The Old Vic Theatre

The Old Vic Theatre Artistic Director, Kevin Spacey, click image to enlarge

Location: The Old Vic Theatre is located just south-east of Waterloo Station in London, UK. On the corner of The Cut and Waterloo Road.

Owned by: The Old Vic Theatre Trust
Chief Executive: Sally Greene
Artistic Director: Kevin Spacey
Capacity: 1,067

Current Productions »

In February 2003, Kevin Spacey announced that he was returning to London to become the artistic director of The Old Vic Theatre Company. While appearing at a press conference with Dame Judi Dench and Sir Elton John, Spacey made the commitment to remain in the post for at least ten years. He promised to both appear on stage and to bring in big-name talent. More recently Kevin has said that he plans to remain at the helm of The Old Vic until 2015.

The Old Vic Theatre exterior, click to enlarge

Spacey's first season started in September 2004, and opened with the British premiere of the play Cloaca by Maria Goos, which Kevin Spacey directed. In 2005, Spacey made his UK Shakespearean debut to good notices in the title role of Richard II, which was directed by Trevor Nunn. In mid-2006, Spacey performed in productions of National Anthems by Dennis McIntyre, and The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry, in which he played C. K. Dexter Haven, which was the Cary Grant role in the film version.

In the 2006 season, Spacey suffered a setback with a production of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues, directed by Robert Altman. Despite an all-star cast and the pedigree of Miller's script, the play opened to a critical panning, and closed after only a few weeks. Later in the year, Spacey starred in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten along with Colm Meaney and Eve Best. The play received excellent reviews for Spacey and Best and was transferred to Broadway in 2007.

The Old Vic Theatre interior, click to enlarge

During the 2008 season, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly joined Spacey as the three characters in David Mamet's 1988 play Speed-the-Plow. In January 2009, Kevin directed the premiere of Joe Sutton's Complicit with Richard Dreyfuss, David Suchet and Elizabeth McGovern. From September through December 2009, Trevor Nunn directed Kevin Spacey in a revival of Inherit The Wind, a play based on a true story of a teacher arrested for teaching his students evolution, also known as the "Scopes Monkey Trial". Kevin Spacey was cast as defense lawyer Henry Drummond, a role that was made famous by actor Spencer Tracy in the 1960 film of the same name.

Kevin Spacey and British director Sam Mendes teamed up again for a transatlantic stage production of Shakespeare's Richard III, the final production of Sam Mendes' Bridge Project. The Bridge Project was a unique three-year series of co-productions by BAM, The Old Vic, and Neal Street, devoted to producing large-scale, classical theater for international audiences with casts featuring actors from both the US and the UK. Richard III ran at The Old Vic in London from June until September 2011, and then toured Greece, Hong Kong, Spain, Istanbul, Naples, San Francisco, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney, and Doha prior to a U.S. engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music from January 10 through March 4, 2012.

The Old Vic Theatre at night, click to enlarge

Kevin Spacey can remember the exact night he decided to become the artistic director of the Old Vic. It was in November 1999, and American Beauty for which the actor would go on to win a second Academy Award had premiered the day before at the London Film Festival. The following evening, there was Spacey, chairing an industry pow-wow in a rehearsal room above the Old Vic, discussing the future of the venerable theatre on whose board he sat.

"What is the Old Vic?" says the actor, recalling the meeting's topics of conversation nearly five years later. "Why is it held in such affection? Why has it gone into the period it's gone into?" Which is to say, into decline. Later that same evening, Spacey, back in his hotel, found himself unable to sleep. Heading downstairs at 2:30 a.m. to go for a walk, he instead hailed a cab in the rain and asked the driver to take him to the National.

I walked to the South Bank and just sat and looked at that building, and was thinking about Laurence Olivier and about what he did when he started a national theatre," he says. "Then I walked down the four or five blocks to this theatre and sat in the cement park across the street. I looked up at the Vic, and I thought, 'What are you doing? You're on this committee making all these lists when, in your heart of hearts, what you have wanted to do since you were 13 years old is run a theatre.'" And at that moment, the die was cast, even if, smiles Spacey, "we kept it a secret for four years". - TimesOnline, September 05, 2004

Kevin Discusses his role at the Old Vic, October 2010

Charlie Rose Interview, click to play

Watch the Charlie Rose Interview:
A conversation with actor Kevin Spacey, October 13, 2005.

Charlie Rose and Kevin Spacey discuss Kevin's work as the artistic director at London's 'Old Vic Theatre' and the production of 'Richard II'. This is an informative and interesting 39 minute interview where Kevin talks in depth about his work at The Old Vic.

I never, ever want to lose touch with when I was fourteen or fifteen years old and I was dreaming about building a theater and I was dreaming about doing plays and writing things with friends and watching them perform. I never went through a period where I thought, 'Oh, I'll do something else,' or 'Maybe this isn't right.' Never. -- Kevin Spacey, Cigar Aficionado, February 2003

Theatre Director, Kevin Spacey, click image to enlarge

There is also a great focus on young people through an education program called Old Vic New Voices (OVNV), which supports young actors, directors, writers and producers to learn their craft; invests in ground breaking programs in schools to raise aspiration among young people; and works with charities and local organizations to enable those in the community to participate.

The Kevin Spacey Foundation

The foundation, established in 2010, is a homage of sorts to Spacey's own mentor, the late Jack Lemmon.

"Jack had a philosophy: if you have done well, then you're obligated to send the elevator back down for others." -- Kevin Spacey

The Kevin Spacey Foundation has been setup to provide a means to support young actors, writers, directors and producers with the passion and potential to succeed in the competitive worlds of film and theatre. The foundation will be offering a range of creative opportunities to help emerging artists reach their full potential, including workshops, masterclasses and special events led by industry professionals.

QuoteThe question is not what can the economy do for the arts, but what can the arts do for the economy.Quote
-- Kevin Spacey, London Evening Standard, September 21, 2009
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