UK Travel Guide


Old Vic

The name Old Vic has long been associated with Shakespeare - it was the first theatre to produce all of the great bard's plays in the First Folio. Its early history however, was very different. In 1816 building of the Royal Coburg was started, but after if finally opened in 1818 it quickly became the realm of lurid melodramas. Since 1833 the theatre has been known affectionately, and then officially. as the Old Vic. Redecorated and renamed the Royal Victoria had no affect on the entertainment offered. Renamed once again in 1871 as the New Victoria Palace, it closed in 1880. Less than a year later it reopened as the Royal Victoria Hall and Coffee Tavern and was used for concerts, operas and extracts from Shakespeare. In 1912 the theatre was rescued by the unique management style and personality of Lilian Baylis, described by some as 'The Magnificent Tyrant', who embarked on the history-making Shakespeare season. The building was closed for the duration of the war after suffering sever bomb damage in 1941. Reopening in 1950 it became the home of the Old Vic Company, the unofficial national theatre company. In 1963 the theatre became the temporary home (for 13 years!) of the embryonic National Theatre formed under the guidance of Laurence Olivier. A 2 million face-lift in 1982 saw the Old Vic take on a new lease of life and play host to a number of musicals interspersed with the traditional Shakespeare and high quality dramas.

Located at: Waterloo Road, London, SE1

Telephone: 020 7928 7616

Opens: Box Office Open 10:00am - 6:00pm

Cost: phone for current prices

Closest Subway Station: Waterloo Station (Click to see more atrraction at this station)