Cloaca Launches Kevin Spacey's Old Vic TenureDate: 28 September 2004
The Old Vic is tonight reborn as a major producing (as opposed to receiving) house, under the auspices of Hollywood actor turned artistic director Kevin Spacey (pictured). Spacey’s newly minted Old Vic Theatre Company launches its inaugural season with the UK premiere (previews from 16 September) of Dutch writer Maria Goos’ play, Cloaca, directed by Spacey himself.
The Old Vic Theatre Company, and Spacey’s leadership of it, was first announced in February 2003. At the time, Spacey explained his own relationship to the Old Vic: "My commitment to this theatre began when I performed Howard Davies' production of The Iceman Cometh on stage at the Vic in 1998. As an actor I have never had quite the dynamic between the audience and performer as the one our company experienced in Eugene O'Neill's classic play. We actors tend to search for places where the effort of performance is minimal but the reward immeasurable; both of these realities exist within the walls of the Old Vic….
"My introduction to the Old Vic began much earlier than 1998 when I was a small boy. My parents took theatre trips from America to London starting when I was around seven years old. I remember seeing Shakespeare and other productions on the Old Vic stage. Some of my earliest memories of the theatre experience itself surround these family trips to England. To have grown up to act on the stage itself was a dream come true. To find myself in the role of director of the Old Vic theatre is beyond my wildest imaginings.”
Amongst other things, Spacey has promised the future of the Old Vic, in keeping with its “great glamorous” past, will see some of his Hollywood peers treading the boards as well as regular in-house Shakespeare productions, in which he himself will star. Further down the line, after a few years of working with different actors, directors and other creatives, he aims to develop a more permanent, cross-casting ensemble of artists at the South Bank landmark. He has also vowed to seek Arts Council funding towards the maintenance of the listing building.
Spacey’s inaugural 2004/2005 season will then continue with: a Christmas run of Aladdin (17 December 2004 to 22 January 2005), directed by Sean Mathias and starring Ian McKellen as panto dame Widow Twankey; the British premiere of Dennis McIntyre’s American 1980s three-hander National Anthems (1 February to 23 April 2005), directed by David Grindley and starring Spacey; and, also starring Spacey, a revival of Philip Barry’s 1939 Broadway comedy The Philadelphia Story (3 May to 23 July 2005).
- by Terri Paddock
For more information on Kevin Spacey’s appointment, the Old Vic & the inaugural season, please see the following: