Listing Threat to U.K.'s Young Vic Plans

News   Listing Threat to U.K.'s Young Vic Plans

As reported in The Stage, The Young Vic's planned redevelopment has been thrown into doubt, following the intervention of the Twentieth Century Society, which is believed to be trying to have the Young Vic listed as a matter of urgency.

A "spot" listing of the building — a decision that will be made by the Arts Minister, Baroness Blackstone, based on a recommendation by English Heritage — would seriously compromise, to put it mildly, the Young Vic's plans.

The Young Vic was designed, 30 years ago, as a temporary home, but this seems to carry little weight with the Twentieth Century Society, and the issue of listing depends on whether a building is of interest or architectural value — not on whether its original builders planned or hoped for it to be around for any great length of time or not.

In listing terms, then, the fact that the original architect would not mind having the place pulled down (though the Young Vic's striking auditorium is to be preserved and used under Lan's plans in any case) is irrelevant.

The Theatres Trust's director, Peter Longman, accepts the Young Vic's need to move on from its inadequate "temporary" situation in order to face the challenges of twenty-first century theatre. After all, the Trust is there to help improve theatres as well as preserve them, and this will certainly help the theatre's case when the issue comes to be argued, but — win or lose — the Young Vic will be saddled with considerable extra costs as a result of this attempted listing.

—By Paul Webb Theatrenow