Theatre News

Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and John Boyega among Old Vic ambassadors for 200th birthday celebrations

Bertie Carvel will be running the marathon to raise funds for the venue

Helen McCrory, Bertie Carvel, Jon Boyega, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Pearl Mackie
Helen McCrory, Bertie Carvel, John Boyega, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Pearl Mackie
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The Old Vic has announced its Bicentenary ambassadors to celebrate its 200th birthday.

The ambassadors, composed of famous names from across the entertainment industry, will appear at various events and performances across the year's birthday celebrations. Some may appear on stage or curate monologues, while others will help raise awareness of the venue's education and community programmes. Bertie Carvel will run the London Marathon to raise funds for the venue.

The announced ambassadors include Nikki Amuka-Bird, Sheila Atim, John Boyega, Cate Blanchett, Kim Cattrall, Lily Cole, Alan Cumming, Judi Dench, Michelle Dockery, Rupert Everett, Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, David Harewood, Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones, Cush Jumbo, Pearl Mackie, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley, Bill Nighy, Anika Noni Rose, Mark Rylance, Andrew Scott, Tom Stoppard, Stanley Tucci and Julie Walters.

As previously announced, Maxine Peake will curate a series of monologues called One Hand Tied Behind Us to mark International Women’s Day and the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act of 1918. Helen McCrory will be conducting an acting workshop for budding actors or actresses.

A number of the venue's ambassadors will be sharing birthday messages to the theatre that will be released during the week of the birthday in May.

The Old Vic, originally named the Royal Coburg, first opened its doors in 1818, and during its 200-year history has acted as the original home of the English National Opera, the Sadler’s Wells dance company and the National Theatre.

Artistic director Matthew Warchus said: "For me, it’s essential to recognise that the illustrious history of this building is also characterised by mischief, populism, sometimes breath-taking boldness and risk. Above all, it’s been a place full of youthful vitality and an urge to reinvent itself to stay relevant."