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The Old Vic Announces Bicentenary Season

The Old Vic at 200200 days ahead of its 200th birthday, The Old Vic today marks the launch of its bicentenary and Matthew Warchus’ third year as Artistic Director of The Old Vic with a season of world premiere productions:

  • A new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol by Jack Thorne, directed by Matthew Warchus
  • The Divide, a ‘narrative for voices’, by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Baylis Director Annabel Bolton
  • A new adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander by Stephen Beresford, directed by Max Webster
  • Mood Music, a new play by Joe Penhall, directed by Roger Michell
  • A new adaptation of Patrick Ness’ novel A Monster Calls, devised by the company, directed by Sally Cookson
  • A new musical dance production, Sylvia, directed and choreographed by Associate Artist Kate Prince
  • In the West End: Girl from the North Country at the Noël Coward Theatre from 29 December 2017; and the return of Emma Rice’s Brief Encounter at the Empire Cinema, Haymarket from March 2018
  • On tour: Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax in North and Central America and ‘ART’ UK wide.

Artistic Director Matthew Warchus commented: ‘We love and care for the elderly members of our family and community out of respect for all that they have achieved and contributed in their long lives. On the other hand, we love and care for the young because we are excited about their future and we want them to exuberantly fulfil their potential. To honour The Old Vic’s 200th birthday we are celebrating it partly as a treasured historic icon but mostly as an adventurous, youthful, hub of creativity with a vibrant future ahead of it. To emphasise this forward-facing spirit, I’m delighted to present a Bicentenary Season comprised entirely of world premiere productions, including four new commissions. The Old Vic will, of course, continue to mix pertinent revivals and refreshed classics into future seasons, but for this birthday year we are allowing ourselves to focus on new work. We aim for this famous building to be a welcoming, fun, surprising and indispensable cultural landmark, now and for another 200 years. Please join us this celebratory season and entertain something new.

Today begins a 200-day countdown to The Old Vic’s 200th birthday on 11th May 2018. Look out each day for a piece of OV200 content, delving into surprising stories past, present and future along with memories shared by the public.
The Old Vic will be showcasing people’s stories throughout the countdown and are still asking people to get in touch with their story through:
TWITTER: tweet or direct message @oldvictheatre using #OV200
FACEBOOK: post, message or mention @OldVicTheatre
INSTAGRAM: share your picture and tag @oldvictheatre using #OV200
EMAIL: yourstory@oldvictheatre.com
WRITE: Old Vic Stories, The Old Vic, The Cut, London, SE1 8NB

The 200th birthday itself will be marked with a three-day birthday party – comprising a free, balloted  performance on Friday 11th May (the date of the first public performance at The Old Vic in 1818), an open house and street party for families on Saturday 12th May followed by a performance for young people in the evening, and a fundraiser on Sunday 13 May.

During the bicentennial year, The Old Vic will be working with a number of OV200 partners, including various cultural organisations that began their lives within the walls of The Old Vic: Morley College, the National Theatre and Sadler’s Wells. Other collaborators include: Imagination, the Prince’s Trust, TfL, University of Bristol Theatre Collection, the V&A and many other friends. 

One of those friends is two-time Academy Award-winner and star of last year’s production of King Lear, Glenda Jackson, who in a recent interview with The Old Vic said: ‘I think The Old Vic has a reputation that is immutable. It’s a lovely theatre to be in; it’s a lovely theatre to play in. It has, undoubtedly, a well-earned magic which has nothing to do exclusively with longevity. Looking at The Old Vic, not only because of its past but what it’s done in the recent past and what Matthew is doing with it now and in the future, that idea of attracting people who would not automatically think of going to the theatre, shows a vital energy resource. Because there isn’t going to be any theatre in the future if we don’t create the desire to go; if we don’t allow people to understand that it can be a unique experience. When it works, there’s nowhere else like it in the world.’ Glenda’s full interview will be released tomorrow, day 2 of the 200-day countdown.

The Old Vic continues its top-tier corporate partnerships into a third year.
They continue to work with Royal Bank of Canada as The Old Vic’s Principal Partner during their bicentennial year. The partnership with RBC has powerful echoes of the work started by Canadian impresario Ed Mirvish, three decades ago when he saved The Old Vic and restored the auditorium to its 19th-century glory. In one of their most historically significant years, it is only thanks to RBC’s transformational support that The Old Vic remains as artistically vibrant, pioneering and indispensable as when we first opened our doors in 1818, with a full season of premiere productions planned for the year ahead.

