The Old Vic has announced that Matthew Warchus will direct Andrew Scott in Noёl Coward’s provocative comedy, Present Laughter, opening on 25 June, with previews from 17 June 2019. The cast also includes Luke Thallon, Sophie Thompson, Suzie Toase and Indira Varma. Director, Matthew Warchus, said: ‘Originally titled Sweet Sorrow, Noël Coward’s most autobiographical work is a giddy and passionate observation of narcissism, hero worship and loneliness. Most of my favourite plays are comedies … [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
There’s tea; and there’s high tea. Similarly, I would suggest, there’s pantomime; and there’s high pantomime. Wise Children would seem to fall into the latter category as it differentiates from ordinary common or garden pantomime by certain distinguishing features: it’s not performed exclusively at Christmas; it inhabits a prestigious London theatre; it has a troupe of top-class actors, musicians and dancers; it has a big-name adaptor/director; there’s an absence of C list celebrity (soap opera) … [Read more...]
A modern-day assassination in the heart of London. In the strange coming together of high-stakes global politics and radioactive villainy, a man pays with his life. At this time of unnerving global crises and rumblings of a new Cold War, A Very Expensive Poison sends us careering through the shadowy world of international espionage from the townhouses of Fitzrovia to the brothels of Soho. With dazzling inventiveness, Lucy Prebble (The Effect, ENRON) reimagines Luke Harding’s jaw-dropping … [Read more...]
Let's have all the skeletons out of the closet, today, of all days! It's 23 April, Shakespeare's birthday. In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance - twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river - are celebrating their 70th birthday. Over the river in Chelsea, their father and greatest actor of his generation Melchior Hazard turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine. If, in fact, he's still alive. And if, in truth, Melchior is their real father after all? A big, bawdy … [Read more...]
The Old Vic announces the full line up for its 200th birthday cabaret Variety Night on Saturday 12 May. This one-off event will see the auditorium transformed for its 200th birthday into a cabaret space. Harking back to The Old Vic’s days as a Music Hall in the 1880s, the evening will see the return of unadulterated entertainment as a mix of new and established talent is presented. Joining the previously announced sketch comedy duo The Pin; the company of upcoming hip-hop musical Sylvia; The … [Read more...]