The Young Vic is a theatre on the Cut, located near the South Bank, in the London Borough of Lambeth. The theatre’s philosophy is to “produce great plays for great audiences now and in the future”.
The actor turned award-winning British playwright, is currently director of Baltimore’s Center Stage, will take over his new role next year.
Kwei-Armah was born in Hillingdon Hospital and named Ian Roberts. He changed his name when he was aged 19 after tracing his family history (in which he first became interested as a child after watching the TV series Roots), through the slave trade back to his ancestral African roots in Ghana, descendent of Coromantins. His parents were born in Grenada, then a British colony.
Kwei-Armah wrote his first play, Bitter Herb, in 1998 and went on to be only the second black British playwright to have his work on at the West End, with his play Elmina’s Kitchen, which grappled with family and crime in Hackney’s so-called murder mile.
He will take over from David Lan, who will have been director of the Young Vic for 18 years when he steps down next year. Lan described the choice of Kwei-Amah to be his successor as “inspired”.
“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,” Kwei-Armah said. “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,” comments Kwei-Armah.