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The Old Vic announces 2016-2017 season

The Old Vic Theatre London in 2010
The Old Vic Theatre London in 2010

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 Deborah Warner. The Season opens with the world premiere of Samuel Beckett’s monologue No’s Knife with Lisa Dwan. Matthew directs the 20th anniversary production of Yasmina Reza’s Art and John Boyega stars in a new version of Woyzeck adapted by Jack Thorne. In 2017 and beyond, look out for the return of Season 1’s dazzlingly funny, moving and inspiring show Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, a 50th anniversary celebratory production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard, a world premiere adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s classic film, Fanny and Alexander, adapted by Stephen Beresford, and a new version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.

Artistic Director Matthew Warchus commented: ‘Anyone who has visited The Old Vic in the last eight months will have felt the new wave of energy which has swept through the building. There’s a completely fresh feel to the foyer, bars and café, and a completely fresh approach to how we programme our productions and events. There’s much more happening, and for a much wider range of people. For a theatre without public funding this is no mean feat. It’s an exciting shift, aimed at consolidating The Old Vic as a vibrant and indispensable part of London’s artistic scene. With my second season, we continue our mission to be a leading creative hub in the capital, and further afield, radiating an energising and unintimidating spirit, as we celebrate the best of what theatre can be.’

Productions include:

  • Lisa Dwan in the world premiere of Samuel Beckett’s monologue No’s Knife
  • Glenda Jackson starring in King Lear, directed by Deborah Warner, with Jane Horrocks, Rhys Ifans, Simon Manyonda and Harry Melling
  • The 20th anniversary production of Art by Yasmina Reza, directed by Matthew Warchus
  • John Boyega starring in a new version of Woyzeck by Jack Thorne, directed by new Baylis Director Joe Murphy
  • Missing Light, a puppetry show created by Mark Arends, as part of a new programme of children’s theatre at The Old Vic
  • A line-up of original and exhilarating artists in the second series of The Old Vic Variety Nights

Some coming attractions for 2017 and bicentenary season (2017-18):

  • A 50th anniversary celebratory production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
  • Over the summer the return of the Olivier-nominated Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, written by David Greig and directed by the inaugural Baylis Director, and newly appointed Associate Director, Max Webster
  • A world premiere adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s classic film, Fanny and Alexander, adapted by Stephen Beresford and directed by Max Webster
  • A new version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, directed by Christopher Luscombe with musical adaptation by Nigel Hess
  • Further programming announcements for the season still to come
  • The Old Vic continues to develop the following programmes and creative opportunities:
  • New commissions to Stephen Beresford, Regina Taylor, Jack Thorne and Kate Prince’s dance company ZooNation
  • Composer Gary Yershon joins Simon Baker, Peter Darling, David Grindrod, Manuel Harlan, Rob Howell, Dennis Kelly, Paul Kieve, Drew McOnie, Tim Minchin, Christopher Nightingale, Kate Prince and Hugh Vanstone as Matthew’s Associate Artists
  • Joe Murphy appointed as the Baylis Director for 2016-17
  • Inaugural Baylis Director Max Webster becomes Matthew’s second Associate Director, alongside current Associate Annabel Bolton
  • A new programme of daytime children’s theatre in and around The Old Vic to include a collaboration with inclusive theatre company Chickenshed, and The Children’s Bookshow
  • The Old Vic continues its transfer partnership with theatre producers Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman, giving Old Vic shows a potential life in the West End and on Broadway
  • Art and photography exhibited in Mark’s Bar and Penny. Currently a selection of prints from the Royal College of Art’s Folio collection are on display in Mark’s Bar and Introspection, a photography exhibition by Ann Evelin Lawford, is showing in Penny The Old Vic continues its top-tier corporate partnerships into a second year:
  • Ccontinuing three-year sponsorship with Royal Bank of Canada as The Old Vic’s Principal Partner. Their transformational support directly enables The Old Vic to produce more productions on our stage than ever before, celebrating creativity and innovation in the arts
  • PwC £10 Previews ticketing initiative over the last season, which has enabled nearly 13,000 people to experience our work for just £10, 44% of whom were newcomers to The Old Vic.

By Samuel Beckett
Performed by Lisa Dwan
World Premiere
Previews from Thursday 29 September, press night Monday 3 October 2016
‘Where would I go, if I could go, who would I be, if I could be, what would I say, if I had a voice, who says this, saying it’s me?’

The world premiere of No’s Knife sees Samuel Beckett, a titan of theatrical writing, exploring the powerful resilience to stay alive. Hard on the heels of a sold-out international tour of the Beckett Trilogy, Lisa Dwan presents a fresh and penetrating interpretation of this monologue. Recognised as modern theatre’s foremost adaptor of Beckett’s work, Lisa brings her unexpected and compelling voice to these hitherto unperformed writings.

