Old Vic announces 200th anniversary season

News | The Old Vic | 24 Oct 2017

Old Vic announces 200th anniversary season

The Old Vic has announced its 200th anniversary season, which includes new adaptations of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Ingmar Bergman's Fanny & Alexander and Patrick Ness' novel A Monster Calls.

There will also be a new musical dance production titled Sylvia, directed and choreographed by Kate Prince, a new play from Joe Penhall and a West End transfer for the venue's recent hit Girl From the North Country.

The 200th birthday itself will be marked with a "three-day birthday party" – comprising a free, balloted performance on 11 May 2018 (the date of the first public performance at The Old Vic in 1818), an open house and street party for families on Saturday 12 May followed by a performance for young people in the evening, and a fundraiser on Sunday 13 May.

The season opens with A Christmas Carol which, as previously announced, will star Rhys Ifans (pictured) as Scrooge. Adapted by Jack Thorne and directed by artistic director Matthew Warchus, the production runs from 20 November to 20 January.

It's followed in February by the London transfer of Alan Ayckbourn's two-part play The Divide, which premiered at this summer's Edinburgh International Festival.

'For this birthday year we are allowing ourselves to focus on new work' (Matthew Warchus)

Fanny & Alexander, adapted from Bergman's classic film by Stephen Beresford and directed by Old Vic associate Max Webster, opens on 1 March. It concerns two siblings whose lives are turned upside down when their mother remarries a strict local bishop.

Joe Penhall's new play is titled Mood Music and is set in an expensive recording studio where two songwriters and their lawyers battle over music. Directed by Roger Michell, it begins performances on 21 April.

In the summer, Patrick Ness' novel A Monster Calls - about a boy struggling to come to terms with his mother's cancer diagnosis - is brought to The Old Vic in a new adaptation by Sally Cookson, whose Jane Eyre was recently seen at the National. It runs from 7 July.

And rounding off the season is Sylvia, directed and choreographed by Kate Prince (Into the Hoods), a "modern musical celebrating the life of Sylvia Pankhurst". Co-written by Prince and Priya Parmar, it features original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde.

Matthew Warchus said: "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. To emphasise this forward-facing spirit, I'm delighted to present a Bicentenary Season comprised entirely of world premiere productions, including four new commissions.

"The Old Vic will of course continue to mix pertinent revivals and refreshed classics into future seasons, but for this birthday year we are allowing ourselves to focus on new work."

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