Now over 200 years old, the Old Vic is one of London’s most established theatres to date. It also holds the nickname ‘The Actors’ Theatre’, for its history in prompting the careers of many notable actors, such as Laurence Olivier, Ian McKellen, Peter O’Toole, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
The Old Vic opened in 1818 under the name the Royal Coburg Theatre. The building was later renamed in the late 19th century in honour of Queen Victoria as the Royal Victoria Theatre and Royal Victoria Hall. Its nickname of the ‘Old Vic’ took shape and lead to the official adoption of its current name in 1925.
Over the years, the theatre has seen many Shakespearean adaptations with infamous performances, including Dame Judi Dench as Juliet in a private performance for the Queen in 1957. It was also the temporary home of the National Theatre company. In 2003, Hollywood actor and producer Kevin Spacey became the theatre’s first Artistic Director. In his 12 years at the Old Vic, the theatre showcased many major productions, such as Kiss Me Kate, Cinderella and Aladdin. The Old Vic is now synonymous with a full, eclectic programme of award-winning productions, dance and music performances and major musicals from the West End.