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Inside Fun Twelfth Night takes you behind the scenes to give you an insight into how the production came to life. From the original idea and the people behind the script to the creatives and production teams who do amazing work to put the production on our stage, Inside Twelfth Night explores how different elements come together to form what you experience at the Young Vic

Our Twelfth Night

This musical adaptation of Twelfth Night began life in 2016 as part of the Public Theater’s Public Works Programme, the premise of which is to make the people of New York creators, not just spectators. Kwame conceived and directed this show, alongside the Public Theatre's artistic director Oscar Eustis, and it was performed in Central Park. It is the opening show of Kwame's first season at the Young Vic.

The ambition to have local community at the heart of the work of the Young Vic has long been held, and realised, by the Young Vic’s Taking Part Team. For Twelfth Night, we have been working with over 60 people in the community chorus since July, along with Kwame, Lizzi Gee, our choreographer and Sean Green, our musical director.  They are not trained actors; they are our wonderful neighbours and friends performing alongside a sensational cast of professional actors and musicians.

Our friends and neighbours, young and old, are the people who make the Young Vic the extraordinary theatre it is.  A place where people feel welcome, at home. A place where every voice is listened to, every story is interesting and everyone is an artist.

Imogen Brodie, Director of Taking Part

Rehearsal Diary: Eva Sampson

Eva Sampson is the Jerwood Assistant Director on Fun Home. As part of their role in the production they keep a diary of some of the key moments which happen throughout rehearsals. Eva kindly shared an excerpt from her diary about the first day of rehearsals.

It’s Tuesday and we’re coming to the end of our first sweep through of the play – delving deeper into the truths and wounds of each character. Sounds strange with it being a comedy, but we’re discovering that every character has a heavy sense of loneliness and is searching for love. The cast have funny bones so, in a way, the comedy is the easy part! This detailed work will provide us with a template for the coming weeks.

Kwame is always keen to have two (or more) ‘trains’ running at once – the more interpretations at this point the better. Truth is not binary after all! It’s okay to fail - more than that, failure is important. And to allow us to fail better - Kwame has created a ‘Sorry Jar’, meaning this is an apology free zone. No idea, question or confusion should start or end with a sorry. Even the beginning of a “Sor…“is unacceptable and you’ll inevitably hear a round of – “Aaaahh, 10p!”.

Today, we’ve been asking active questions of the characters (…that and clarifying the final score of a really intense volleyball match post lunch!). We’re in Act 5 now and this is where a lot of plot happens and fast! We need to ensure that we hit every beat and keep the reins on the scene until the last second. We are questioning how much knowledge each character has when entering a scene and therefore how much control they have during it and whether that shifts, accelerates or depletes.

When we begin the second sweep through of the play each actor will look to investigate something different – it may be removing an accent or a trait they’ve been driven by (like ‘pomposity’ for instance) or simply adding new show shoes. There is a zest to dive back into the play again and again - discovering new gems or moments once removed, that we miss.

The community chorus are in later, they come in twice a week (Tuesday night’s and Saturday daytimes), and their energy and enthusiasm is just so great. Everyone is working so arduously, drilling Lizzi’s choreography and revisiting Sean’s harmonies. There is a genuine joy and excitement to be bringing this story, in this particular way, to the Young Vic main stage.

Viola's Soliloquy

Kwame Kwei-Armah talks about Twelfth Night on the YV's Off Book Podcast