The Old Vic announces four world premiere productions in bicentenary season

The Old Vic

Matthew Warchus has announced a new season at the Old Vic as it prepares to celebrate its 200th birthday in May.

The theatre has previously announced the world premiere of Jack Thorne’s take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which will star Rhys Ifans in November, and Alan Ayckbourn’s two-part dystopian epic The Divide, which first ran in Edinburgh in August.

Four more world premiere productions have now been announced, starting with Stephen Beresford’s adaptation of Fanny & Alexander, by Ingmar Bergman. Directed by Max Webster, the play tells the story of the titular characters whose lives change when their widowed mother remarries a local bishop. It runs at the theatre form 21st February, with an official opening on 1st March.

Joe Penhall’s Mood Music will get its first production in April. It tells the story of two songwriters in a London recording studio with their lawyers and psychotherapists. Penhall is the writer responsible for penning Sunny Afternoon, and Mood Music will be directed by Roger Mitchell when it runs at the Old Vic from 21st April (official opening on 2nd May).

Based on the novel by Patrick Ness, Sally Cookson will direct an adaptation of A Monster Calls which has been devised by the company. Ness’ story is about a 13-year old oy called Conor who is woken one night by a monster at his window. Based on an original idea by Siobhan Dowd, the piece will premiere at Bristol Old Vic in May before making the move to the capital on 7th July (official opening 17th July).

Sylvia is a musical by Kate Prince and Priya Parmar which celebrates the life of Sylvia Pankhurst, who had a central role in the Suffragette movement. The piece has original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, and will incorporate dance, hip hip, soul and funk to ‘shed new light on a remarkable story’. This co-production between the Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells and ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company runs from 1st September, with an official opening on 6th September.

It has also been announced the Kneehigh’s production of Brief Encounter by Noel Coward, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, will open a the Empire Cinema in the West End from 2nd March.

Details have also been announced for a three-day birthday party at the theatre. There will be a free, balloted performance on Friday 11th May – which is the date of the first performance at the venue in 1818, an open house and family street party on Saturday 12th May with a performance for young people in the evening, and a fundraising event on Sunday 13th May.

Artistic director Matthew Warchus, who entered his third year at the helm of the Old Vic in September, said: “We aim for this famous building to be a welcoming, fun, surprising and indispensable cultural landmark, now and for another 200 years. Please join us this celebratory season and entertain something new.”

Photos courtesy Andrew Baddeley (flickr)

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