The Gift of Theatre

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The Black Friday deals loom and the Christmas shopping rush is officially upon us. It doesn’t come in a large box and it isn’t particularly easy to wrap, but we have a gift for theatre lovers that will stay with them for the whole year.

We want everyone to be able to access the benefits of being a friend of The Old Vic, which is why we offer a range of levels to suit all budgets. Starting £35 for a year on Direct Debit, memberships include a dedicated booking line, priority booking for main stage productions and Q&As and more.

To get closer to the artistic life of the theatre those donating on Patron level and beyond are also invited to exclusive behind-the-scenes events with insights into rehearsals, pre-show drinks receptions and talks from members of our casts and creative teams.

There are many reasons people decide to become a friend of The Old Vic. Meet some of our current supporters and find out why.

‘”Don’t worry; I have seen it a few times before.”

So said the elderly gentleman when my younger daughter apologised to him for blocking his view at the Backstage Notes event for Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Ten minutes later, imagine her embarrassment and our elder daughter’s amusement when the elderly gentleman was asked to step forward and was introduced as Sir Tom Stoppard. As a family we really enjoy the Backstage Notes events for the insights they give into forthcoming productions and the chance to meet the casts and directors. My wife and I have been lifelong lovers of the theatre and The Old Vic has helped us pass on that love to our two daughters. We first became involved with The Old Vic after seeing Inherit the Wind in 2009 with American Friends, who were associated with the Lincoln Center Theater, New York. Since then we have been Patrons so that we could support in a small way the great work that is done at The Old Vic. We have tried to see every production and have had many memorable nights at the theatre. Thank you.’

Martin & Cathy Pluck

 

‘Neither my brother nor I have ever forgotten the excitement that getting on the train as a child, to come up to London and go to the theatre brought. Our parents didn’t study or work in the theatre, they just knew how important it was to install that love early in a child’s life – the sense of wonder that never quite leaves you. The Old Vic has always been a place that we loved to come too.

Becoming a Benefactor of The Old Vic was my brother’s birthday gift to me, back in 2011; a recognition of that shared love. It’s a wonderful present. The Old Vic’s commitment to delivering the very best seasons and its beautiful building make it the quintessential London theatre. My family and friends eagerly look forward to being invited along to its supporter’s events. There’s something about The Old Vic that takes you back to that same childhood excitement and wonder of the theatre. And what makes it even more special now is knowing that you have a small part in helping continue that for future generations.’

Kate O’Shaughnessy

 

‘I have been in love with the theatre from a very young age and this love affair has always been extremely rewarding and fulfilling. The decision of becoming a patron at The Old Vic was made in 2011, after I read about the community projects The Old Vic started to provide to the more disadvantaged people in the area. This was the detail that made me choose this theatre, among so many other options. I like everything about The Old Vic and my membership. All productions are fantastic and the related events always fun, informative, and inspirational. The Old Vic staff are professional, warm, inclusive, and they go the extra mile to truly make us feel a part of The Old Vic family. The connection with The Old Vic balances my life, expands my creativity, and gives me a more complex and rich perspective of the world. It makes me a better human being. Knowing that my membership keeps providing an opportunity to so many talented young people, who otherwise would not be able to pursue their dreams, gives me a great deal of happiness and a deep sense of purpose.’

Ines Varela-Silva

 

‘My love of theatre stems back to when I was three years old and my Mum and Gran took me to see The Beauty and the Beast at the Marlow Theatre in Canterbury. It then took a few years but my first trip to The Old Vic was in 2005 when I came to see National Anthems. I decided to join as a member as I loved the programme of plays planned, together with the great history in the building and the friendly atmosphere. I have not looked back since, as I enter my 13th year of support at varying levels! It gives me an immense feeling of pride to be contributing to a theatre so rich in history but also with such a great future ahead of it – with new writers, directors, designers and actors learning their craft at The Old Vic.

One of the most special parts of the membership is the opportunity to go into the rehearsal room during the rehearsal process. This is normally a private place and it is such a privilege to have the chance to watch, listen and meet iconic figures in the theatre world like Sir Tom Stoppard, Michael Frayn, Sir Trevor Nunn, Marianne Elliot, Kim Cattrall, Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson and many, many more giving an amazing insight into the plays on stage. Also the backstage tours are a treat, how many people can say they have been to the ‘royal retiring room’ or made a grand entrance on stage the same as Eve Best in The Duchess of Malfi!

Over the last 13 years I have forged so many great friendships with other members, supporters and Old Vic staff, its feels just like one big Old Vic family!’

Susan Pilcher

 

‘I have a long-standing love of theatre and I have enjoyed many a play in the West End, but it was only in 2006 that I discovered The Old Vic, when I saw A Moon for the Misbegotten… from that moment I was hooked! As I wished to find out more about The Old Vic and its history, I decided to become a supporter. Over the years I have managed to follow everything The Old Vic has staged quite closely, from classics to new writing and musicals, as well as other initiatives, like their Talent Programme, T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange, Time Warner Ignite, Old Vic 12, not to mention the Community & Education programmes. The Old Vic has so much to offer and it offers so much to its supporters! I value the opportunity to see what goes on backstage, before a production goes on stage, and to hear from people involved in a production. All this and the feeling of being part of a family! Long may it prosper!’

Laura Gallo

 

‘My first memory of theatre was being taken to pantomime in Leeds as a very young child about 60 years ago. I was enthralled. When I went to Grammar School aged 11 I was then exposed to am-dram as the school ‘houses’ had an annual competition- I definitely recall loving the excerpt of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – but I never took part myself as I was painfully shy.

My first memory of The Old Vic was being taken there on a ‘date’ to see The Tempest in 1974. I well remember a very young Jenny Agutter as Miranda. Most impressive and intimidating of all, was Gielgud as Prospero. I recall the rear of the stage being black – curtains maybe – and when he eventually appeared he seemed to come thru the black curtains, but he had what seemed like a huge black cloak which blended with them so he was so frighteningly awesome – it was like Darth Vader but a few years too early! I cowered behind the person in front of me as I was near the front of the stalls – I was shaking – terrifying. What a performer!!

I’ve been supporting The Old Vic for at least 10 years. I regard The Old Vic as my ‘home team’ for theatre. It feels like a big family. I love the welcome there and friends I’ve made in those years. I particularly like the effort The Old Vic dedicates to youth theatre, especially in the local area. I’m pleased I can contribute to that.’

Ann Wood

 

‘I have had some wonderful theatrical experiences at The Old Vic, can’t even remember when I first came (other than some time in the last 199 years), and think it is a marvelous self-sustaining institution that presents great and diverse theatre, and is a major force in introducing people into appreciation and love of that great theatre.’

Professor Don Kelly

 

As well as the obvious perks, our supporters also play a vital role in ensuring that The Old Vic remains one of the most iconic and vibrant theatrical powerhouses in the world, enabling creativity and talent to flourish. Their support allows us to create a legacy for the future, nurturing the next generation of theatre makers and passing on the unique power of live theatre to people from all backgrounds.

Treat a friend (or yourself) and become a supporter this Christmas.

For more information on our different levels of membership visit our Support Us pages on our website. Or to purchase a gift membership please contact our Friends Office on friends@oldvictheatre.com or 020 7981 0983.

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