One day in 1957 at the invitation of my godmother and aunt as an awkward 13-year-old I boarded the train from Farnham to Waterloo and crossed the road to the magic that is The Old Vic.
My godmother was Tanya Moiseiwitsch (1914 – 2003), stage designer of Two Gentlemen of Verona then showing. Tanya married into my family in December 1942. Her RAF husband Felix Krish was killed just over nine weeks later and she didn’t marry again. However, she kept in regular contact with members of our family until her death.
After having worked as an apprentice scene painter at The Old Vic in the early days, she returned in 1944 and joined the company (then at the Playhouse, Liverpool), the beginning of a professional relationship that was to last quite regularly until the company became the National Theatre with Laurence Olivier and beyond. I’m proud of her innovative ‘ thrust’ stage for the Stratford Festival in Canada in 1953 and similar designs for other theatres later. A quirk of her costume design was that, unusually, she gave the bodies a face in her drawings which makes the prints of her sketches hanging on my wall a charming memento.
Long may The Old Vic continue its magnificent work!
Do you have an Old Vic story to share in the countdown to our bicentenary? We’d love to hear from you.