A not-for-profit producing theatre located on the corner of the Cut in Lambeth, London, the Old Vic is a popular West End house. The theatre was established in 1818 and named the Royal Coburg Theatre. In 1871, the theatre underwent major renovation and was reopened as the Royal Victoria Palace. While the theatre had earned the “Old Vic” nickname by 1880, it was officially renamed the Old Vic Theatre. In 1940, the building was damaged by air raids and reopened in 1951, becoming a Grade II listed building. In 1963, the Old Vic company was retired and overtaken by the new National Theatre Company under the direction of Laurence Olivier. Post the departure of the National Theatre Company, the Old Vic Theatre continued hosting a fine mix of new and classic dramas. In 1998, the building was acquired by a newly created charitable trust, the Old Vic Theatre Trust. Kevin Spacey was named the new artistic director of the theatre in 2004 and brought in a creative selection of British and American talent to the West End stage.
The Old Vic Theatre has been home to a truly diverse range of productions from Shakespearean classics to contemporary hits like Present Laughter. Some of the most iconic shows hosted in the theatre include, All About My Mother, The Taming of The Shrew, The Duchess of Malfi, Hedda Gabler, The Winslow Boy, Much Ado About Nothing, The Crucible, High Society, Groundhog Day, King Lear and many others. Presently, the theatre is set to host A Christmas Carol. Make your trip to the theatre memorable and comfortable with our Old Vic Theatre London guide which has all the information you need from best seats to nearby restaurants.
Address: The Cut, Lambeth, London SE1 8NB, UK
Seating Capacity: 1020
Stalls : 543
Dress Circle: 208
Lilian Baylis Circle: 269
Check out the Old Vic Theatre Seating Plan here.
Now Playing at Old Vic Theatre London
A Christmas Carol
The famed christmas fable, helmed by Matthew Warchus returns to the Old Vic for the consecutive third year. Written originally by Charles Dickens in the year 1843, the novel was penned at a time when newer customs including Christmas trees were becoming a seasonal norm and carols were being reimagined. Jack Thorne, a Tony and Olivier Award winner, is the playwright adapting the novel for the West End stage. Even if viewers happen to know the original story too well, the brilliance of both Thorne and Warchus turn this show into a thoroughly compelling one.
The all-familiar story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge takes centrestage yet again in the show. He refuses giving to charities and is not generous towards his nephew or those who work for him. One day, as Scrooge gets home, he is paid a visit by the ghost of Jacob Marley, his former business along with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. The ghosts take him on distinct journeys that revive the human being in him. Will these experiences bring about a definite change in the mindset of Scrooge? Watch the show to find out.
Monday to Saturday - 1:00 PM & 7:00 PM
2 hours and 5 minutes, with 1 intermission
Stalls: This is the most accessible section out of the three and is virtually step-free thanks to a temporary ramp available at the alternative entrance.
Dress Circle: You need to take 29 steps up from the foyer to access the dress circle section. Since there's no customer lift in the theatre, this section should be avoided by patrons with limited mobility.
Lillian Baylis Circle: The last section of the theatre, Lilian Baylis circle can be reached by climbing up 49 steps from the foyer. This section is also not recommended for patrons with limited mobility due to the lack of a customer lift.
Wheelchair Accessible: Given the design of the Old Vic Theatre, there's very limited wheelchair-accessible spaces and all of them are in the stalls section. Wheelchair spaces are available in the aisle next to rows V and N. These two spaces are the only wheelchair-accessible ones in the theatre but both offer a good view of the stage. Patrons who require assistance with the wheelchair can reach out to the staff who are on hand to help.
Restroom: Toilets for both men and women are available in all three sections of the theatre. An accessible unisex toilet is also located at the alternative entrance and has support handrails in place to further assist patrons.
Bar: Penny, previously known as The Pit Bar, has temporarily moved to the first floor due the refurbishment happening at the theatre presently. The bar is open throughout the day and serves drinks, snacks, and sandwiches for patrons. For users with limited mobility, mobile drink-sellers will be available in the stalls section. In the Lilian Baylis circle, Mark's Bar serves drinks from 6 pm onwards.
Assistive Listening System: The auditorium is equipped with a Sennheiser Infrared System and there are two types of hearing devices available for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. These are headsets and neck loops which can be collected from the main foyer before the performance begins.
Cloakroom: A cloakroom is available in the foyer level for patrons to store their small items for a cost of £1 per item. Large bags will not be checked in to the cloakroom and won't be allowed inside the auditorium either, so pack accordingly.
- The Old Vic Theatre is presently undergoing some renovation work to enable easier access and add more ladies restrooms. This really won't affect your experience at the theatre but be prepared for certain structural changes when you reach the theatre.
- If you happen to be late for your show, don't worry since there's a late-comers point for most shows. There are appropriate moments in the show when a staff member will escort you to your seat.
- The theatre has many retail outlets selling show merchandise, confectionery, and ice creams. Just reach out to a staff member and they will point you in the direction of the nearest shop.
- Hot food is not allowed inside the theatre and the bars only serve cold sandwiches to comply with this rule. Patrons are not allowed to take an open drink outside the show, so finish your drink before leaving. Also, only plastic containers are allowed inside the auditorium.
- You might be filmed during the show for some promotional material. If you're not comfortable with that, please drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so that your photo or video can be removed.
- If you need to book one of the wheelchair spaces in the stalls, please contact the theatre staff to ensure that the seats don't get sold out beforehand.
The Old Vic Theatre is located in one of the busiest areas of London and close to a lot of transport networks. If you're wondering how to get to the Old Vic Theatre, here are some of the best options:
Tube: The closest Tube station is Waterloo located just three minutes walk from the theatre. This station is serviced by the Northern, Waterloo, Jubilee, Bakerloo and City tube lines.
Bus: If you wish to take a bus to the theatre, the following routes ply to the area: 1, 168, 171, 176, 188, 68, N1, N 171, and N68.
Vehicle: There are many spots close to the Old Vic Theatre where you can park your car. These include Hayward Gallery, Hungerford Bridge, National Theatre Car Park and Union Car Park.
Restaurants near Old Vic Theatre London
1. Sarastro: Enjoy classic Turkish mezze dishes and grilled meats at this cosy eatery located under the railway arches.
2. Byron Hamburgers: Visit this American-inspired chain diner for their posh hamburgers with a fine selection of toppings, salads, and sides.
3. Ristorante Olivelli: This casual trattoria serves classic Italian dishes and Sicilian delicacies with charming outdoor seating.
4. Wahaca Waterloo: Head over to this Mexican chain diner with a lively soundtrack for small plates of market-style food and cocktails.
5. Baltic Restaurant and Bar: Go on a culinary tour of the Baltics, Russian, Hungary and Poland in a converted coach builder’s workshop setting.
More West End Guides
For more West End information, here are some helpful quick links!