Time Out says
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This edgy Waterloo theatre has a formidable artistic reputation
The Young Vic has closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the productions ‘Orfeus’ and ‘Conundrum’ rescheduled to a later date. ‘The Second Woman’ has been cancelled with LIFT 2020, although it may return in 2021. Currently the next show schedule is ‘Hamlet’, from July 4.
The Young Vic more than lives up to its name, with its slick modern exterior, buzzing bar, and a forward-looking line-up that makes it feel metaphorically as well as literally miles away from London's fustier West End houses. Under current boss Kwame Kwei-Armah, who cut his teeth on the New York theatre scene, it's thriving, with a renewed focus on connecting with the Southwark community that surrounds it, and on championing works by people of colour.
Kwei-Armah is building on the legacy of the theatre's longtime artistic director David Lan, who stepped down in 2018 after 18 years in the job. During that time, he oversaw a major renovation which created the current box office area from an old butcher's shop (you can still see traces of the original tiles), spruced up the theatre's fully flexible 420-seater auditorium, and added two smaller studio spaces, the Maria and the Clare. And he presided over an eclectic programme with a striking international focus.
The Young Vic's popular Cut bar and restaurant is perma-busy with crowds drawn by its bright, airy set-up and central location. But it's just the most public-facing part of the theatre's many efforts to get people through its doors. The Taking Part team puts on parallel productions devised by local residents, building on a community focus that's been present from the theatre's earliest days. It started life as a youth-focused offshoot of the National Theatre in 1969, then housed in the Old Vic down the road, and its current breeze-block building was hastily thrown up in 1970. It was only designed to last for five years, but after a full-on refurb and with an impressive artistic legacy to hold onto, it looks all set to last for another half century.