A global Twitter first for our bicentenary


Today, ahead of our 200th birthday, we’re incredibly excited to announce a major collaboration with Twitter that will see the first ever global ‘marathon broadcast’ from a theatre across the social media platform.

This exciting digital first will see The Old Vic present a full programme of content across several hours on Friday 11 May.

Throughout the afternoon, in advance of that evening’s birthday performance of Mood Music, the theatre will offer a unique glimpse into the work of The Old Vic both on and off stage. Content will include:

  • The full length production of Tamsin Oglesby’s world premiere production Future Conditional, a bracingly topical and boisterously funny play about the education system starring Rob Brydon which opened Matthew Warchus’ first season as Artistic Director in 2015;
  • One Hand Tied Behind Us One Voice Monologues in celebration of 100 years of women’s suffrage featuring Sheila Atim, Jill Halfpenny, Siobhan McSweeney, Flo Wilson and Celia Imrie;
  • Interviews with Old Vic Bicentenary Ambassadors including Dame Judi Dench, Glenda Jackson, Lesley Manville and many more;
  • Special features on how the theatre enriches the lives of young people through our education scheme Schools Club and employability programme Front Line;
  • Behind-the-scenes footage of our upcoming shows;
  • Exclusive Old Vic Happy Birthday messages from familiar faces you know and love.

This is a never-before-seen opportunity for The Old Vic to celebrate its work on a global platform and reach audiences beyond its four walls. As an independent not-for-profit charity, every penny we need to produce the work on stage; support our projects with young people and the community; and keep ticket prices affordable, we have to raise ourselves.

Of the event Kate Varah, Executive Director of The Old Vic said:

Social media has become one of the primary mediums through which people present and act out their lives. At The Old Vic, we are constantly evolving our relationship with our audience and figuring out how best to respond to their interests. Opening up our work to entertain and inspire a broader range of people through this Twitter ‘first’ allows us to share thinking and provoke discussion on a global scale. On the day of The Old Vic’s 200th birthday, now feels the right time to open up the borders of our theatre and welcome more people inside.’

Managing Director of Twitter UK, Dara Nasr said:

We are delighted to be collaborating with The Old Vic to celebrate this landmark anniversary. As two organisations committed to giving people the power to create, share and discuss ideas, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and background, it feels only right that we should come together to present the work of this iconic institution.’

Online audiences can watch the content via The Old Vic’s Twitter channel @oldvictheatre from 2pm on Friday 11 May which will be supported by @TwitterLive. Be part of the conversation during the broadcast and across the birthday weekend using #OV200.

Details of the full line up are:

2pm – An Interview with Matthew Warchus (Artistic Director) and Kate Varah (Executive Director)
2.10pm – Act One: Future Conditional
3.22pm – An interview with Judi Dench
3.24pm – An interview with Lesley Manville
3.26pm – An interview with Glenda Jackson
3.29pm – An insight into Front Line
3.31pm – An insight into Primary Schools Club
3.32pm – Meet a member of The Old Vic 12
3.35pm – One Hand Tied Behind Us One Voice monologues
3.48pm – Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire give us a tour of The Old Vic
3.53pm – Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love) from Girl from the North Country
3.58pm – An interview with Lolita Chakrabarti on Ira Aldridge
4pm – An interview with Simon Callow on the women of The Old Vic
4.02pm – Act Two: Future Conditional
4.59pm – A surprise performance of All The World’s A Stage
5.02pm – Surprise Happy Birthday messages
5.06pm – Ends

The broadcast will open the weekend-long bicentenary celebrations:

  • Friday 11 May evening – an entirely free performance of Mood Music. On the evening the audience will receive a special memento, have their picture taken for the history books, be treated to some very special birthday cake courtesy of My Fair Cakery and join Artistic Director Matthew Warchus, along with familiar faces, in wishing the theatre a happy 200th birthday.
  • Saturday 12 May daytime – a day full of opportunities for the community to get involved with a free Street Party and family-focused Open House. At 12noon the festivities will begin on the South Bank outside the National Theatre with a 10-piece marching band from Kansas Smitty’s who will lead a procession of revellers to The Old Vic. There will be performances along the way and we are looking for as many people to join us in opening the celebration as possible. Once at the theatre, the fun will really begin with street performers, activities, food stalls and an interactive pedal-powered sound system bringing the pedestrianised Webber Street to life. Inside The Old Vic will be a full programme of completely free activities for ages 3+.
  • Saturday 12 May evening – the auditorium will be transformed into a never-before-seen cabaret space for a one-night-only Bicentenary Variety Night fundraiser. Harking back to The Old Vic’s days as a Music Hall in the 1880s, the evening will see the return of unadulterated entertainment as we present a mix of new and established talent including comedy from BBC Radio 4 sketch comedy duo The Pin; musical performances from the company of upcoming hip-hop musical Sylvia; dance from The McOnie Company; an exclusive performance written by Dennis Kelly; a brand new musical venture from the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Newcomer and 2018 Olivier Award winner Sheila Atim (Girl from the North Country) and much more still to be announced. Tickets starting from £15 are available for Dress and Baylis Circle seating. Cabaret tickets are available from £70.

You May Also Like

Related Productions


Bicentenary Variety Night Fundraiser


Birthday Street Party and Open House


Mood Music