Like any other theater, Old Viс Theatre had various periods in its history. One of them was full of glory and success, the other was destructive.
Now the theater is one of the most popular in London, so it is worth visiting for both, Londoners and tourists.
Old Viс Theatre History
During its long history, Old Vic Theater had various names. In 1818 it was called “Royal Coburg Theatre”. It was opened on a warm spring day in May. The spectators were not impressed. Capricious London audience saw many various theaters and new small theater looked too poor for them. Nevertheless the actors of the theater tried their best, showing three various plays in one day – heroic one, melodramatic one and dancing one. Thus the first evening of the theater could be called successful.
Later the theater was called “Old Victoria Theater”. Several years later it changed its owner again and was called “Victoria Theater”. Its other name was “Royal Victoria Hall and Coffee Tavern”.
Finally it has got its modern name “Old Vic”.
Old Vic was designed by the architect Rudolph Cabanel.
From the very beginning of its existence the theater looked very luxurious. It was lit with extremely beautiful luster that was a rare thing in those times. The seats were soft and comfortable. There was a cloak room for rich guests to leave their fur coats there. The tickets to the theater were quite pricy, but the visitors were ready to pay that huge amount. Some really famous actors of that period took part in performances of the theater. Thus, the star of that epoch, Edmund Kean, acted six times a week there for $50 per night. This salary was really impressive at the end of 19th century.
The theater became prosperous; nevertheless it was sold in 1871. The reason was a disaster that took place a little earlier. During the performance a false fire alarm was heard. The spectators at the theater were panic. They started to run, pulling one another. Thus 16 people were killed and the venue lost its popularity.
But it became popular again, when Emma Cons started to rule it. She reconstructed and reopened the theater in 1880. During the years of her administration, Shakespeare’s plays were staged there. She invited popular actors to act at the theater and thus the public came here again.
The other famous director of the theater used to be Laurence Olivier. The famous actor, producer and director as well as a former husband of Vivien Leigh, made the theater one of the most fashionable venues in London. He acted on the stage himself in such plays as “Hamlet”, “Richard III” and many others.
Modern Old Vic remains fashionable and respectable. Some stars act in its plays nowadays.
Although sometimes the troupes from other theaters visit Old Vic and present their plays, mostly this theater is a producing one.
Since 2004 it is ruled by a famous Hollywood star Kevin Spacey. You could see him in such movies as “Se7en”, “American Beauty”, “The Life of David Gale” and many others.
He is not just a director here, he also takes part in various performances, so if you get a ticket to Old Vic, you will be able to see the actor in one of his plays.
What plays are on nowadays at Old Vic? If you come here just now, you will see “Richard III” (Kevin Spacey acts here), “The Lorax”, “Jekyll and Hide”, “The Hairy Ape” and some others.
The administration of the theater cares not just about play making; they also invite talented children to take part in various educational programs. They are open to new talents and are always ready to give a chance to a new talented artist.
This theater is one of the most influential in London, so it is a must have to visit it if you are a theater lover.
In fact, various events are taken under the roof of Old Vic and it is hard to define some certain opening hours.
The box office is opened from Monday to Friday. It works from 10.00 till 18:00. The box office is also opened before the performance – it works during 30 minutes before the performance starts for those, who want to get the tickets within the last minutes.
The prices for tickets are various, but sometimes discounts are offered to children and students.
The Address of Old Vic Theatre is: The Cut, London SE1 8NB, United Kingdom
Unfortunately, the location of the theater is not so comfortable and it will take you some time to get here. If you have a car, you can use it in order to come to the theater. There are some car parks that are affordable to the guests of the theater nearby.
Some people prefer bikes to get to the building of the theater. Of course, you can walk around London and pop into the building of the theater one day.
People, who are going to use public kinds of transport, can come here by train and get out at Waterloo Railway Station. Then it will take some minutes from you to get there.
It is possible to come to the building of the theater by underground. You should get off at Waterloo Station or Blackfriars Station.
Buses are also come here. To get to the building of Old Vic Theater, use the following routes: 1, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 68, N1, N171 and N68.
Old Vic Theater Shops and Restaurants
The performances are quite long at Old Vic Theater. Usually they are interrupted by intervals and you can be in mood to have a cocktail at some bar or restaurant. One of the bars that are situated just in the building of the theater is called “Mark’s Bar”. You will like the ambience here. The pics of famous actors on the walls, ancient extracts from newspaper articles and old mirrors will help you to relax and feel the unique atmosphere of cinema world.
The other bar that is affordable to the holders of Old Vic Theater tickets is “Penny”. It is the ideal place to drink a cup of hot coffee and to taste a piece of cake with it.
If you plan to get some souvenirs, visit the gift shop just in the building of the theater. There you can get cups with the logo of the theater, pics of actors, souvenir brochures and many other interesting and useful things.
Old Vic Theater Contacts
If you want to visit Old Vic one day, but you have no opportunity to come in person to the box office, you can call them.
Tephone: +44 (0) 0844 871 7628