Young Vic

The collaboration between the Genesis Foundation and the Young Vic has developed the careers of some of the UK’s most dynamic directors who have gone on to make extraordinary work across art forms, win awards, grow an established practice, and become great cultural leaders. The partnership dates back 20 years to when a very young Rufus Norris — now Artistic Director of the National Theatre — became the Young Vic’s first Genesis Director. 

The Genesis Foundation currently funds the Genesis Network, the Genesis Fellowship and the Genesis Future Directors Award as part of the Young Vic’s Creators Program.

A photo of Kwame Kwei-Armah stood outside against a blue tiled wall. He has short dark hair, and is wearing glasses, and a dark green and black tartan coat. He has a neutral expression, and is looking directly at the camera.

“The Directors Program, the Genesis Network and the Genesis Future Directors Awards profoundly influence everything we do at the Young Vic. It provides a unique opportunity for early-career artists to take their work to the next level, and our entire industry has prospered thanks to 20 years of exceptional talent.” 

Kwame Kwei-Armah
Artistic Director, Young Vic Theatre

Genesis Network

Established in 2003, the Genesis Network was one of the first online spaces for artists to meet, find collaborators and find work.  The network began with 20 members and over the last 20 years has grown to a community of 2,500 artists and producers.  

Former Artistic Director David Lan approached the Foundation with an idea to create a hub for directors so they could think seriously and playfully about their craft. In 2010, the project evolved into the Directors Program and then in 2020, within Kwame Kwei-Armah’s tenure, to the Creators Program. The network provides theatre-makers with news on opportunities for work, training and bursaries, and enables them to meet other theatre-makers, share ideas and develop a nationwide support network.

Genesis Fellowship

Since 2010, there have been seven Genesis Fellows selected to work closely with the Young Vic’s Artistic Director and develop as directors while participating in the theatre’s programming and artistic planning. Each Genesis Fellow also contributes to the Creators Program and mentors recipients of the Genesis Future Directors Award.  

The current Genesis Fellow is Taio Lawson.

Former Genesis Fellows are: Jennifer Tang (Further than the Furthest Thing, 2023), Nadia Latif (Fairview/My England, 2018), Gbolahan Obisesan (Cuttin’ It and Sus, 2016), Natalie Abrahami (Wings, Happy Days and Ah, Wilderness!, 2014), Carrie Cracknell (Macbeth co-directed with Lucy Guerin, 2012) and Joe Hill-Gibbins (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, 2010).

Genesis Future Directors Award

The Genesis Future Directors Award nurtures and develops emerging directors, by providing them with an invaluable opportunity to explore and develop their craft while creating their first, fully resourced production in the Young Vic’s Clare Theatre, without the scrutiny of the media. The production is fully supported by the Young Vic’s creative, administrative and production teams.

The 2024 Genesis Future Directors Award winner is Annie Kershaw, who will direct The Girl in the Machine by Stef Smith in Autumn 2024.

Book tickets for The Girl in the Machine.

Past recipients of Genesis Future Directors Awards include Andrea Ling (The Earthworks, 2024), Diyan Zora (Klippies, 2021), Dadiow Lin (In a Word, 2019), Caitriona Shoobridge (Ivan and the Dogs, 2019), Lekan Lawal (Wild East, 2018), Debbie Hannan (Things of Dry Hours, 2018), John R. Wilkinson (Winter, 2017), Nancy Medina (Yellowman, 2017), Luke Skilbeck (The Bear/The Proposal, 2016), Bryony Shanahan (Trade, 2016), Ola Ince (Dutchman, 2015), Rikki Henry (Creditors, 2015), Tinuke Craig (Dirty Butterfly, 2014), Finn Beames (Man: Three plays by Tennessee Williams, 2014), Matthew Xia (Sizwe Banzi is Dead, 2013), Ben Kidd (The Shawl, 2012).

Past projects

From 2001 – 2005, the Genesis Foundation and Young Vic ran a series of productions which enabled directors to work on a larger scale, with larger casts and longer rehearsal time.

There were 18 Direct Action productions in total, including Afore Night Come by David Rudkin and directed by Rufus Norris (2001), Simply Heavenly by Langston Hughes and directed by Josette Bushell-Mingo (2003), When the World Was Green by Sam Shephard and Joseph Chaikin and directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi (2003), and Some Voices by Joe Penhall and directed by Matthew Dunster (2004).

Find out more about the Young Vic’s Creators Program