The Young Vic started fifty years ago
to put on classic plays for younger crowds
and hence its rough, Bohemian appearance.
The cost-effective breeze-block building was
erected in a crater which a bomb
had made in nineteen forty-one. The names
of those who died are on a plaque inside.
The architects were employees of London
County Council, Howell Killick Partridge
Amis and this temporary venue,
built to last four years, still stands. At first
it was an off-shoot of 'the Nash-nal, darling'
ie National Theatre as created
by the post-war luvvie circle of
Olivier and friends. The Young Vic was
established by the impresario
Frank Dunlop as a theatre-in-the-round,
unusual then, and audiences flocked.
The name is conscious mimicry of grown-up
entertainment at the Old Vic down
the road but otherwise unlinked.
Who's performed here? Judi Dench, Vanessa
Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen,
John Malkovich and countless others of
the highest rank. To some, including me,
it is the best loved theatre in town.