The Old Vic has today announced the full cast and creative team for Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Richard Jones (Endgame, Alcina). Joining Olivier Award-winners Bertie Carvel (Professor Henry Higgins) and Patsy Ferran (Eliza Doolittle) are Lizzy Connolly (Clara Eynsford Hill), Grace Cookey-Gam (Mrs Eynsford Hill), Steven Dykes (Ensemble), Michael Gould (Colonel Pickering), Liz Jadav (Ensemble), Penny Layden (Mrs Pearce), Sylvestra Le Touzel (Mrs Higgins), John Marquez … [Read more...]
Old Vic Theatre
The Old Vic is one of the oldest theatres in London, being built in 1818, and is popular throughout the English-speaking world. Often referred to as “the actors’ theatre”, as many of the leading performing artists of the last century have acted on its stage, including Sir Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Sybil Thorndyke, Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Kevin Spacey, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, Alec Guiness, Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Michael Redgrave and Peter O’Toole.
The Theatre was built on former marsh land that was Lambeth Marsh and it took many years to construct due to a severe lack of finance. The Foundation stone was placed by the Prince of Saxe Coburg and Princess Charlotte of Wales in September 1816, thus the Old Vic started life as The Royal Coburg, promising the nobility and the gentry “entirely new entertainment”. The opening night in 1818 included a Melodrama, an Asiatic ballet and a Harlequinade. This followed in 1831 with Edmund Kean plays Richard III, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear during a six-night engagement. In 1833 the theatre re-opened ‘for the encouragement of Native Dramatic Talent’, and named The Royal Victoria, in honour of Princess Victoria. Subsequently in 1871 the theatre once again re-opens and this time as The New Victoria. During the decade it was twice put up for sale by auction, before closing down. In 1880 a leading Victorian social reformist Emma Cons, opens the theatre as The Royal Victoria Coffee and Music Hall. The word ‘theatre’ is dropped supposedly because of its ‘impure associations’. In 1884 philanthropist Samuel Morley prevents the theatre from closing down and renames it The Royal Victoria Hall and Coffee Tavern.
In 1914 Shakespeare's productions make their debut at the theatre, under the direction of Ben Greet. From 1920-25 under the direction of Robert Atkins all 36 Shakespeare plays in the First Folio are performed. During 1925 West End Star Edith Evans joins the company.
From 1929-31 John Gielgud’s Hamlet and Richard II established him as the new Shakespearean star. During 1932 Peggy Ashcroft joins the company to play Rosalind, Portia, Juliet and Miranda. Michael Redgrave and Edith Evans in As you like it.
During 1936 Michael Redgrave, Alec Guinness and Laurence Olivier join the company. During the Second World War in 1941 the theatre was very badly damaged by German bombs.
Following renovations the theatre opens again in 1950 with a performance of Twelfth Night. During 1957 Judi Dench joins for the first of the four seasons. Her roles include Ophelia, Hermia, and Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Romeo and Juliet. John Stride and Judi Dench star in Romeo and Juliet in 1960.
The impressive Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith star in Othello in 1964. Sadly in 1963 The Old Vic company disbands. Over the next thirteen years company regulars include Albert Finney, Anthony Hopkins, Geraldine McEwan, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith.
During 1977 the theatre is leased to visiting companies with the first production being The White Devil, starring Glenda Jackson.
In 1982 the theatre is put up for sale and bought by Canadian businessman Ed Mirvish who restored it to its former glory. The facade of the building is founded on an 1830 engraving, with the auditorium on the designs of 1871.
During 1998 the Mirvish family wish to sell the theatre. There are proposals for altering it into a themed pub, a bingo hall or a lap-dancing club. In answer to the public demand and political pressure, the theatre is taken over by The Old Vic Theatre Trust 2000, a registered charity set up by Sally Greene.
Coming to The Old Vic Almeida’s production of The Iceman Cometh is transferred and is a big success. Kevin Spacey deservedly wins the Evening Standard Drama and Olivier Awards as Best Actor (1999). With The Old Vic presently back to its former glory the theatre has continued to produce spectacular shows.
Old Vic Theatre
103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB
Old Vic Seating Plan
Venue and Travel Information
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
Tube Lines: Waterloo & City, Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee
Directions from nearest tube: (7mins) Take Mepham Street (100 metres) down to Waterloo Road. Turn right on Waterloo Road, but keep left as the theatre is 100 metres further along on the opposite corner.
Railway Station: Waterloo
Bus Numbers: (Waterloo Road) 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 521, X68; (Mepham Street) 211, 243, 507
Night Bus Numbers: (Waterloo Road) 139, 176, 188, N1, N68, N171; (Mepham Street) 243
Car Park: Waterloo Station (4mins)
Within Congestion Zone: Yes
Venue Facilities: Air conditioned, Bar, Disabled toilets, Infrared hearing loop, Toilets, Wheelchair accessible
Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Green Wing) is to star as Ebenezer Scrooge in Matthew Warchus’ big-hearted, smash-hit production of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol, joyously adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). The Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol returns on 4 December, with previews from 23 November. The Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol fills the auditorium to the brim with mince pies, music and merriment. A unique staging immerses the audience in … [Read more...]
'Go and get two bicycle-wheels.' 'There are no more bicycle-wheels.' 'What have you done with your bicycle?' 'I never had a bicycle.' Nothing stirs outside. In a bare room, Hamm, an old, blind tyrant, is locked in a stalemate with his servant Clov. Interrupted only by the nostalgic musings of Hamm's ancient, dustbin-dwelling parents, this bleakly funny double act cling stubbornly to their routine of casual savagery and mutual dependence. Richard Jones (The Hairy Ape, Into the Woods) … [Read more...]
All My Sons, Arthur Miller's colossal dinosaur of a play, will be revisited for centuries to come. Like the works of Shakespeare and Ibsen before him, it depicts the evil committed by ordinary men, the carnage that ensues, and the suffering of those who collude and look the other way. First performed in New York in 1947, All My Sons carries with it the fallout of World War Two, when suspicion and guilt followed those men who were classified as unfit for military service, hence were not called … [Read more...]
Matthew Warchus directs Andrew Scott in Noël Coward's provocative comedy, Present Laughter. The cast also includes Luke Thallon, Sophie Thompson, Suzie Toase and Indira Varma. 'I knew how deep your longing must be to have someone really to love you, to be with you, when I saw that dreadful prostitute come out of the spare room.' 'That was not a prostitute. It was the husband of one of my dearest friends!' Booking Period: 17 June - 10 August 2019 Running Time: To be confirmed Age … [Read more...]