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Center Stage's Kwame Kwei-Armah named artistic director of London's Young Vic

Center Stage's Kwame Kwei-Armah named artistic director of London's Young Vic
Kwame Kwei-Armah, outgoing artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage. (Peter Hegeman)

When Kwame Kwei-Armah announced in June that he would not be staying on as Baltimore Center Stage artistic director after the 2017-2018 season, his seventh with the company, he said he had no firm plan on what the next chapter of his career would be. He has one now.

Kwei-Armah will become artistic director of the Young Vic in his native London starting in February. He succeeds David Lan, who held the post for 18 years. Initially started as part of the National Theatre, the Young Vic has been a separate entity since 1974.

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In a news release issued Tuesday, Kwei-Armah said: "To walk into the Young Vic is to come face to face with everything I love about theatre, so I am beyond humbled, if not a little scared. But to lead this magnificent theatre at this time in our nation's history, after such a visionary as David, excites me beyond words. I can't wait to get started."

Patrick McKenna, chair of the Young Vic's board, said that the Kwei-Armah was the unanimous choice of the search committee.

His "wealth of experience directing, writing and working with the local community in Baltimore and beyond will translate beautifully to his new role leading the work on the Young Vic's three stages as well as its pioneering outreach and education work in London," McKenna said.

A search is still underway for the next Center Stage artistic director.

Meanwhile, Kwei-Armah will remain with the company through January and have input into planning for the 2018-19 season. He is also still scheduled to direct the final Center Stage production in the spring — the world premiere of a work not yet announced.

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