The Old Vic’s Charity Partner for 2019 is a national literacy charity that works to provide high-quality one-to-one support to disadvantaged children. The Old Vic will work with Coram Beanstalk through staff volunteering, a potential reading scheme in the new Annex, and the charity will benefit from The Old Vic’s bucket collections throughout A Christmas Carol 2019.
As a registered charity itself, The Old Vic believes that it is vital to encourage all who visit to support others and in recent years has held bucket collections throughout A Christmas Carol to raise money for various charities. Held in 2017 in aid of Field Lane, and then again in 2018 for The Felix Project, our incredible audiences have donated in excess of £220k over the past two years to support charities with missions aligning with the themes of the production.
This partnership is announced as the theatre continues to demonstrate its commitment to building a fairer society and supporting the cultural, educational and social development of the communities in which it serves. For further information on The Old Vic’s social mission visit: https://www.oldvictheatre.com/our-impact
In addition to supporting the charity financially, Old Vic staff will also offer practical support through the theatre’s Time to Volunteer initiative which, for one day each year, offers all staff the chance to spend the day volunteering at a charity or cause that is important to them. Through the partnership with Coram Beanstalk, staff will have the chance to work directly with those the charity supports including Becoming a Reading Helper through visiting Lambeth and Southwark schools to help young people with their reading or to take part in a Story Reader Day by spending the day reading with children at a local school, amongst others.
As The Old Vic looks to the future and the creation of a £12m cultural hub adjacent to the theatre, The Annex, it is partnerships like this that are vital in enabling the organisation to positively impact more lives than ever before. Through increasing current project provision and the introduction of new projects that focus on vital life skills such as literacy and communication, the theatre will double the current number of people benefitting from its work each year. The five-storey Annex will include a Clore Learning Centre for community groups, schools and colleges with integrated education offices and a library of playtexts freely available to schools and visitors. Plus, the theatre will gain the ability to mount studio theatre-style performances, diversifying the offer with intimate drama, music, comedy and dance. A new reading scheme in The Annex with Coram Beanstalk is part of the partnership discussions.
On the Charity Partner scheme, Executive Director, Kate Varah said: ‘The Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol inspires a collective spirit of generosity in our audiences towards those around them. It feels entirely right each year to harness this spirit for the benefit of another charity whose activities align with those that Dickens upheld. Through the creation of the Ragged School, Dickens campaigned to tackle the inequalities of access to education and we are delighted to work with an organisation that continues to address such issues within today’s society. Coram Beanstalk helps children develop a love of reading which will set them up for life’
Ginny Lunn, Managing Director of Coram Beanstalk said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that Coram Beanstalk has been chosen as The Old Vic’s charitable partner for A Christmas Carol 2019. At Coram Beanstalk we believe that no child should be left behind because of poor literacy skills. Last year 24% of primary school leavers across London did not reach the expected standard of reading. That’s why we recruit, train and place volunteers in schools across the capital and beyond to share the magic of books and to help more children leave primary school with a lifelong love of reading and the skills they need to thrive. This partnership really celebrates the life-changing power of a story and will help us support so many more children who need extra help to be confident readers. We are incredibly grateful to The Old Vic and its audiences for their support this Christmas’