The Old Vic and PwC share the belief that the arts are not a luxury but, instead, essential in building thriving, vibrant communities and must be shared as widely as possible. Since the beginning of Matthew’s tenure, thanks to the PwC £10 Previews, over 32,000 people have enjoyed world-class theatre for just £10, with 39% of bookers coming through The Old Vic’s doors for the very first time. We are incredibly proud to be making The Old Vic’s pioneering work widely accessible and inspiring a new audience.

Rhys Ifans: A Christmas Carol-photo by Helen Maybanks
Rhys Ifans: A Christmas Carol-photo by Helen Maybanks

A new version by Jack Thorne
Directed by Matthew Warchus
Starring Rhys Ifans
Previews from 20 November 2017, press night 29 November 2017
Matthew Warchus directs Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol in a joyous new adaptation by Jack Thorne, starring Rhys Ifans as Ebenezer Scrooge.
On a bitter Christmas Eve night, a cold-hearted miser is visited by four ghosts. Transported to worlds past, present and future, Ebenezer Scrooge witnesses what a lifetime of fear and selfishness has led to and sees with fresh eyes the lonely life he has built for himself.
An uplifting story for families aged 11+, this essential festive treat is vividly brought to the stage in a big-hearted production full of music and cheer.

By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Annabel Bolton
Previews from 1 February 2018, press day 7 February 2018
An Old Vic, Edinburgh International Festival and Karl Sydow production
Written as a ‘narrative for voices’ by Alan Ayckbourn and brought to The Old Vic stage by Old Vic Baylis Director Annabel Bolton following its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival, The Divide unfolds in a dystopian
society of repression and seething insurrection. This production is presented in two parts.
In the aftermath of a deadly contagion which has decimated the population, contact between men and women has become fatal. Under the dictates of an elusive and authoritarian Preacher, an unthinkable solution has been
enforced. The adult survivors are now segregated by gender and, physically separated, men wear white as a sign of their purity and women – still deemed infected – are clothed in black as a mark of their sin.
As new social norms prevail, brother and sister Elihu and Soween grow up learning the ways of their tightly controlled society. As they begin to glimpse the cracks in the system, Elihu falls for Giella, the daughter of two radical mothers, risking fatal disease and threatening to ignite a bloody revolution.
The generous support from Bloomberg Philanthropies will allow this production to build its incorporation of both digital innovation and community engagement.
Community involvement in this production has been made possible by the generous support of the Mohamed S.
Farsi Foundation.

Based on ‘Fanny and Alexander’ written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
Adapted by Stephen Beresford
Directed by Max Webster
Previews from 21 February 2018, press night 1 March 2018
‘There should be no shame in us taking pleasure in our little lives.’
Legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece Fanny & Alexander is translated to the stage by BAFTA
award-winning writer Stephen Beresford and Old Vic Associate Director Max Webster.
Amongst the gilded romance and glamour of 1900s Sweden, siblings Fanny and Alexander’s world is turned upside down when their widowed mother remarries the iron-willed local bishop. As creative freedom and rigid orthodoxy clash, a war ensues between imagination and austerity in this magical study of childhood, family and love.

By Joe Penhall
Directed by Roger Michell
Previews from 21 April 2018, press night 2 May 2018
‘Music is medication. The elixir of life. It’s for injecting into the blood stream to take away the pain… to promote euphoria… to adrenalise us and give us courage and fortitude.’
In an expensive London recording studio two songwriters, their lawyers and their psychotherapists go to battle over music.
I’m not saying he’s a sociopath. I’m just saying you find a lot of damaged people are drawn to the music industry. Lack of empathy, raging narcissism, grandiose egocentricity is expected of them.

A play about the drama and the psychodrama of making music by the writer of Sunny Afternoon and Blue/Orange, the world premiere of Mood Music by Joe Penhall is directed by Roger Michell.

Based on the novel by Patrick Ness
Inspired by an original idea from Siobhan Dowd
Devised by the company
Directed by Sally Cookson
Previews from 7 July 2018, press night 17 July 2018
An Old Vic production in association with Bristol Old Vic
‘Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?’
Patrick Ness’ piercing novel A Monster Calls is brought to The Old Vic stage in a powerful new adaptation by visionary director Sally Cookson.
Thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved to America. But now his mum’s very sick and she’s not getting any better. His grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye.
Then, one night, at seven minutes past midnight, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It’s come to tell Conor tales from when it walked before. And when it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.
On publication, A Monster Calls became a bestseller with children and adults alike with its dazzling insight into love, loss and healing. It garnered huge critical acclaim, including an unprecedented double win of the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for outstanding children’s literature and illustration. This adaptation is suitable for ages 10+. This production will run at Bristol Old Vic from 31 May 2018–16 June 2018.

ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company
Written by Kate Prince & Priya Parmar
Music by Josh Cohen & DJ Walde
Lyrics by Kate Prince, Josh Cohen & DJ Walde
Directed & Choreographed by Kate Prince
Previews from 1 September 2018, press night 6 September 2018
An Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells and ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company production, co-commissioned by 14-
18 NOW

Votes for Women and a fractured family at a momentous hour in British history.
100 years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote, Kate Prince combines dance, hip hop, soul and funk to shed new light on a remarkable story at the heart of the Suffragette movement.
Co-written by Kate Prince and Priya Parmar with original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, Sylvia is a modern musical celebrating the life of Sylvia Pankhurst, her pivotal role in the campaign for women’s rights and the price of the passion and politics that tore her family apart.

Sylvia is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

We want to share our work with as wide an audience as possible. During Season 3, at least three of our Season 2 productions will go on tour in the UK and US or transfer to the West End.
The Old Vic’s critically-acclaimed, sold out run of Girl from the North Country, written and directed by Conor McPherson with the music and lyrics of Bob Dylan, transfers to the Noël Coward Theatre in the West End with performances from 29 December 2017. Produced by Tristan Baker & Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment, Steven Lappin, Sony Music Entertainment UK and David Mirvish. Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax will transfer from The Old Vic to the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, from 9 December 2017–21 January 2018. Later in 2018, with an American cast, the production heads to the Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, from 17 April–10 June 2018 and The Old Globe, San Diego, from 3 July–12 August 2018.
‘ART’ (produced at The Old Vic in 2016) will embark on a UK tour from February until June 2018, produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers.
Kneehigh Theatre’s acclaimed production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter adapted and directed by Emma Rice, will open at the Empire Cinema in London’s West End in a co-production with The Old Vic, David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Steve & Jenny Wiener from 2 March 2018.

We are delighted to announce that joining The Old Vic as Associate Artists are: Stephen Beresford (writer), David Greig (writer), Claire van Kampen (composer), Conor McPherson (writer), Tamsin Oglesby (writer), Lucy Prebble (writer) and Jack Thorne (writer). They will be joining the existing Associate Artists: Simon Baker (sound design), Peter Darling (choreography), David Grindrod (casting), Manuel Harlan (photography), Rob Howell (design), Dennis Kelly (writer), Paul Kieve (magic), Drew McOnie (choreography), Tim Minchin (composer), Christopher Nightingale (composer), Kate Prince (choreography), Hugh Vanstone (lighting) and Gary Yershon (composer).

Season 2 Baylis Director, Joe Murphy, has been appointed as an Associate Director by Matthew Warchus.
The Bicentenary Season Baylis Director will be Annabel Bolton, who directs The Divide. The Baylis Director is an annual post that provides a unique opportunity for one director each year. The Baylis Director who is selected for this twelve-month programme will direct a full-scale production at The Old Vic, receive a fund with which to commission a new piece of work, and shadow the Artistic Director, using The Old Vic’s space and resources to research and develop projects. The Baylis Assistant Director is a short-term residency at The Old Vic providing unique opportunities each year for aspiring directors to work with and learn from seasoned professionals in the industry.
This role is generously supported by Associate Artist Tim Minchin.
The Old Vic continues to develop the following programmes and creative opportunities:

The Old Vic will be the London home for Emma Rice’s Wise Children as Company in Residence. Emma’s first production, also titled Wise Children, will be a new adaptation of Angela Carter’s novel and will feature in Matthew Warchus’ fourth Season (2018/2019). Created and led by Emma Rice, Wise Children is an Arts Council, National Portfolio Organisation for 2018-22. They will be based in the South West and have national significance.

Theatre creates 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 will bring storytelling for all ages to our theatre.

Voices Off is a programme of talks, conversations and debates given by leading voices in the arts, media, science and politics that explore the themes raised by the productions on our main stage in creative ways. One Voice is a series of specially-commissioned monologues. A voice can take you anywhere, to see anything, to feel joy, pain, to make you laugh until you cry, to see inside another person’s head, to build castles in the air. Funded by the TS Eliot Estate, One Voice celebrates the most raw of theatrical forms – a single voice on a stage without scenery, without costume and with nothing to rely on but words. Details of the Families, Voices Off and One Voice programmes will be announced later in the year.

