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Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8NB
Old Vic Theatre
Address: 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB
The Old Vic, originally named the Royal Coburg Theatre, was designed in 1818 by Rudolph Cabanel, where it stands now south-east of Waterloo Station. Its name was later changed to the Royal Victoria Theatre before it was rebuilt and renamed the Royal Victoria Hall in 1880, however at that time it was already nicknamed the “Old Vic” and officially adopted in 1925. Following the Second World War it was restored after air raid damage and became a Grade II listed building.
Historically, in 1824 the Old Vic brought legendary actor Edmund Kean to perform six Shakespeare plays in six nights. In 1963 the Old Vic became the core of the National Theatre of Great Britain, during its formation under Laurence Olivier and continued to hold The National Theatre until the move to South Bank in 1976. The Old Vic has housed acclaimed performances with such celebrated actors as John Gielgud’s Hamlet and Richard II in 1929, Laurence Olivier’s Macbeth and Othello in 1937, Richard Burton’s Hamlet, Judi Dench’s Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, which was privately performed to The Queen in 1957 and Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet in 1977.
More recently in 2003 Kevin Spacey was appointed the first Artistic Director of The Old Vic Theatre Company, a company, which has seen admired performances such as Aladdin with Ian McKellen in 2004, John Osborne’s The Entertainer in 2007, in the same year staging All About My Mother starring Mark Gatiss and Lesley Manville. It has also housed The Bridge Project: The Cheery Orchard & the Winter’s Tale with Simon Russell Beale (2009), Other Desert Cities (2014), Much Ado About Nothing directed by Mark Rylance in 2013, Hedda Gabler starring Sheridan Smith in 2012, which receved four star reviews. and Keven Spacey’s Richard III in 2011. In 2016 The Old Vic stages the world premiere of a new musical, Groundhog Day starring Andy Kar, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.
The auditorium has three levels - Stalls, Dress Circle and the Lilian Baylis Circle.
Despite the Dress Circle overhanging over Stalls row T, this doesn’t affect the view due to pillars. There is also a staggered rake that will be noticeable from row J to allow better viewing.
The Lilian Baylis Circle is high above the ground and overhangs the Dress Circle at row C meaning row E will miss the top of the stage. It should be noted that the two rows that extend along the sides of the theatre are padded concrete benches with only a rail to lean on. There is also standing seats available at the sides of this circle.
Facilities At Old Vic Theatre
Seat plan: Old Vic Theatre Seat Plan
Facilities: Air conditioned
Infrared hearing loop
Access description: There is a ramp from street level into the foyer and the box office is on your right. Handrails are available on either side of the entrance. From the foyer there are seven steps into the Stalls (without handrails). There are 20+ steps to the Dress Circle and a further 20 steps to the Baylis Circle (with handrails). The theatre is open 1 hour before the performance.
Sound Amplification: Sennheiser infra-red system. A unit is required to be collected from the cloakroom for a £5 deposit (which will be refunded on return of the unit). 30+ units available, including in-ear types and loop units to be used with the T-setting/switch on hearing aids. Some seats are unsuitable for use with the units, please inform the box office at the time of booking if one is likely to be needed. Induction loop is available at the walk-up box office.
Guide Dogs: Guide dogs are allowed into the auditorium. Alternatively, staff can dog-sit. Pleae inform Box Office at time of booking.
Disabled Access: There is a ramp from street level into the foyer. One wheelchair position in Stalls seat N5, a companion can sit in N6. In the case of a transfer, the wheelchair will be stored in the adapted toilet which is next to the access door and close to the wheelchair position. Please discuss any access needs with the box office at the time of booking.
Toilets: There are men’s and women’s off the Pit bar, and 21 steps up from the Lilian Baylis bar.
Disabled Toilets: Adapted WC on the left inside the side entrance
Nearest tube: Waterloo
Tube lines: Waterloo & City, Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee
Location: West End
Railway station: Waterloo
Bus numbers: (Waterloo Road) 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 521, X68; (Mepham Street) 211, 243, 507
Night bus numbers: (Waterloo Road) 139, 176, 188, N1, N68, N171; (Mepham Street) 243
Car park: Waterloo Station (4mins)
Within congestion zone?: Yes
Directions from tube: (7mins) Take Mepham Street (100 metres) down to Waterloo Road. Turn right on Waterloo Road, but keep left as the theatre is 100 metres further along on the opposite corner.