His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales Visits The Old Vic To Mark Its Birthday
This afternoon, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited The Old Vic to mark the theatre's bicentenary year. As Royal Patron for its milestone 200th birthday, His Royal Highness continues a long family connection with The Old Vic, the only not for profit, unsubsidised producing theatre with 1,000 seats in the heart of London.
To mark His Royal Highness' Patronage and The Old Vic's 200th birthday, earlier this year The Old Vic and The Prince's Trust announced a partnership that fuses the best of The Prince's Trust's work in helping hundreds of thousands of young people to transform their lives, together with The Old Vic's ability to use the transferable skills learnt in a theatre to increase the employability of the next generation.
Through the partnership The Old Vic this year created four work placements for young participants attending The Prince's Trust's Get Hired programme. Five young people have also taken part in Front Line, The Old Vic's flagship employability project offering paid placements with the Front of House team, all through direct referrals from The Prince's Trust. Five additional young people took part in the Front Line facilitator programme; three of these have gone on to work for The Old Vic as facilitators. In addition, 17 young people from The Prince's Trust Fairbridge programme took part in a workshop delivered by Front Line Facilitators earlier this year.
As part of the visit, guests, supporters, young project participants and local residents enjoyed a specially curated performance to showcase The Old Vic's work on and off the stage including live performances from the cast of SYLVIA, a new musical celebrating the life of Sylvia Pankhurst and her pivotal role in the campaign for women's rights; a reading from Josie Walker to celebrate Lilian Baylis' contribution and legacy to The Old Vic; and an exclusive film documenting the award-winning educational work of the theatre introduced by Raymond Sichilima and Leanne Lashley who have both worked with The Old Vic's Education and Community team and were introduced to the theatre through their partnership with The Prince's Trust.
The final performance of the afternoon was from the multi-award-winning production of Girl from the North Country, the Bob Dylan musical which had its world premiere at The Old Vic in 2017, with Olivier Award-winning actress Shirley Henderson, performing Forever Young.
The Prince of Wales met with Old Vic Bicentenary Ambassador Imelda Staunton, Artistic Director Matthew Warchus, Executive Director Kate Varah, Founding Trustee Sally Greene, Board Trustee Kevin McGrath, performers Shirley Henderson, Tamsin Greig, Josie Walker, the cast of new musical SYLVIA and various members of education, community and employability projects run by the theatre.
The Old Vic is proudly independent and has always been led by tenacious, adventurous theatre-makers at the cutting edge of their profession. Keeping a playhouse the size of The Old Vic afloat without public subsidy is no mean feat. It relies, very simply, on the audiences who come here, and on the passion of its supporters - many of whom attended yesterday's special performance.
Today, under Matthew Warchus' Artistic Directorship, The Old Vic continues to be a vibrant creative hub with an eclectic programme and a strong social mission.
This year, The Old Vic launched a remarkable new campaign to secure the future of the theatre by restoring the historic building, transforming accessibility and building a new arts education unit to house its outreach and artist development work. As the current custodians of this precious place, Matthew and the team are all committed to handing over the baton safely for the next generation and ensuring The Old Vic will be here in another 200 years.
In a letter published in September 2017 introducing The Old Vic's bicentenary year, The Prince of Wales said, 'As The Old Vic celebrates this remarkable milestone, I can only congratulate its staff and supporters on all that has been achieved so far and I wish this great national institution every possible success for the next two hundred years.'