Matthew Warchus’ big-hearted, smash hit production of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol returns to The Old Vic opening on 5th December, with previews from 27 November, joyously adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Filling the auditorium to the brim with mince pies, music and merriment, a unique staging immerses the audience in this uplifting story for everyone aged 8+. In a version by Jack Thorne Director Matthew Warchus Set and … [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
50 days before The Old Vic turns 200, the theatre announces a host of celebratory activities, from free performances and a family-focused open house with comedy, stage make up demonstrations, puppetry workshops and a marching band; to a cabaret Birthday Variety Night. Birthday celebrations will run from Friday 11 May (the actual birthday) until Sunday 13 May, during which time The Old Vic’s doors will be open to as many people as possible. The Old Vic is London’s independent theatre, a … [Read more...]
The Old Vic announces a casting change and further updates for the World Premiere of Joe Penhall’s new play Mood Music which previews from 21 April 2018, with a press night on 2 May 2018. Ben Chaplin will be taking on the role of Bernard replacing Rhys Ifans who, with regret, is withdrawing from the production due to family reasons. Starring alongside Ben Chaplin is Seána Kerslake in the role of Cat, and she is joined by Pip Carter as Ramsay, Kurt Egyiawan as Miles, Jemma Redgrave as Vanessa … [Read more...]
Planet Ayckbourn can usually be identified by the domestic dysfunctions that erupt beneath the outwardly placid surface of English suburbia. This has not been its sole appeal to those who have tracked its orbit over the past half-century, but it has been one of its most enduring. Outwardly then, it’s a surprise verging on a shock to see him tackle a literally outlandish territory, set in a cataclysmic future more often spotted in science fiction. And yet, if you have followed the playwright’s … [Read more...]
Two winters ago if you went to the Old Vic Your life would have been filled with something fantastic, A musical treat fit for all of the fam'ly The Lorax is as good as such a show could be. Returning for half-term with some new cast members The musical's just as good as I remember, It's heartfelt and funny and really quite moving A powerful message but not too reproving. From Dr Seuss' story comes David Greig's new book Which warns of the danger of smashing nature's look, It's hard … [Read more...]