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Deborah Warner
Starring Glenda Jackson and with Jane Horrocks, Rhys Ifans, Simon Manyonda and Harry Melling Previews from Tuesday 25 October, press night Friday 4 November 2016 A quarter of a century after she gave up acting for politics, double Academy Award-winning legend Glenda Jackson returns to play King Lear in Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, alongside an outstanding company including Jane Horrocks, Rhys Ifans, Simon Manyonda and Harry Melling.

By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Matthew Warchus
Previews from Saturday 10 December 2016, press night Tuesday 3 January 2017

Three friends and a white painting.
One of the most acclaimed plays of recent times, Art premiered in London twenty years ago and went on to become a phenomenon, winning Moliere, Evening Standard, Olivier and Tony Awards. Director Matthew Warchus reunites the entire original team to revisit Yasmina Reza’s dazzling study of friendship, prejudice and tolerance.

By Georg Büchner
In a new version by Jack Thorne
Directed by Joe Murphy
Starring John Boyega
Previews from Saturday 25 February, press night Tuesday 7 March 2017

‘People like us are unhappy in this world and in the next: if we made it to heaven, we’d have to help make it thunder.’

The multi-award winning Jack Thorne breathes new life into Woyzeck, one of the most influential plays ever written, creating for our time what Büchner intended for his: an unforgettable howl of rage.

By Tom Stoppard

Half a century after its premiere on The Old Vic stage, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the hugely acclaimed play that made a young Tom Stoppard’s name overnight, returns to The Old Vic in a 50th anniversary celebratory production.

Against the backdrop of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this mind-bending situation comedy sees two hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, take centre stage. Increasingly out of their depth, the young double act stumble their way through as events unravel. Stoppard’s brilliantly funny, existential labyrinth offers us as window into a world where life and art collide.

Adapted by David Greig
Directed by Max Webster

‘I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!’
The irrepressible, big-hearted, moustachioed critter is back as Olivier-nominated Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax returns to The Old Vic stage.

This dazzlingly funny, moving and inspiring show sees the go-getting Once-ler come face to face with the magical Lorax in a battle over the beloved truffula trees and the whole of Paradise Valley. Adapted for the stage by David Greig, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is a brilliant riot of eye-popping colour, gorgeous puppetry and infectious music to enchant adults and children alike.

Adapted from the film by Ingmar Bergman by Stephen Beresford
Directed by Max Webster

‘The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. So let us be kind and generous. There should be no shame in us taking pleasure in our little lives.’

Ingmar Bergman’s magical study of childhood, family and love, Fanny and Alexander is often considered one of the greatest films ever made. Now, adapted by BAFTA-winning writer Stephen Beresford, it becomes an epic theatrical event.

In a new version by Nigel Hess and Christopher Luscombe
Directed by Christopher Luscombe
Musical adaptation by Nigel Hess

‘We sail the ocean blue and the Pinafore’s a beauty!’
Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic HMS Pinafore has its decks scrubbed anew by Nigel Hess and Christopher Luscombe (composer and director of the recent West End hit Nell Gwynn) in a sparkling new adaptation which stays true to the much-loved original while borrowing from the rich Gilbert and Sullivan catalogue to create a show full of surprises.

Music. Magic. Comedy.

Embracing The Old Vic’s historic roots in the great theatrical traditions of vaudeville and music hall, The Old Vic Variety Nights feature established names and the very best of the next generation of performers in vibrant mixed bills, for one-off Sunday nights of really great entertainment.

Old Vic Voices Off explores the themes raised by the productions on our main stage in creative ways through a series of talks, conversations and debates given by leading voices in the arts, media, science and politics. Speakers in Season 1 included Shami Chakrabarti, Caroline Criado-Perez, Chris Riddell, Richard Dawkins, A. C. Grayling, Owen Jones and Rob Brydon.

Theatre is a magical world of 3D stories and no child is too young to start experiencing the delight and wonder of live performance. This Season, in partnership with performers and organisations, The Old Vic brings storytelling for all ages to our theatre.

Each week during term time, North London-based inclusive theatre company Chickenshed will present their hugely popular Tales From The Shed. These vibrant and interactive shows for young children aged 0-5 include puppetry, sign language, song and dance and will play weekly in Mark’s Bar at The Old Vic.

‘You’re never too old for hopes and dreams…there’s always time for plans and schemes.’ When loneliness is replaced by a far off flickering light, two elderly friends break free on a journey to reconcile their pasts and find what remains of their futures. A newly commissioned puppetry show created by Mark Arends for Make Mend and Do Theatre, Missing Light, a daytime production for children aged 8+, will play on the main stage in 2017.

The Old Vic is delighted to be hosting The Children’s Bookshow on 18 November 2016. A literacy charity, The Children’s Bookshow organises an annual autumn tour at theatres around the country where children are treated to performances from acclaimed authors, illustrators and poets. This event is suitable for children aged 7-11.

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