The 2nd February is an auspicious day in history. Not only because in 1911 it was the day of the funeral of Queen Victoria, but in 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania it was the first time an event occurred which has continued every year since. This event was commemorated in a very successful film in 1993 and has finally been turned into a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and a book by Danny Rubin. I am, of course talking about Groundhog Day which has opened for a limited run … [Read more...]
Old Vic Theatre London Reviews, News & Tickets
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
The Old Vic Theatre London
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 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.
FURTHER CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR KING LEAR By William Shakespeare Directed by Deborah Warner Starring Glenda Jackson and with William Chubb, Morfydd Clark, Jane Horrocks, Rhys Ifans, Celia Imrie, Simon Manyonda and Harry Melling. Previews from Tuesday 25 October, press night Friday 4 November 2016 Tickets on general sale from Tuesday 31 May Further casting is today announced for King Lear, which previews from Tuesday 25 October with a press night on Friday 4 November … [Read more...]
Opening on 20th May for a limited run is a new dance thriller devised, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. One of the UK’s most innovative theatre choreographers Drew McOnie reimagines Robert Louis Stevenson’s sinister drama in an excitingly physical new dance production with music by Grant Olding. Jekyll & Hyde has been commissioned by The Old Vic as part of its new dance collaboration with The … [Read more...]
The Old Vic today announces Artistic Director Matthew Warchus' second season, continuing a wide-ranging programme that includes world premieres, new writing, musicals, classic revivals and The Old Vic Variety Nights. There will also be a new strand of children's programming to engage the next generation of theatregoers, demonstrating Matthew's 'something for everyone' approach. Season 2 marks Glenda Jackson’s return to the stage, to play the title role in King Lear, directed by … [Read more...]
Old Vic Voices Off is a series of talks and events, given by leading voices in the arts, media, science and politics, designed to complement Matthew Warchus’s inaugural season as Artistic Director. The events reflect the range of work on The Old Vic’s stage, and allow audiences to get closer to the heart of the productions by questioning and exploring their themes and ideas in interesting and creative ways. OLD VIC VOICES OFF – THE CARETAKER A programme of talks and debates hosted by leading … [Read more...]
It’s not often that you spend a full three hours in a theatre amongst a packed audience that’s hanging on every word, every gesture and, yes, every pause throughout a drama so gripping, so engulfing, so evocative of a pre-internet time long passed. It’s 56 years since The Caretaker first discombobulated audiences with its seedy slice of junk-attic life: it was immediately installed (with the help of Kenneth Tynan) as one of the great plays of the twentieth century written by Harold Pinter who … [Read more...]
Following the success of the first Variety Night in November 2015, The Old Vic has announced the second of its Variety Nights which will take place on Sunday 6th March 2016. An integral part of Matthew Warchus’ vision for an eclectic inaugural season, the Old Vic Variety Nights embrace the theatre’s history and its roots in music, dance and vaudeville. The Old Vic Variety Nights aim to reinvigorate a much cherished and nostalgic format with a contemporary twist, combining established names … [Read more...]