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Emma Rice, current Artistic Director for Shakespeare's Globe, is set to step down from that position in April 2018, following her short tenure. However, her next theatrical venture was today revealed by The Old Vic. Rice's new theatre company, which goes by the name of Wise Children, was named as a new 'Company in Residence' at the Waterloo-based venue. Furthermore, the inaugural production, also entitled 'Wise Children' (a new adaptation of Angela Carter’s novel of the same name) will kick off the Old Vic's 2018-2019 season - the fourth season under the artistic leadership of Matthew Warchus. A second unnamed production will follow in its footsteps.
Rice issued the following statement: "I named my new company Wise Children after Angela Carter's seminal novel, which is set in South London and is a love letter to theatre. It makes total narrative and thrilling sense to start the Wise Children journey at The Old Vic! This iconic, independent and proudly innovative theatre has hosted Shakespeare and Variety, music and dance alike for almost 200 years and it is the perfect first home for my company and for our first production. It will come as no surprise that this first production will be an adaptation of the novel, Wise Children - "What a joy it is to dance and sing!”. I am following in extraordinary footsteps and grateful to Matthew Warchus and his team for welcoming Wise Children with such brave and open arms.”
Although the Old Vic will be the London home of Wise Children, the company's mission is to create pieces of work to tour both nationally and internationally. In addition, Rice aims to launch a training and apprenticeship scheme under the banner of ‘Emma Rice’s School for Wise Children’ encouraging the development of a variety of skills across the theatre sector.
2018 marks the bicentenary celebrations for The Old Vic, which - over the course of its illustrious history - has given birth to a handful of dominant theatre companies still present in London's West End today, including the English National Opera, the Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells and the National Theatre itself. Both Rice and Warchus hope that Wise Children will be able to follow suit and match its predecessors' astonishing achievements within the theatre community. “In 2018 The Old Vic celebrates 200 years of independent, creatively adventurous theatre," comments Matthew Warchus. "I am thrilled to welcome Emma and her new company, Wise Children, as our Company in Residence for the bicentenary. Emma and all she stands for is symbolic of the optimism and irrepressible spirit that has kept The Old Vic at the forefront of artistic adventure for the last two centuries.”