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The Old Vic Theatre 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB
The theatre was founded in 1818 by James King and Daniel Dunn and John Thomas Serres, who managed to secure the formal patronage of Princess Charlotte and her husband Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg naming the theatre the Royal Coburg Theatre.
The Old Vic was built to provide entertainment for the “nobility and gentry”. This was clear from its first night performances in 1818 – an assortment of melodrama, Asiatic ballet and a ‘harlequinade’.
Over the next 70 years, it changed its name no less than four times and it closed down with every name change. It was only in 1884 as ‘The Royal Victoria Hall and Coffee Tavern’ that the Old Vic began to be respected as a proper theatre, mostly due to its popular seasons of Shakespeare plays.
The penny lectures given in the hall led to the foundation of Morley College, an adult education college, that moved only in the 1920s. Morley College is an adult education college in central London. It offers part time, day and evening courses, for leisure, pleasure or to gain a qualification.It offers courses in a wide variety of fields including art and design, fashion, languages, drama, dance, music, health and humanities.
The Old Vic was damaged badly during the Second World War, and the Old Vic Company could only return to their rebuilt home in 1950.
In 1963, the Old Vic company was dissolved and the new National Theatre Company, under the artistic direction of Laurence Olivier, was based at the Old Vic. In 1976 the National Theatre company moved to their own building in the National Theatre.
In 1998 Bourne Capital responded to a public outcry to rescue The Old Vic, by forming The Old Vic Theatre Trust to protect its future. The Trust has managed to re-launch this great landmark to unprecedented success and wide public acclamation.
The Old Vic Theatre Auditorium
THE Present-day Old vic The Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey became artistic director of the newly established Old Vic production company and raised the theatre’s profile. He has since starred in and directed a significant number of its plays.
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