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Young Vic to turn A Doll's House and A Season in the Congo into films

A Doll's House

Feature by Jack Foley

THE Young Vic is to turn two of its successful stage productions into original films.

The idea is to complete the films using most of the stage version’s cast and crew.

The first will be A Season in the Congo, which will reunite actor Chiwetel Ejiofor – currently on Oscar-tipped form for Twelve Years A Slave with director Joe Wright.

The second will be an adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (pictured), loosely inspired by Carrie Cracknell’s staging which is now playing in the West End to packed houses.

The Young Vic’s move into filmmaking was set up following a successful collaboration between the theatre and the Guardian newspaper which saw directors, writers and actors being commissioned to make short, “bold” spin-off films of their stage productions.

These shorts can be viewed on the websites of the Guardian/Observer and the Young Vic and have so far attracted tens of thousands of views.

This, in turn, prompted David Lan, artistic director of the Young Vic, to say: “Our new crazy thing is to say to our theatre directors who’ve never worked in film: ‘OK, you’ve done the show, now make a film.’”

First up is A Season in the Congo, which aims to generate awareness of the initiative by employing the services of two UK filmmaking heavyweights: Ejiofor and Wright.

To be shot in Kinshasa, the film will offer an epic ret-elling of the 1960 Congo rebellion and the assassination of the charismatic political leader Patrice Lumumba, played by Ejiofor.

The play was originally written by Aimé Césaire.

Ahead of its shoot, a spin-off short film based on the play will be released in November.

A Doll’s House promises to see Hattie Morahan reprise her award-wininng role as a woman driven to abandon her children.

The Young Vic’s decision to embark upon such an ambitious enterprise is both to further raise its profile at a time when many theatres are exploring different ways of promoting themselves, as well as to give audiences an opportunity to see work they might not otherwise see.