Old Vic Theatre

Old Vic Theatre

103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB

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What’s On

  • A Christmas Carol

    (25 Nov 2017 to 20 Jan 2018)

    Olivier Award-winning playwright Jack Thorne adapts Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas...

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  • The Divide Part 1

    (1 Feb 2018 to 10 Feb 2018)

    After a premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival, Alan Ayckbourn’s brand new play The...
  • The Divide Part 2

    (2 Feb 2018 to 10 Feb 2018)

    Following a premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival, Alan Ayckbourn’s new play The Divide...

Location

The Old Vic Theatre is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames in what has become the cultural heart of the city, away from the tourist-driven and flashy pavements of the West End. The South Bank is an eclectic area with a diverse array of cultural attractions, ranging from the cinematic schedule at the BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX to the rotating installations and exhibitions at the main Southbank Centre. The National Theatre is based in the same district, as are the Tate Modern and the London Eye. The pavements of the South Bank are generally packed with secondhand book sales, food carts and performers, and it is an exciting and innovative part of London to spend an afternoon in.
Getting there
By Tube: The nearest stations to the Old Vic Theatre are Waterloo on the Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee and National Rail lines, or Southwark on the Jubilee line.By bus: Numbers 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 211, 243, 341, 381, 507 and 521 all stop near the theatre.By taxi or car: There is a taxi rank outside Waterloo station. Drivers can use the three NCP car parks close to the theatre, which are located at Waterloo station, Cornwall Road and Doon Street. There is also limited on-street parking with a meter outside the theatre.

Seating

The Old Vic is one of the most beautiful theatres in London, situated South of the River. It has recently been refurbished and now offers a more versatile seating space which can be adapted for various performances. The auditorium has a deep curve around the Stalls and Stage, meaning that some seats can be restricted on both balcony levels.

The Stalls section is wide and deep and exists as one large section. The stage can feel rather high so it may be worth sitting a few rows back to gain a better view. The overhang does not begin to affect seats until the final rows, meaning that many seats offer a clearer view. Towards the middle of the section rows are particularly wide and may fall outside the proscenium, therefore providing a view across the stage rather than directly looking at it. The Dress Circle has a deep curve, with seats at the end of each row wrapping around the stalls towards the stage. These seats face across the auditorium, although it is possible to angle yourself to see the stage directly. No safety rails obstruct views, but towards the rear of the section they are present to lean against. The better seats are those in the central section.

The Lillian Baylis Circle is the highest level of the theatre and looks down directly on the action. Slips along the side of the circle look across the stage but do provide a bargain for under 25 year olds. Old Vic Theatre
Old Vic Theatre

Accessibility

The Old Vic Theatre is made up of 3 levels: the Stalls, Dress Circle and Lilian Baylis Circle. There are 4 steps from the street into the main entrance, although the alternative entrance on Webber Street provides direct access to the auditorium via a ramp. From the foyer there are 3 steps up to the Stalls, 29 steps up to the Dress Circle and 58 steps up to the Lilian Baylis Circle, where there are 3 steep steps between rows. Concessions are available to all disabled patrons and their carers.

There is one space for wheelchair users in the Stalls, which can be reached via the ramped entrance on Webber Street. Companions can sit close to the wheelchair space. There is an adapted toilet close to the alternative entrance. Each of the bars within the Old Vic can only be reached via the stairs; however, drinks can be brought to patrons in their seats if required.

A Sennheiser infra-red system is installed in the main auditorium, with headsets available from the cloakroom for a £5 deposit. There is also an induction loop point at the Box Office. Guide dogs are welcome inside the auditorium if their owner is sitting in an aisle seat - alternatively, the theatre staff are happy to dog-sit for the duration of the performance.Access bookings telephone line 020 7492 9930 or access booking form

History

Established in 1818 under the name of the Royal Coburg Theatre, the Old Vic has enjoyed a colourful history and has long been known as ‘the actors’ theatre’ due to the impressive number of stars that have performed under its roof. Located near Waterloo station to the south of the River Thames, the theatre seats over 1000 patrons per performance and as of 2010 has also expanded to include the Old Vic Tunnels, a series of old rail tunnels that can be used to host installations, performance art and full-scale productions.

The Old Vic Theatre has been known by many names during its long history, including the Royal Victorian Theatre and the Royal Victoria Hall and Coffee Tavern; however, by 1880 it had become informally known as the Old Vic and this title was to stick with it to the present day. From 1912 the theatre became known for both ballet and drama with the establishment of two separate companies: the Old Vic Company, led by Sir John Gielgud, and the Sadler’s Wells ballet. Productions from both companies rotated at the theatre until 1935. During the Second World War the theatre was badly damaged and closed until 1950, during which time the Old Vic Company performed instead at the New Theatre.

An exciting part of the Old Vic’s history began in 1963, when the old theatre company was closed to make way for the new and influential National Theatre Company under the direction of Laurence Olivier. The theatre was the base for the company until it moved to its own quarters in 1976. Since this time the theatre has been renowned as a place to see quality dramatic productions ranging from Shakespeare to contemporary plays, and an array of stars including Alec Guinness, Vivien Leigh, Peter O’Toole, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Kevin Spacey have all taken to the boards at some point in its heritage. Spacey was appointed as new artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre Company in 2003, and performs in productions at the theatre twice each year. From March 2012 the Old Vic will be showcasing a production of John Webster’s classic tragedy The Duchess of Malfi.

Past shows