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Old Vic Theatre

The Cut, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8NB

Getting here

Closest Tube Station

Waterloo Underground Station

Closest Train Station

Waterloo, London Waterloo East

The Old Vic Theatre a London theatre in the Waterloo area of London on the corner of The Cut and Waterloo Road. It was also the name of a repertory company that was based at the theatre, and provided the basis of the Royal National Theatre company. 

The theatre was founded in 1818 by the actor William Barrymore as the Royal Coburg Theatre. In 1833 it was renamed the Royal Victorian Theatre after the heir to the throne Princess Victoria. In 1880, under the ownership of Emma Cons, it became The Royal Victoria Hall And Coffee Tavern and was run on "strict temperance lines"; by this time it was already known as the "Old Vic". 

With Emma Cons's death in 1912 The Old Vic Theatre passed to her niece Lilian Baylis, who emphasized the Shakespearean repertoire. The Old Vic Company was established in 1929, led by John Gielgud. Between 1925 and 1931, Lilian Baylis championed the re-building of the then-derelict Sadler's Wells Theatre, and established a ballet company under the direction of Ninette de Valois. For a few years the drama and ballet companies rotated between the two theatres, with the ballet eventually becoming permanently based at Sadler's Wells in 1935. 

The theatre was damaged badly during the Blitz, and the war-depleted company spent all its time touring, based in Burnley, Lancashire at the Victoria Theatre during the years 1940 to 1943. In 1944, the company was re-established in London with Ralph Richardson and Laurence Olivier as its stars, performing mainly at the New Theatre until the Old Vic was ready to re-open in 1950. In 1946, an offshoot of the company was established in Bristol as the Bristol Old Vic. 

In 1963, the Old Vic company was dissolved and the new National Theatre Company, under the artistic direction of Laurence Olivier, was based at the Old Vic Theatre, London, until its own building was opened on the South Bank near Waterloo Bridge in 1976. 

After the departure of the National Theatre Company, the Old Vic Theatre continued as a home for classic and new drama, and was significantly restored under the ownership of Toronto department-store entrepreneur ''Honest Ed'' Mirvish during the 1980s. In 1998, the building was bought by a new charitable trust, The Old Vic Theatre Trust 2000. In 2000, the production company Criterion Productions was renamed Old Vic Productions plc, though relatively few of its productions are at the theatre.

In 2004, the actor Kevin Spacey was appointed as new artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre Company receiving considerable media attention. Spacey hopes to inject new life into the British theatre industry, and bring British and American theatrical talent to the stage. He will appear in two shows per season, and will perform some directorial duties on other shows. 

The theatre stands in a prominent position on the corner of Waterloo Road and The Cut just south-east of Waterloo Station. 

The Old Vic Theatre London is one of the oldest theatres in the city and famous throughout the English speaking world. Long known as "the actors' theatre", many of the greatest performers of the last century have played on its stage, including Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Sybil Thorndyke, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, Alec Guiness, Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Michael Redgrave, Peter O'Toole, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Kevin Spacey.

The capacity of the Old Vic Theatre is 1,067 over 3 levels: Stalls, Dress Circle, and the Lilian Baylis Circle
Old Vic Theatre Seating Plan

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The Old Vic Theatre is easily accessed by public transport. The nearest underground station is Waterloo (Northern/Bakerloo/Jubilee/Waterloo & City Lines). Blackfriars (District and Circle Lines) and Southwark (Jubilee Line) are also nearby. If arriving to the theatre by train, the nearest train station is Waterloo Station. The theatre is also serviced by local bus routes, 1, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, and 68. IF you are driving to the theatre, the nearest car parks are the National Theatre Car Park and the Union Car Park on Southwark Street.

Past Events


PlayRosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
4.415 reviews

Don't miss this star-studded play based on the award-winning novel by Tom Stoppard!

4.45 reviews

One of the most extraordinary plays ever written coming to the West End!

PlayCherry Orchard, The

4.210 reviews

Featuring Beverly Knight, this show celebrates Sylvia Pankhurst, her life and a momentous hour in British history.

4.02 reviews

Samuel Pepys wants to tell us everything.

PlayFortune's Fool

PlaySoldiers Tale, The

PlayThe Hairy Ape

PlayThe Hairy Ape


PlayInherit The Wind

PlayMoon for the Misbegotten, A

DanceJekyll & Hyde

PlayThe Winslow Boy

PlayThe Crucible

PlayFanny & Alexander
4.19 reviews

‘There should be no shame in us taking pleasure in our little lives.’

PlaySweet Bird Of Youth


From the Old Vic series One Voice, Remembrance marks 100 years since the Armistice.

PlayThe Divide
4.25 reviews

The Divide is a vision of a dystopian future defined by brutal repression and forbidden love.

PlayOf Mice And Men

PlayHedda Gabler

PlayEntertainer, The

PlayEndgame / Rough For Theatre II
4.337 reviews

Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe stars alongside Alan Cumming in the Old Vic's double bill Endgame / Rough For Theatre II

PlayTwelfth Night

PlayReal Thing, The

PlayA Monster Calls
5.018 reviews

‘Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?’

PlayDancing at Lughnasa

PlayPhiladelphia Story, The

PlayFuture Conditional

PlaySea Wall
5.01 reviews

Multi-award winning actor Andrew Scott celebrates 200 years of The Old Vic with Sea Wall

PlayNorman Conquests

PlayAll About My Mother

MusicalDr. Seuss's The Lorax
4.52 reviews

“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!”

PlayCause Célèbre

PlayThe Lorax

PlayFlea in Her Ear


PlayAll My Sons
4.661 reviews

Arthur Miller's compelling play will star Sally Field, Bill Pullman, Jenna Coleman and Colin Morgan.

PlayThe American Clock
3.765 reviews

A ground-breaking play by Arthur Miller will be opening in the Old Vic.

PlayTempest, The


PlayRSC: Coriolanus

PlayMuch Ado About Nothing

James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave in Shakespeare’s timeless comedy

PlayVariety Night At The Old Vic


★★★★★ 'Kristin Scott Thomas is excruciatingly good' The Independent

PlayFuture Conditional

MusicalLocal Hero

Tickets for the West End transfer of Local Hero the musical are available now!

PlayA Very Expensive Poison
4.543 reviews

Award-winning playwright Lucy Prebble's new murder inspired drama A Very Expensive Poison to receive world premiere at the Old Vic

PlayRichard II


Don't miss Claire Foy and Matt Smith star in Duncan Macmillan's Lungs. Tickets available soon!

MusicalElaine Stritch at Liberty

PlayNoises Off

noises off


PlaySpeed the Plow

PlayPresent Laughter
4.730 reviews

Noel Coward's Present Laughter returns to the London stage in a new revival starring Andrew Scott at the Old Vic

PlayKing Lear

PlayResurrection Blues


PlayThe Caretaker

The Caretaker tickets

PlayMessiah - Scenes From A Crucifix

PlayClarence Darrow

MusicalHigh Society
4.49 reviews

PlayMood Music
4.611 reviews

Ben Chaplin stars in the World Premiere of Mood Music.

PlayNational Anthems

MusicalGroundhog Day

PlayThe Master Builder

PlayDesign for Living



PlayAs You Like It

PlayRSC: The Merry Wives of Windsor

PlayThe Duchess of Malfi

PlaySix Degrees of Separation

PlayPlayboy Of The Western World

Play4000 Miles

Timothée Chalamet and Eileen Atkins star in 4000 Miles at London's Old Vic