Theatre News

Old Vic announces bicentennial season

The new season will feature four world premieres including a stage adaptation of Patrick Ness’ ”A Monster Calls”

The new look Old Vic
The new look Old Vic
© The Old Vic

Matthew Warchus has announced four new world premieres for the Old Vic's bicentennial year, the 200-day countdown for which begins today.

The season begins with two previously announced productions; Jack Thorne's adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol starring Rhys Ifans (29 November to 20 January); and Alan Ayckbourn's new two-part epic The Divide from 1 to 10 February. The new piece about the aftermath of a devastating plague premiered in Edinburgh this year and stars Clare Burt and Sophie Melville.

This will be followed by the world stage premiere of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny & Alexander (1 March to 14 April). Adapted by Stephen Beresford and directed by Max Webster, the play is based on the 1982 film which won four Academy Awards. Set in 1900s Sweden, it tells of two siblings whose world is turned upside down when their widowed mother remarries.

In April, Roger Michell will direct the world premiere of Joe Penhall's Mood Music (2 May to 30 June). The piece by the writer of Sunny Afternoon and Blue/Orange, takes place in a London recording studio where two songwriters, their lawyers and their psychotherapists go to battle over music.

In a co-production with Bristol Old Vic, Sally Cookson will direct the world premiere production of A Monster Calls from 17 July to 25 August. Patrick Ness' 2011 novel, which was adapted into a feature film starring Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson last year, tells of a boy who is visited by a monster in the middle of the night as he struggles to cope with his mother's terminal cancer.

The final production in Warchus' third season at the venue will be Sylvia (6 to 22 September), a new musical dance production by Old Vic associate artist Kate Prince. Written by Prince and Priya Parmar, the production will have music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde and will combine hip-hop, soul and funk. Through celebrating the life of women's rights campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst, Sylvia will shed new light on the heart of the Suffragette movement.

Away from the venue, Emma Rice's production of Noël Coward's Brief Encounter returns and will run at the Empire Cinema in London's West End from 2 March 2018, Conor McPherson's Girl From the North Country transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre, and Yasmina Reza's Art embarks on a UK tour.

On the new season, Warchus said: "We love and care for the elderly members of our family and community out of respect for all that they have achieved and contributed in their long lives. On the other hand, we love and care for the young because we are excited about their future and we want them to exuberantly fulfil their potential.

"To honour the Old Vic’s 200th birthday we are celebrating it partly as a treasured historic icon but mostly as an adventurous, youthful, hub of creativity with a vibrant future ahead of it."

First look at Rhys Ifans as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

Rhys Ifans as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
Rhys Ifans as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol
© Helen Maybanks