The Old Vic Community Company

The Old Vic is extremely proud of its long-held reputation as a ‘theatre for all’. From the days of Lilian Baylis through to the creation of The Old Vic Community Company, the glorious diversity of London’s residents has been central to our work. Between 2013 and 2016, 12,581 people engaged with the Community Company and 5,911 people watched a Community Company production for free. Comprising members from every London borough, we created a theatre company of 200 people from all backgrounds, aged 16–85, and presented three productions in three different locations, including a purpose-built theatre.

The Old Vic Community Company offered talented Londoners the space to explore shared social issues and a platform from which to express themselves as a united voice. Open to participants from all over our city, we invited them to share and voice their opinions through the process of collaborating and creating theatre together. Over three years we created a company of over 200 Londoners, held regular drop in sessions and bootcamps, created a Community Company steering committee and writers group, found a hub for our community work, The Old Vic Workrooms, and staged three professional and ambitious productions culminating with our largest production, Rise, which was staged in our purpose built temporary theatre on the Millennium Green, adjacent to The Old Vic in Waterloo.

Staged with the same value and resources as a main house show, the community productions were inclusive, ambitious, and representative of the diversity of our city. Members were invited to not only take part in a production but also join a community where they were challenged to step out of their comfort zone, build confidence, increase their wellbeing, share ideas, and expand social networks.

Over three years we built a company that was multi-faceted, diverse and active. Members did not just build a company that created relevant work about the people it involved; they also built a community. We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part and everyone who helped us make it happen.

Meet some of the Community Company for yourselves and relive the highlights in our short film.