Theatre News

The Old Vic announces new season including Emma Rice, Caryl Churchill and Into the Woods

Exciting plans are ahead for the central London venue

The Old Vic
The Old Vic
© Manuel Harlan

The Old Vic has revealed a year's worth of live performances at its central London home, as well as some digital offerings to be presented later this summer.

In a final live-streamed event as part of the Old Vic: In Camera series, Jeremy Herrin will direct Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter, starring Daniel Mays and David Thewlis. A live 'studio' audience will be invited into the auditorium to watch the show, the first time that in-situ spectators have been welcomed into the space since the pandemic began. It runs from 7 to 10 July 2021.

After this, the theatre will welcome back Wise Children for the world premiere of Emma Rice's Bagdad Cafe, based on the much-loved '80s film. Running from 19 July to 21 August, the show will star Patrycja Kujawska, Le Gateau Chocolat and Sandra Marvin. Further creative team members are to be revealed. The show will also be streamed from 25 to 28 August for online audiences.

The venue's executive director Kate Varah told WhatsOnStage: "We always ask ourselves: 'Who are we serving?' and we know that some people just aren't confident yet to come back in, so it was out of that need that we decided to bring in this streaming option and remain as accessible as possible during the summer months."

"The Dumb Waiter is really exciting – we get the studio audience perspective but it's also being directed for the people at home. It's all about mixing it up and seeing what works. The joy of having everything up in the air is that you can decide where it lands – rather than going back to the structures we have."

Heading into the autumn, Bess Wohl's Camp Siegfried will have its world premiere at the venue from 7 September to 30 October. Directed by Katy Rudd, Wohl's piece is inspired by the real camp of the same name, which preached Nazi ideology from Long Island in the 1930s.

'We are a civic centre and we want to welcome people into our space'

Jack Thorne's much-loved A Christmas Carol (essentially a festive staple at the venue) will return once more, running from 13 November to 8 January 2022.

Later in January, Lennie James and Paapa Essiedu will star in Caryl Churchill's classic A Number, directed by Lyndsey Turner. The piece follows an unorthodox set of relationships between a man and his son.

Completing the season will be an eagerly anticipated revival of Into the Woods, which you can find out all about here.

The venue has also unveiled a plethora of commissions it will be developing over the coming years. These include a musical adaptation of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr, brought to the stage with book and lyrics by Caroline Bird, with music by Miranda Cooper and Nick Coler. Atri Banerjee, Sarah Frankcom and Paul Unwin will work on a play dedicated to the NHS, while new texts will come from Diana Nneka Atuona, Natasha Gordon, Regina Taylor and Roy Williams.

A new free membership scheme will be launched for those in the Lambeth and Southwark area, providing money off food and drink as well as ticket discounts. There will be multi-buy e-tickets available for those who purchase one or two shows together.

Varah explained: "We are a civic centre and we want to welcome people into our space. It also makes sense commercially – we want to fill our theatre and how better to do that than with those who don't have to get on the tube and live nearby."

The Old Vic will celebrate Pride Month with a re-release of Queers, curated my Mark Gatiss, on BBC iPlayer with two new monologues being presented on the venue's YouTube channel. Furthermore, the theatre will mark Refugee Week with three new monologues curated by Noma Dumezweni.

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