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David Lan: ‘I thought A View From the Bridge was too adventurous for audiences’

David Lan, artistic director of the Young Vic. Photo: Simon Annand
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Young Vic artistic director David Lan has admitted that he didn’t initially believe that Ivo van Hove’s production of A View From the Bridge could transfer to the West End because it was “too adventurous” for audiences.

“Bringing something to the West End isn’t the only way of celebrating a good show, but sadly I didn’t think it likely that this show would come to the West End. I didn’t anticipate there being such a big audience for work as adventurous as this. I got that wrong,” he told The Stage.

Lan went on to say that the show’s transfer from the Young Vic was evidence that “there is a mass audience for deep, complex, grown-up theatre, and that’s very exciting”.

“I hope the fact that this production has had so much appreciation from audiences will encourage people not to assume that there isn’t an audience for work which is emotionally challenging and complex,” he added.

Lan was speaking at the press night of the show, which stars Mark Strong and Nicola Walker and is currently running at Wyndham’s Theatre.

Meanwhile, van Hove added that the focus on new writing in the UK sets it apart from the rest of the world.

The director, who runs the Toneelgroep company in Amsterdam, also praised UK theatre for taking more risks than its European counterparts by producing new work on main stages.

“The focus and interest here – from theatre makers and audiences – in new texts is what makes the UK special. It has a really special place in the world. The fact that the National Theatre brings new texts on to their stages for hundreds of people; that would not be possible in Holland for example,” he said.

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