Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Old Vic is ‘radically different’ since Spacey departure, says artistic director

The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus (Helen Maybanks/PA)
The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus (Helen Maybanks/PA)

The artistic director of The Old Vic has said that the London theatre is a “radically different” place since the departure of Kevin Spacey – and that the public now recognises the venue is more than simply “a famous figurehead”.

Spacey, a two-time Oscar-winner, was a major Hollywood star before some 20 people accused him of inappropriate behaviour in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in October 2017.

Matthew Warchus, who took over from Spacey in 2015, has overseen a radical transformation of the Southbank venue’s front of house, including doubling the number of women’s toilets and improving disabled access.

Steve Rush, Lenny Rush, Matt Smith and Claire Foy attend the reopening of the transformed spaces at The Old Vic (Helen Maybanks/PA)

He spoke at the grand opening of the renovated space, which was also attended by The Crown stars Matt Smith and Claire Foy.

Warchus told the PA news agency that while he did not want to “cast aspersions” on the work of his predecessors, he believed the public now understood more about the theatre’s true identity.

He said: “When I did start here as artistic director, it still looked like a West End theatre. It’s very old fashioned foyer space. It was dark during the day. Its doors were locked.

“This is a radically different place. It is much more continuously alive and more adventurous.

Kevin Spacey poem reading in Rome
Kevin Spacey (Matt Crossick/PA)

“I don’t want to cast aspersions on the work that was done here in the years before I started.

“Some really important work was done and great productions, great performances that were very meaningful.

“But the theatre was saved at that time and now we are building on it and shaping its identity.

“I think we have moved to a point where people understand more what The Old Vic is and what its identify is.

The Old Vic (David Jenson/PA)

“It is no longer just – if you like – a famous figurehead. Or not primarily a famous person. Hopefully the building itself is what people are paying attention to.”

The renovation of the 201-year-old building also includes an accessible box office and a lift down to the subterranean Penny cafe and bar, which sports a new menu with a focus on sustainability.

Warchus added: “When I turned up here, and I used to work here, in the past I directed here over the years, I remember this theatre was going to close down in ’98.

“There was a whole group of people who rallied round to save this theatre.

“And thank goodness they did. It would have been a tragedy for this theatre to close down.”

Smith and Foy, who appeared on stage to present an award to child actor Lenny Rush, are currently rehearsing for an upcoming revival of Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs at the space.

Smith told Rush: “Your work on and off-stage is just brilliant. So thank you, mate. Well done, well done. This is for you.”

Alongside executive director Kate Varah, Warchus also plans to build a five-storey £12 million cultural hub called The Annex behind the theatre, which will include a learning centre.

He also used the event to announce that he is extending his tenure as creative director until 2023 to oversee its completion and opening.

Already a subscriber? Sign in