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Artistic Director of the Young Vic: Kwame Kwei-Armah

Festival of Ideas


Friday 3 May 2019
6.30 — 7.30pm

This event has now ended

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Kwame Kwei-Armah

Photo credit: Leon Puplett

Artistic Director of the Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah, talks to writer and broadcaster, Sarah Crompton, about his lifelong passion for theatre and the joys and challenges of opening it up to a wider audience.

Multi-talented Kwame Kwei-Armah has worked as an actor, director, writer and producer. When he took over the Young Vic in 2018, he made a commitment to bring new audiences to the theatre and to promote greater diversity, both on and off stage. His first production at the Young Vic, Twelfth Night, attracted both popular and critical acclaim.

Kwei-Armah talks about his vision for the Young Vic, his passion for storytelling and the positive role that art can play in troubled times.

He first achieved fame playing paramedic Finlay Newton in the BBC’s hospital drama Casualty. A year after leaving the series he became the second black British playwright to have his work on in the West End, when his play, Elmina’s Kitchen, transferred from the National Theatre. It grappled with families and crime in Hackney’s so-called “Murder Mile” at a time when the stories of poor black and Asian communities rarely made it onto London’s stages. He subsequently wrote and directed productions for the Donmar, Tricycle and National Theatre before being offered the position of Artistic Director at the Baltimore Centre Stage. During his tenure in America, he cemented his reputation as a dynamic and innovative cultural leader engaging with the social and political issues of the day including Black Lives Matter. In 2012 he was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama.

The son of Windrush immigrants, he has recently produced a series 15-minute films for BBC Four, inspired by his parents experience of immigration and integration, from the 1950s to the present day.

This talk will be followed by an audience Q&A.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Friday 3 May 2019

6.30 — 7.30pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£20, £12