Now Reading
YV Unpacked I Wonder If… Director Daniel Bailey talks theatre with ALT

YV Unpacked I Wonder If… Director Daniel Bailey talks theatre with ALT

Fusing dance, music and dialogue to explore the complex beauty of human relationships, I Wonder If… is a dazzling new play directed by Daniel Bailey (Red Pitch) and devised by the Company

YV Unpacked was established in 2018 by Kwame Kwei-Armah, developed with the intention of reaching audiences who may find it more difficult to access theatre by taking professional work to them. Following the success of three YV Unpacked tours – Spring AwakeningShe Ventures, He Wins and Love Reign which were performed in community venues across Lambeth and Southwark including prisons, schools, care homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centres – Taking Part will tour I Wonder If… to similar locations in local boroughs where theatre is not usually performed. Daniel is also Associate Director of the Bush Theatre.

John Rwothomach and Danielle Kassaraté in I Wonder If…, Young Vic (c) Aaron Imuere

Is theatre becoming more accessible to young people and if so which are the hardest groups to reach?

I’m not entirely sure, I can speak for the Bush and the Young Vic as these are two buildings I’ve worked in recently and say yes they feel more accessible, with a choice of programmes and shows that appeal to Young People.

The hardest groups to reach are those who don’t engage with the art at school or through education so they have no reference unless they have parents who encourage them, or they have been proactive in seeking out the theatre.

What is it like being part of YV unpacked and why is it important?

It’s been a real pleasure to be a part of YV unpacked this year, Shereen (Jasmin Phillips – Director of Taking Part) and Alisha (Artry – Taking Part Producer) have revolutionised the rehearsal process and it’s been a huge benefit to us, the cast and crew, and something we’ll take into our practice forever more. We hope to have an impact on our audience too, and they also have something to take away from the show. Our purpose has been to bring joy and entertainment to different communities who might not have access to theatre for a number of reasons, to make a show that can travel and the quality doesn’t change at either venue and for us that is important; that we can share space and provide an experience in storytelling.

Why do you like working in the theatre?

Because it’s an intimate experience, a visceral one like no other. I love to tell stories and this is one of the many mediums we can tell it and get an instant response.

Did you always set out to direct?

I actually set out to do everything, I wanted to act, write, direct and play with lighting… I haven’t touched a lighting desk yet! And I’m sure my LX designers would like it to stay that way.

What are the main themes of the play?

Alternative realities, love, partnership, romance, friendships and different versions of ourselves.

What excites you right now in terms of diversity in the theatre and what change would you like to see?

What’s exciting is the amount of work by artists of the diaspora and how different and distinct those voices are! I’d love to see more collaboration between theatres from the African continent and more money and top-down strategy from the government to protect subsidised theatres.

Do you get to work with Kwame on YV unpacked if so what is that like?

Kwame is brilliant, for YV Unpacked: I Wonder If… I’ve been working with the YV Taking Part Team and they have been a revelation. They care so much about the work, the artists and most importantly the communities we engage with.

See Also

What has been some of the challenges and joys of role at the Bush Theatre?


Working on limited budgets… we have such exciting, ambitious writers and ideas that burst out at the seams but often we’re writing emails saying we cannot make that happen because there’s too many characters or some other financial reason. But in part this has also been a positive for us, we work within tight parameters but produce sensational shows, memorable shows that change the theatre landscape.


The joy of working with such dedicated people, they’re all artists in their own right, I love seeing our team at the Bush flourish and get the praise they deserve. Lynette (Linton) and Lauren (Clancy) have created a lasting legacy and I’m enjoying being a small part of that.

As a Director what kind of stories do you what to tell?

Stories that can move audiences, sometimes to reflect on their own experiences sometimes global experiences that are yet to be evaluated. I want people to feel activated, ready to do something or at least tell their stories. I’ve always had a mission to tell underrepresented stories specifically Black British and so far that is what I’ve done.

Where do you call home?

Ha! That’s a great question, home for me is literally where I have space of my own… So Jamaica, Ghana, England currently… and metaphorically wherever my family are.

Daniel Bailey directs YV Unpacked: I Wonder If…  at the Young Vic’s Maria Theatre from 24-29 October following a community tour in Lambeth and Southwark as part of Taking Part’s 25 anniversary year. Tickets are available at  Approx. 55 mins (no interval)