The Old Vic - dispelling the myths


It’s The American Clock first preview tonight and we’re preparing to welcome audiences to our ‘new look’ (we’re under construction) OV. As our building project continues for OV Tomorrow, we want to dispel some of the myths that come with being around for two centuries.

MYTH 1: The Old Vic is a West End theatre with loads of money

We are a charity and one of the only theatres in London operating without regular public subsidy. It costs £13 million a year to run our theatre and each year we just about raise what we spend.

On top of ticket sales, we need to raise £3.9 million every single year to make ticket prices affordable and run emerging talent, education and outreach projects for 10,000 young people a year. We do this because we believe everyone should have access to theatre.

Plus, the £15 million we have raised for our current building project OV Tomorrow.

MYTH 2: Our tickets are all really expensive

We want to make sure our tickets are affordable, despite needing to raise £13 million each year. 20,000 tickets for The American Clock and All My Sons are currently £30 or under and tickets to all productions start at £12.

On top of this, thanks to the PwC £10 Previews over half of all tickets for the first five preview performances are £10. These are released five weeks before the first preview – sign up to be the first to hear about upcoming releases.

MYTH 3: We’re always sold out

We have 1,000 seats to fill for every single performance. That’s over three times the average capacity of London’s off west end subsidised theatres. If you want to see one of our shows, we almost certainly have space to squeeze for you.

TIP: Whilst we do have lots of seats, it is always a good idea to book early to get seats exactly where you want them and exactly in the price band that suits your budget.

MYTH 4: They just do shows

WRONG! It’s a place to get stuck in. Access paid placements in our bar or Box Office through Front Line. New artists can join Talent programmes. Schools can access free workshops and tickets.

We are also home to the wonderful Penny (a café and bar, not a person) which can temporarily be found on the first floor whilst work is happening in its normal home in our basement. You do not need a ticket to come for a coffee or a drink.

MYTH 5: Which Vic?

There are three other ‘Vics’ making theatre. We are not based in Bristol, we are not ‘young’ and we are not ‘new’.

We are the original.

In 1946 two offshoot companies of The Old Vic were formed. One headed to Bristol where it took up residence at the Theatre Royal, becoming the Bristol Old Vic, and one was created to perform for audiences aged under 15, finding premises of its own just along The Cut in 1970 as the Young Vic. These now operate independently.

MYTH 6: The Old Vic is OLD old

Incorrect. Theatre years are very similar to dog years. At 200 years young we are, in fact, in the prime of our life.

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