(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 10/19.)
Forty years ago, the Young Vic opened its doors with a production of Scapino!, an updated Molière play starring Jim Dale. Tickets were cheap at seven-and-sixpence (the equivalent of 40p). Rock music played in the foyer. The bar served high-class hamburgers. Frank Dunlop, whose brainchild the whole project was, had set out to attract what he called "the lost generation of teenagers". And the director's guiding principle was to offer them nothing but the best. Shakespeare, Sophocles, Beckett and Genet were all part of the opening seasons alongside music-theatre from Stravinsky, Henze and the Who. And, as a dedicated European, Dunlop invited experimental companies from the continent, which occasionally landed him in hot water – not least because the Young Vic began as an offshoot of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company at the Old Vic.
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