Old Vic Theatre
103 The Cut,
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Old Vic Theatre (Official)
Functions: Live Theatre
Previous Names: Royal Coburg Theatre, Royal Victoria Theatre, New Victoria Theatre, Royal Victoria Palace Theatre
Built on the corner of The Cut and Waterloo Bridge Road, close to Waterloo Railway Station, near the south bank of the River Thames. The Royal Coburg Theatre was opened on 18th May 1818. It was designed by architect Rudolph Cabanel of Aachen. It was re-named Royal Victoria Theatre from 1st July 1833.
Reconstructed to the plans of architect J.T. Robinson in 1871, it reopened as the New Victoria Theatre. In 1874 it was re-named Royal Victoria Palace Theatre and in 1880, after further alterations it became a Temperance music hall (no alcohol allowed). Films were being screened from 1910 as part of the music hall programme and continued after Lilian Bayliss took over the management of the theatre in 1913. Full time cinema use ceased around 1915.
Lilian Bayliss then instigated a policy of Shakespeare’s plays, which proved successful. The theatre was renovated to the plans of architect F.G.M. Chancellor out of Frank Matcham’s office in 1927. The seating capacity was 1,454, in stalls, dress circle and balcony. The dress circle and balcony are in a horse-shoe shape, supported by iron pillars. The stage is 30 feet deep.
In 1941, the Old Vic was damaged by German bombs, and remained closed until repairs were carried out in December 1950 to the plans of architect Douglas W. Rowntree. In 1963, it became the temporary home for the National Theatre under the direction of Laurence Olivier.
In 1982, Canadian theatre owner Edwin Mirvish purchased the Old Vic Theatre and employed architects Renton Howard Wood Levine to remodel the front of house and redecorate the auditorium.
In recent years productions staged have included "The Corn is Green" starring Deborah Kerr in 1985, and "A Christmas Carol" starring Patrick Stewart. In 2003, Kevin Spacey was appointed artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre, a position he held until 2015. Following his departure a scandal errupted regarding his sexual misconduct against male members of staff and actors during the time he was artistic director.
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