Matthew Warchus unveils 2015/16 Old Vic Season

The new Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre on London's Southbank, Matthew Warchus, today announced details of his upcoming inaugural season at the venue including details of new partnerships and outreach projects.

He described the season as 'something for everyone', with shorter runs allowing a more diverse programming of work:

"My first season demonstrates our aim to present more productions per year, of wide-ranging work, in a 'something for everyone' approach which reflects my own eclectic tastes and love of this unique and uplifting art form. In its dazzling history, The Old Vic has been home not only to great acting but also to dance, musical extravaganzas, vaudeville and spectacle. This diverse heritage is a big part of my inspiration going forward."

The first production in the new season will be Future Conditional by Tamsin Oglesby, featuring 23 young performers, directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Rob Brydon. It will run from 1 September 2015 to 3 October, with an official opening on 10 September 2015.

"Future Conditional tackles the conundrum of British schooling through a myriad of characters including parents, teachers, and Alia, a prodigiously clever young Afghan refugee and the newest member of Britain’s Education Research Board. Alia has a radical solution for Britain’s schools that could restore our place in the world education league. But is the system ready to take lessons from a schoolgirl...?"

This will be followed by the classic American drama The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill and directed by Richard Jones, which will run from 17 October to 21 November 2015, with an official opening on 29 October 2015.

"The Hairy Ape tells the story of Yank, a labourer who revels in his status as the strongest stoker on a transatlantic ocean liner. But when Yank is called a ‘filthy beast’ by the overbred daughter of a steel merchant, he experiences an awakening of consciousness that leads him on a journey through the wealthy neighbourhoods and disenfranchised underbelly of New York society. Searching for a way to belong, Yank is forced to confront primal questions about his true place in the world."

The Christmas production will be an new stage adaptation of Dr Seuss's The Lorax by David Grieg, directed by Max Webster which will run from 2 December to 16 January 2016, with an official opening on 15 December 2015.

"Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s classic tale, The Lorax tells of a moustachioed and cantankerous critter who’s on a mission to protect the earth from the greedy, tree-chopping, Thneed-knitting businessman known only as The Once-ler."

Looking further ahead into 2016, the season will continue with an Ibsen classic, The Master Builder, in a new adaptation by David Hare with Ralph Fiennes in the title role, directed by Matthew Warchus.

"Halvard Solness, a master architect, has spent his lifetime building the tallest spires in the land. But when Hilde, a radiant country girl, descends unexpectedly into his world, age is confronted by youth, and a series of revelations builds to a vertiginous climax."

This will be followed by Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker, starring Timothy Spall, directed by Matthew Warchus.

"Disturbed handyman Aston has invited an irascible tramp to stay with him at his brother’s jumbled London flat. At first it seems that the manipulative guest will take advantage of his vulnerable host. But when Aston’s brother Mick arrives, an enigmatic power struggle emerges between the three men that is in equal parts menacing, touching and darkly comic."

The first musical in the season will reunite the creative team of 'Matilda the Musical' with the world premiere of a new musical adaptation of the 1993 film Groundhog Day which will feature book by original screenwriter Danny Rubin, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Matthew Warchus.

"Groundhog Day is the story of Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, when sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself caught in a time loop where he is forced to repeat the same day again and again…and again."

The 2015/16 season will also include a new dance thriller, Jekyll and Hyde, created by Drew McOnie and a series of Variety Nights inspired by The Old Vic's vaudeville history featuring household names and newcomers in comedy, music, magic and variety.

Also announced were new commissions to writers Richard Bean, Caroline Bird, Dennis Kelly, David Nicholls, Diana Nneka Atuona and Mark Watson, plus the creation of a ground-breaking new musical commissioning fund.

Coming attractions in future seasons include the first revival of 'Art' by Yasmina Reza, the 50th anniversary production of 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead' by Tom Stoppard, and a new musical based on the film 'Pride' written by Stephen Beresford.

Tickets for shows in the first half of the season go on general sale from 12 May 2015 at 12 noon.

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