The Old Vic is a registered charity and receives no regular subsidy. We are reliant on box office receipts, philanthropic donations and support from businesses to sustain our work both on and off the stage. The Old Vic continues its top-tier corporate partnerships into a third year:

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of the largest banks in the world and Canada’s largest company and financial institution by market capitalisation, is The Old Vic’s Principal Partner. RBC’s seminal support helps sustain The Old Vic’s innate pioneering spirit by enabling a bigger and broader programme of ground-breaking productions than ever before. In turn, this partnership ensures The Old Vic remains a leading theatrical powerhouse in the 21st century, which is as relevant and indispensable for its audiences as when it first opened its doors in 1818. Since the beginning of Matthew’s Artistic Directorship, RBC has supported 14 innovative world premiere productions and new adaptations, four inclusive family shows, six revivals with a twist and two captivating dance pieces.
Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Capital Markets, Europe said: ‘Royal Bank of Canada is delighted to continue its support of The Old Vic in its bicentennial year, as Matthew Warchus and his team promise to deliver yet another bold and innovative season. We are very proud of our association with The Old Vic and the positive impact the theatre makes to the local and artistic communities.’

This partnership reflects RBC’s global commitment to help create vibrant communities through donations, community investments, sponsorship and employee volunteer activities in the arts across the visual arts, music, performing arts, writing and filmmaking. In 2015, RBC contributed more than C$121 million to causes around the world.

Through PwC’s visionary support, The Old Vic makes half of all seats for the first five previews of each main house production available for just £10, making it one of the few ticket initiatives within the arts sector which has no criteria for access and genuinely invites anyone and everyone to join in to experience the transformational power of theatre.
PwC, one of the world’s largest professional services networks, share The Old Vic’s belief that theatre needs to be cherished, supported and shared with as many people as possible. Cultural education and creative imagination are essential in building thriving, prosperous communities.
PwC and The Old Vic have been partnering together since 2012 to make world-class theatre accessible to all.
Since the beginning of Matthew’s Artistic Directorship, over 32,000 people have enjoyed outstanding theatre through the PwC £10 Previews scheme, with 39% of bookers being newcomers to The Old Vic. PwC’s commitment to ‘doing the right thing’ for the good of the communities in which it operates, chimes with The Old Vic, which has long possessed a social conscience. In The Old Vic’s bicentenary year, we are incredibly proud to be working with PwC to inspire a new audience ensuring The Old Vic continues to play an integral role within creative society and its community.

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC said ‘As someone who really enjoys the theatre, I want to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to experience The Old Vic’s wonderful productions. Working with The Old Vic, the PwC £10 Preview tickets have already opened the doors to thousands of new theatregoers and we hope to continue making theatre more accessible to people through this initiative.’

For more information on PwC £10 Previews please visit 

In a new version by Jack Thorne
Directed by Matthew Warchus
Mon 20 Nov 2017–Sat 20 Jan 2018
Mon–Sat: 7:30pm; Sat: 2:30pm; Wed: 1pm (until 20 Dec thereafter at 2.30pm)
Mon–Wed 4–20 Dec: 7pm
Additional matinee performances: Thu 28 Dec, Sun 31 Dec & 2 Tue Jan
Press night: Wed 29 Nov, 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Tue 9 Jan, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 11 Jan, 7.30pm
Recommended age 11+
TICKETS: £12, £16, £21, £30/£35, £55/£57.50, £65/£67.50
Under 16s tickets half price on price bands A and B Mon–Thu and all Jan performances
Tickets already on sale
For information regarding Premium Seats please call the box office

By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Annabel Bolton
Thu 1 Feb–Sat 10 Feb 2018
Mon–Sat: 7.30pm; Wed & Sat,1.30pm
Press Day: Wed 7 Feb, 1.30pm & 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Sat 10 Feb Part One 1.30pm, Part Two 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Sat 10 Feb Part One 1.30pm, Part Two 7.30pm
Recommended age 12+
TICKETS: £12, £16, £21, £30, £40, £50
DOUBLE BILL TICKETS: £30, £40, £50, £65, £80
Tickets already on sale

Based on ‘Fanny and Alexander’ written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
Adapted by Stephen Beresford
Directed by Max Webster
Wed 21 Feb–Sat 14 Apr 2018
Mon–Sat: 7pm; Wed & Sat 1pm
Additional matinee performance: Thu 12 Apr, 1pm
Press night: Thu 1 Mar, 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Tue 27 Mar, 7pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 29 Mar, 7pm
Recommended age 16+
TICKETS: £12, £16, £21, £30, £55, £65
For information regarding Premium Seats please call the box office

