Located on The Cut, near to London's Waterloo Station, the original theatre on this site was the Royal Coburg theatre, built in 1818. Its name changed in 1833 to the Royal Victoria Theatre (quickly nick-named the Old Vic), in honour of Princess Victoria.
Although the theatre is one of the oldest and most famous theatres in London, it did go through dark periods in its early years, closing and reopening several times. In 1871 it reopened as the New Victoria Theatre, closing down a few years later. In 1880 it reopened as the 'Royal Victoria Coffee and Musical Hall' noted as being "a cheap and decent place of amusement".
In 1914 the theatre became the first venue to present Shakespeare, becoming known as 'The Old Vic Shakespeare Company', with many great actors working the stage such as Sybil Thorndike, John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier. Badly damaged by bombs in 1941, the theatre was forced to close down until 1950 when it reopened with a performance of Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'. Dame Judi Dench joined the theatre in 1957 performing in various Shakespearian productions such as the lead in 'Romeo and Juliet' and Laurence Olivier formed the National Theatre Company in 1962 using the Old Vic as their performance space. The company's last performance was in 1976 presenting 'Tribute to the Lady' - a tribute to the Old Vic's original acting manager and theatre manager Lilian Baylis. The venue was sold in 1982 and restoration saw the theatre's interior and exterior reflect the original 19th century design. In 1997, Sir Peter Hall presented a classic repertory season that included 'Waiting for Godot' starring the fabulous British talent Ben Kingsley. In 1998 'The Old Vic Trust 2000' charity organisation was born to save the theatre being sold the companies with ideas of turning the building into anything but a theatre.
Enter please, Kevin Spacey. 1998 saw Spacey's award winning performance in the transfer production of 'The Iceman Cometh'. He then, in 2003, became the first artistic director of The Old Vic Theatre Company, opening its first season in 2004 with the British premiere of 'Cloaca' directed by Spacey. This was followed in 2005 by the pantomime 'Aladdin' starring Ian McKellen as Widow Twankey. Spacey then starred alongside Mary Stuart Masterson in the 2005 British premiere of 'National Anthems'.
Waterloo rail station is the closest to the Old Vic Theatre.
When purchasing tickets for mainstream theatre productions, it is important to keep the following in mind. The cheapest way to buy tickets is to buy directly from the theatres´ box office where the show is playing. Or, purchase your tickets from the ´Half Price Ticket Booth´ (AKA ´tkts´) located in Leicester Square, where they sell ´on the day´ tickets for all of the West End shows at a discount rate. The booth is open Monday to Saturday from 10am - 7pm and Sundays from 12pm - 3.30pm. There is a service fee of £2.50 per ticket and a maximum of 4 tickets per person. Avoid touts hanging about the theatres and any other ticket agencies around the West End that appear a little dodgy as tickets may not be legitimate. Always ask if your seat is in a restricted viewing area. You can also purchase a theatre and hotel package which saves money all round.
However, the best thing to do if you have your heart set on seeing a particular show is to book ahead. You will be guaranteed a good seat, a great view and a fab night out.
Tours last about an hour and can be arranged via FOH Management at email@example.com or 020 7928 2651. The price is £75 per tour, for a maximum of 15 people.
The Old Vic
London SE1 8NB
Box Office +44 (0)844 871 7628
Administration +44 (0)20 7928 2651
Administration +44 (0)20 7261 9161
|HOTEL / APARTMENT||POSTCODE||MILES||STAR||19 Feb||20 Feb||21 Feb||22 Feb||23 Feb||24 Feb||25 Feb||26 Feb|
|Southwark Station||1||Jubilee||0.35 miles|
|Waterloo Station||1||Waterloo & City - Bakerloo - Northern - Jubilee||0.39 miles|
|Lambeth North Station||1||Bakerloo||0.41 miles|
|Elephant & Castle Station||1||Northern - Bakerloo||0.95 miles|
|Temple Station||1||District - Circle line||1.00 miles|
|London Waterloo East Station||0.19 miles|
|London Waterloo Station||0.26 miles|
|London Waterloo International Station||0.38 miles|
|London Blackfriars Station||1.09 miles|
|Elephant and Castle Station||1.18 miles|