Old Vic Theater

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Old Vic Theater


the largest drama theater in London.

The history of the Old Vic is divided into two periods. The first period dates from the theater’s opening on May 11, 1818, until 1898. Originally called The Royal Coburg, in 1833 it was renamed The Victoria and became popularly known as the Old Vic. During the second period of its history (1898–1976), the Old Vic was transformed from a third-rate music hall into England’s foremost theater. Condemning the policy of commercial theaters, the Old Vic primarily staged plays by classical English and foreign dramatists. The Old Vic is often called the home of Shakespeare.

Among the theater’s directors were L. Bayliss (1898–1937), T. Guthrie, L. Olivier (with R. Richardson and J. Burrell), H. Hunt, M. Benthal, and M. Elliott. Among the well-known English actors who have performed at the theater are J. Gielgud, L. Olivier, A. Guinness, C. Laughton, R. Richardson, M. Redgrave, S. Thorndike, D. Wolfit, and P. Ashcroft.

The Old Vic toured many countries, including the USSR (1960). From 1963 to 1976 the National Theater of Great Britain played at the Old Vic Theatre.


Williamson, A. Old Vic Drama, vols. 1–2. London, 1948–57.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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