The Old Vic is one of London’s most renowned independent not-for-profit theatres – a world leader in creativity and entertainment since 1818.
Opening in May 1818, The Old Vic began life as the Royal Colburg Theatre, marking patrons Princess Charlotte and her husband Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. Initially forbidden to show serious drama as a “minor” theatre, the venue began to attract a number of high-profile performers before becoming the Royal Victoria Theatre in July 1833, under the patronage of Victoria, Duchess of Kent. By 1880, it had become colloquially known as the “Old Vic” under the ownership of Emma Cons.
The Old Vic is mercurial: it can transform into a theatre in the round, a space for music and comedy, has played host to opera, dance, cinema, music hall, classical dramas, variety, clowns, big spectacles and novelty acts. It was the original home of the English National Opera, the Sadler’s Wells dance company and the National Theatre company. It’s also been a tavern, a college, a coffee house, a lecture hall and a meeting place.
Today, The Old Vic is well known for a high quality and varied artistic programme, as Artistic Director Matthew Warchus builds on 200 years of creative adventure.