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Old Vic announces celebratory bicentenary season

Published October 24, 2017

200 days ahead of its 200th birthday on 11 May 2018, The Old Vic has today announced the launch of its bicentenary season of world premieres.

To celebrate the momentous occasion in Artistic Director Matthew Warchus’ third year at the venue’s helm, a piece of OV200 (200 years of The Old Vic) content will be released by the prestigious theatre every day, delving into surprising stories past, present and future, along with memories shared by the public. Audiences can follow along and share their stories through The Old Vic’s social media channels.

On the stage, the season opens with the previously announced Jack Thorne adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol next month, directed by Warchus and starring Rhys Ifans as Ebenezer Scrooge, and the Alan Ayckbourn epic The Divide, presented in two parts this coming February.

A new adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander (previews from 21 February 2018), the legendary filmmaker’s tale of romance and glamour in 1900s Sweden, follows, translated to the stage by BAFTA Award-winning Stephen Beresford and Old Vic Associate Director Max Webster. Two siblings’ worlds are turned upside down when their widowed mother remarries.

A new play by Joe Penhall (who penned Sunny Afternoon), Mood Music (previews from 21 April 2018), explores the psychodrama of making music, before Sally Cookson directs a new devised adaptation of Patrick Ness’ novel A Monster Calls (previews from 7 July 2018), a dazzling insight into love, loss and healing which sees a child meet a monster at midnight.

The season is rounded off by a new musical dance production, Sylvia, which previews from 1 September 2018, celebrating 100 years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote. Writer, director and choreographer Kate Prince combines dance, hip hop, soul and funk to shed new light on a remarkable story at the heart of the Suffragette movement.

The 200th birthday itself will be marked with a three-day birthday party – comprising a free, balloted performance on Friday 11 May (the date of the first public performance at The Old Vic in 1818), an open house and street party for families on Saturday 12 May, followed by a performance for young people in the evening, and a fundraiser on Sunday 13 May.

During the bicentennial year, The Old Vic will also be working with a number of OV200 partners, including various cultural organisations that began their lives within the walls of The Old Vic: Morley College, the National Theatre and Sadler’s Wells.

Artistic Director Matthew Warchus commented: “To honour The Old Vic’s 200th birthday we are celebrating it partly as a treasured historic icon but mostly as an adventurous, youthful, hub of creativity with a vibrant future ahead of it. To emphasise this forward-facing spirit, I’m delighted to present a Bicentenary Season comprised entirely of world premiere productions, including four new commissions.”

“We aim for this famous building to be a welcoming, fun, surprising and indispensable cultural landmark, now and for another 200 years. Please join us this celebratory season and entertain something new.”

More information on the new season is currently available through The Old Vic website.