Leading director and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah has been announced as the new artistic director of London’s Young Vic theatre.
He will take over in February next year from David Lan who revealed in June that he would be stepping down in 2018 after 18 years in the role.
Kwame will announce his first season of work as artistic director in the new year.
The London-born director and playwright is the outgoing artistic director of Center Stage in Baltimore – the state theatre of Maryland – where he has directed shows extensively.
Directing credits also include New York City’s Public Theater and Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. His production of Kemp Powers’s One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse was nominated for an Olivier Award for best new play.
His works as playwright include One Love at Birmingham Rep, Marley and Beneatha’s Place at Center Stage, Fix Up and Statement of Regret at the National Theatre, Elmina’s Kitchen at the National and the Garrick Theatre, and Let There Be Love and Seize the Day at the Tricycle Theatre. In 2012, he was awarded an OBE for services to drama.
He said: “To walk into the Young Vic is to come face to face with everything I love about theatre, so I am beyond humbled, if not a little scared. But to lead this magnificent theatre at this time in our nation’s history, after such a visionary as David, excites me beyond words. I can’t wait to get started.”
Patrick McKenna, chair of the Young Vic’s board, added: “After meeting Kwame, the panel was unanimous in its decision to appoint him as the next leader for this remarkable institution. Kwame’s wealth of experience directing, writing and working with the local community in Baltimore and beyond will translate beautifully to his new role leading the work on the Young Vic’s three stages as well as its pioneering outreach and education work in London.”
David Lan said: “The choice the panel has made is inspired. I welcome it wholeheartedly and will do whatever I can to support Kwame in the early days as he finds his own distinctive way to keep the Young Vic one of the great producing theatres of this country and the world.”