The Old Vic today announced the inaugural season of new artistic director Matthew Warchus, which features the world premiere of a new musical, Groundhog Day, and a series of variety nights embracing The Old Vic’s history and its roots in music, dance and vaudeville.
As artistic director designate, Matthew Warchus commented: “After 25 years of freelance directing I unexpectedly find myself running my favourite theatre in the world. Or, if you like, my two favourite theatres since The Old Vic can now transition with relative ease between London’s best in-the-round space and the traditional, magnificent end-on auditorium. During my tenure I look forward to playing seasons in both of these great configurations.
“My first season demonstrates our aim to present more productions per year, of wide-ranging work, in a ‘something for everyone’ approach which reflects my own eclectic tastes and love of this unique and uplifting art form. In its dazzling history, The Old Vic has been home not only to great acting but also to dance, musical extravaganzas, vaudeville and spectacle. This diverse heritage is a big part of my inspiration going forward.
“When Lilian Baylis ran The Old Vic she kept a sign over her desk which read ‘Dare, always dare!’. Taking my cue from her, my goal is to programme invigorating seasons which are, by turns, surprising, smart, adventurous, and fun. Come and join in.”
Productions will include a new dance thriller, Jekyll & Hyde, created by one of the UK’s most innovative theatre choreographers, Drew McOnie, and world premiere of a new musical adaptation of the film Groundhog Day (book by original screenwriter Danny Rubin, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, choreography by Peter Darling and directed by Matthew Warchus).
There will also be a series of Variety Nights inspired by The Old Vic’s vaudeville history featuring household names and newcomers in comedy, music, magic and variety.
The Old Vic also announces a wide range of future work, programmes and creative opportunities for the forthcoming year and beyond, including the creation of a ground-breaking new musical commissioning fund.
Other developments feature the appointment of a diverse range of Associate Artists (split across several disciplines including writing, choreography, photography, design, music, sound, lighting, casting and magic) and a new transfer partnership with theatre producers Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman, giving Old Vic shows a potential life in the West End and on Broadway.
Coming attractions in future seasons include a new musical based on the film Pride written by Stephen Beresford.
Chief executive Sally Greene commented: “Matthew’s first season gives us a taste of what is to come throughout his tenure – a vibrant and varied programme with a strong commitment to new writing and musicals, alongside classics and artistic adventure. This, teamed with his commitment to opening up the theatre to anyone who wants to join in, and a real passion for supporting young directors in the way that he himself was supported, is set to make this a thrilling chapter in The Old Vic’s history.”
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