Old Vic Acquires Waterloo Tunnels for Free WorkDate: 19 February 2010
The Old Vic has acquired tunnels beneath Waterloo Station to create a new, non-profit performance space for a series of at least four shows and art installations this year.
The new space, which will be known as the Old Vic Tunnels, was first unvieled last May in a collaboration between the Old Vic and site-specific specialists Punchdrunk (See News, 8 May 2009). That inaugural show, simply called Tunnel 228 after British Rail’s name for the space, took over the disused vaults for 15 days, with 15,000 free tickets snapped up within hours of being announced.
For the new initiative, the Old Vic-curated shows will typically run between two to five weeks. The 2010 Tunnels season will culminated with an Old Vic New Voices community production entitled Platform, which will see 100 Londoners devising a new piece of theatre specifically for the space. The theatre will hold open auditions for Platform, and again will make tickets free of charge, for an anticipated 4,000-strong audience over ten performances.
Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey commented: “The Old Vic is thrilled to be developing plans for this incredible space, where exciting performances and creative collaborations will feature throughout the year. Inspired by the success of Tunnel 228 last year, this epic space beneath Waterloo Station will again host memorable experiences for visitors.”
Sponsors are being sought to fund future work for the Old Vic Tunnels, which prior to last year, had not been used for 30 years. In Tunnel 228, which was backed by Bloomberg, eight performers posed as a track cleaning crew and interacted with theatregoers, who were admitted, and issued with protective face masks, at timed intervals.