The Young Vic has announced its new 2024 season – and the departure of artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, who’ll leave the job after six years, joining a slew of London artistic directors who’ve stepped down recently.
Following in the footsteps of the legendary David Lan who ran the theatre for 18 years, Kwei-Armah’s tenure was solid but it never felt like he quite put his own stamp on a theatre – probably in large part because the theatre’s programme slimmed down under him, marred by financial difficulties that arose from Covid and a real-terms loss of government funding (which he draws attention to in his departure statement). Nonetheless, there were some very high highs, notably the blockbuster success of the UK transfer of Daniel Fish’s radical reimagining of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Oklahoma!’, and last year’s astonishing 24-hour Ruth Wilson performance ‘The Second Woman’.
And now Kwei-Armah’s announced three very promising final shows that will join the imminent ‘Nachtland’ to make up a four-part 2024 season that takes us into the start of next year, when presumably a successor will be long in place.
The season will be dominated by two big musicals, the first of which is ‘Passing Strange’ (May 14-Jul 6), the UK premiere of the award-winning meta-musical from American musician Stew, an acclaimed, arty hybrid of rock concert, art installation and autobiographical storytelling that’ll be helmed by US director Liesl Tommy.
Next up is the brand new musical ‘A Face in the Crowd’ (Sep 10-Nov 9), an adaptation of the classic 1957 film about a drifter who is turned into a star by a local radio and whose ego spirals out of control. It’s a collaboration between the great musician Elvis Costello and acclaimed US playwright Sarah Ruhr, and will be directed by Kwei-Armah, his last show for the Vic.
Finally, the generally excellent Lyndsey Turner – who recently directed ‘The Witches’ at the NT – will helm a revival of Lillian Hellman’s all-time classic ‘The Little Foxes’ (Dec 4-Feb 8), about an already wealthy family torn apart by money. And that’s your lot for now: Kwei-Armah will step down in the autumn, so plenty of time to choose a replacement – the search for whom starts now.
Public booking will open on February 19.
The best new London theatre shows to book for in 2024.
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