Oscar Winners of The Old Vic

We’ve been honoured to have many incredible performers on our stage over our 200 years, and many of them have also won well-deserved Oscars. We look back at a few of them and their time at The Old Vic…


Glenda Jackson won two Oscars, both for Best Actress in a Leading Role, in A Touch of Class and Women in Love – although she was not present to accept either of them.

At the age of 80, 25 years since her last stage performance, Glenda performed on our stage in the role of King Lear, 2016.



When Maggie Smith won the Best Actress Oscar for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, she was performing at The Old Vic as Mrs Sullen in The Beaux’ Stratagem, 1970. As she couldn’t be there to accept her award, a party was held at The Old Vic instead, where she celebrated with Robert Stephens and friends in the Stalls Bar.



Laurence Olivier started at The Old Vic in 1937 at the age of 30, to make his name as a Shakespearean actor. During his 37 years at The Old Vic, he was an actor, director and Artistic Director, making his final performance on our stage in The Party. After his final performance in March 1974, he knelt down and kissed the stage. The Company ended the evening in the Rehearsal Room where he sang Noël Coward’s ‘I’ll see you again’, ‘Some Day I’ll Find You’ and finally ‘If Love Were All’.

During his time at The Old Vic, Olivier won an Academy Honorary Award ‘For his outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen’ and three Oscars for his 1948 Hamlet, winning Best Actor, Best Picture (as producer) and Best Director.



Did you know Judi Dench started her career at The Old Vic? Leaving Central School of Speech and Drama she was immediately cast as Ophelia in a production of Hamlet at The Old Vic, and was called ‘the girl with the week’s biggest break’. The critics didn’t like her performance, but of course she went on to be one of the most famous actors of her generation, and won an Oscar for her supporting role in Shakespeare in Love in 1999.



Sally Field won her first Best Actress Oscar for Norma Rae in 1980, a role for which she won no less than seven awards. She went on to win another Best Actress Oscar for Places in the Heart in 1985.

This spring we are delighted to be the theatre in which she makes her London stage debut in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, alongside Bill Pullman and directed by Jeremy Herrin. Find out more here.