By Joe Penhall
Directed by Roger Michell
Sat 21 Apr–Sat 30 Jun 2018
Mon–Sat: 7.30pm; Wed & Sat 2.30pm
Additional matinee performances: Fri 4 May, 2.30pm &Thu 10 May, 2.30pm

Press night: Wed 2 May, 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Mon 18 Jun, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 21 Jun, 7.30pm
Recommended age 12+
TICKETS: £12, £16, £21, £30, £55, £65
For information regarding Premium Seats please call the box office

Based on the novel by Patrick Ness
Inspired by an original idea from Siobhan Dowd
Devised by the company
Directed by Sally Cookson
Sat 7 Jul–Sat 25 Aug 2018
Mon–Sat: 7:30pm; Wed & Sat: 2:30pm
Additional matinee performance: Thu 19 Jul, 2.30pm
Press night: Tue 17 Jul, 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Tue 14 Aug, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 16 Aug, 7.30pm
Recommended age 10+
TICKETS: £12, £16, £20, £25, £40, £50
Under 16s tickets half price on price bands A and B Mon–Thu including Wed mats
For information regarding Premium Seats please call the box office

ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company
Written by Kate Prince & Priya Parmar
Music by Josh Cohen & DJ Walde
Lyrics by Kate Prince, Josh Cohen & DJ Walde
Directed & Choreographed by Kate Prince
Sat 1 Sep–Sat 22 Sep 2018
Mon–Sat: 7.30pm, Wed & Sat 2.30pm
Press night: Thu 6 Sep 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Tue 11 Sep, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 13 Sep, 7.30pm
TICKETS: £12, £15, £25, £35, £45
PwC £10 PREVIEWS: Available to everyone with half of the house priced at £10 for selected previews.
SENIOR CITIZENS: Best available seats for £30 for all matinee performances, plus all performances of A
Christmas Carol from 1–7 Jan. For The Divide, £25 (two part package £40) available for all two-show days. For
Sylvia, £26 for all matinee performances.
SCHOOL GROUPS: 10+ £12.50 for Mon–Wed perfs (excluding 18–20 Dec for A Christmas Carol). Mon–Thu perfs
for The Divide.
STUDENTS: £12.50 for Mon–Thu perfs for Sylvia.
UNDER 16s: 50% off Band A and B tickets (Mon–Thu and all Jan perfs) for A Christmas Carol and 50% off Band A
and B Mon–Thu for A Monster Calls.
GROUPS: Group rates available, please see our website for more details.
DISABLED PATRONS: Top three price bands reduced to £21 for all performances. Please call 0344 871 7628 for
access bookings.
All concessions are limited and subject to availability.
All 2017/18 ticket prices correct at time of issue.

The Old Vic 2016-17 Season
Adapted for the stage by David Greig
Music and Lyrics by Charlie Fink
Directed by Max Webster
Previews from Sunday 15 October 2017, press night Tuesday 24 October 2017
‘I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!’
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax returns to The Old Vic stage for a limited run opening on Tuesday 24 October, prior to
international dates in Canada and the USA.
The irrepressible, big-hearted, moustachioed critter is back. 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 with music and lyrics by Charlie Fink, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is a brilliant riot of eye-popping colour, gorgeous puppetry and infectious music to enchant adults and children alike.

Simon Paisley Day reprises his role as The Once-ler, and David Ricardo-Pearce will play The Lorax along with
puppeteers Laura Caldow and Ben Thompson. The full cast includes Michael Ajao, Joseph Alessi, Josh Baker,
Jack Beale, Hannah Fairclough, Owain Gwynn, Romina Hytten, Wendy Mae Brown, Kirsty Malpass, Kerri Norville, Ellena Vincent and Silas Wyatt-Barke.

Limited 3 week run until Sun 5 Nov 2017
Performances times vary, please see our website for the full performance schedule
Press night: Tue 24 Oct 2017, 7pm
Audio Described Performance: Fri 27 October, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Tue 31 October, 7pm
TICKETS: £12, £15, £20, £25, £32, £38
Under 16’s tickets half price*

Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax at The Old Vic First Look Production Images

Sunday 15th October to Sun 5th November 2017
(Previews from Sun 15 Oct)
The Old Vic Theatre
103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB


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