January 2023, 2.30pm

Mandela will go on sale later in the year.


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