The Playhouse Theatre is to be reconfigured for The Jungle, a moving and provocative look inside the former migrant camp in Calais.
The Jungle, which is supported by Bruno Wang Productions, earned five-star reviews when it had a short run at the Young Vic last year.
Now members of the audience will sit at café tables and benches, and the dress circle will be renamed “the cliffs of Dover”.
Critics have called it “one of the most vital productions of the year” and “a front-line drop-in drama”, which asks you to “look to your heart and enlarge it”.
The play is the creation of two young playwrights, Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy, who founded the Good Chance project, an award-winning theatre company that works with dispossessed communities in temporary spaces.
“We always thought it was a truthful, beautiful, small piece, so we were kind of blown away by the response and the impact it was having on audiences,” Joe Robertson said in an interview with the Guardian. “We felt at the end of the run that it had to be seen by more people, so the fact we can now do that in one of London’s beautiful theatres… it feels right. We’re thrilled.”
His colleague Joe Murphy added: “We want this to be a play that doesn’t try to preach or teach but does provoke debate, because it is one we need to have. Many, many people are still arriving in Europe, still arriving in Britain, and the question of ‘how do we live together?’ is as vital now as it was when we first arrived in Calais.”
The play is co-directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) and Justin Martin (Skylight), and most of the large cast from the Young Vic are returning, including Ben Turner as the Afghan chef and Alex Lawther as a well-spoken volunteer.
David Lan, artistic director at the Young Vic, said he was delighted that it would be seen by more people. “It was clear from the start that The Jungle would be one of the most provocative and significant shows I’ve produced. It tells a powerful, real-life story that matters hugely to everyone.”