Despina joined the Young Vic in March 2018, appointed by Kwame Kwei-Armah who began his tenure earlier that year. She has been instrumental in shaping the theatre’s strategic, financial and producing processes under his new artistic leadership.
As Executive Director, Despina has overseen a roster of work at the Young Vic including the critically-acclaimed Death of a Salesman, its West End transfer and ‘scratch’ performances during the closure of the Picadilly Theatre, as well as sell-out runs of numerous shows including The Convert, Fairview, Bronx Gothic and Draw Me Close. In 2020, she worked to secure essential stabilisation funding from the UK Government via Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund as it navigated the pandemic year, ensuring the reopening of the Young Vic to celebrate the theatre’s covid-compliant 50th anniversary event. In 2021, Despina and Kwame reopened the theatre for live performances once again, and together spearheaded the launch of the YV’s Best Seat in Your House broadcast initiative.
Despina is passionate about theatre and the role it can play in unlocking creative potential in emerging artists and communities. Throughout her tenure, she has supported the Young Vic Directors Program through its strategic development – including an entire year of largely online delivery – and championed funding for Taking Part as it continues to work with the local community. Alongside Kwame, she has been instrumental in protecting the accessible ticket pricing model of the theatre and introducing £5 first previews to Main House performances.
Despina Tsatsas said:
“The Young Vic is a truly extraordinary theatre, and I feel very lucky to have been able to be part of its history, especially in its 50th year. It’s been a huge privilege to witness from close quarters the inventive, ambitious and exceptional leadership that Kwame brings to work every day and I know that throughout his ongoing tenure the Young Vic will continue to be at the vanguard of our sector.”
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic, said:
“Despina has been the most amazing partner one could ever ask for. Often Artistic Directors are the ones who get the attention, but anything that we may have achieved over the last three years is due, in a large part, to Despina’s brilliance, dedication, and her focus on innovation and care. She will be so very missed, but she will always remain part of the YV team.”
Glenn Earle, Chair of the Board said:
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank Despina for her extraordinary achievements at the Young Vic in her time here. Working closely with Kwame and supporting him steadfastly throughout, Despina has helped to guide our very special theatre and company through some of the most challenging times for our sector in living memory. Despina has had a huge role in ensuring that the Young Vic is today in excellent shape to meet the challenges and opportunities of the next phase of our development.”
Despina will leave her position at the end of the year, with a replacement being sought in the coming months.