Old Vic

Theatre, West End Southwark
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(10user reviews)
66 Love It
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Old Vic
Old Vic (© Samir Hussein)
© Samir Hussein
Matthew Warchus, Old Vic
 (© Matt Humphrey)
© Matt Humphrey

'The Old Vic'

Former home to Kevin Spacey and the National Theatre, the Old Vic offers big, serious plays, big, serious stars and a few musicals and surprises.

One of London's most storied theatres, the Old Vic – which opened its doors in 1818 – was the first home of the National Theatre, under Laurence Olivier. More recently it was run by Hollywood star Kevin Spacey whose 11-year-stint in charge turned around the previously ailing building's fortunes. The current artistic director of the Old Vic is the heavyweight commercial director Matthew Warchus.

More eclectic and musical theatre-orientated in his programming than Spacey, Warchus nonetheless continues to make big name revivals of classic plays the bread and butter of his programming: more or less a given in the Old Vic's enormous space.

Good stalls tickets top out at West End prices, but the theatre is run with a subsidised 'ethos' and the cheap seats are very affordable, with good concessionary discounts usually available (these tend to vary from show to show depending on the expected audience).

Penny is the theatre's newly refurbished cafe, meeting and drinking space. Open all day and until 2am Thursday to Saturday, the place aims to be attractive to non-theatre goers as well as hardened thesps. You can buy local food and drink in the form of light bites and brunches as well as bar snacks, seasonal food and biodynamic wines. It should maintain its long-held status as a late night convivial haunt as even during the week it's open until 1am.


Venue name: Old Vic
Address: 103 The Cut
Waterloo Rd
Opening hours: Bar open 6pm-midnight Mon and Tue; 1pm-midnight Wed; 6pm-2am Thu and Fri; 1pm-2am Sat
Transport: Tube: Waterloo; Rail: Waterloo
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Pick a date

  • Drama Until Saturday April 29 2017
  • Drama Until Saturday June 24 2017
  • Children's Monday March 20 2017 - Saturday April 1 2017
  • Musicals Monday June 5 2017 - Saturday June 17 2017
  • Musicals Wednesday July 12 2017 - Saturday October 7 2017
  • Children's Sunday October 15 2017 - Saturday November 4 2017

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening
Marco D

I thoroughly adored my visit to The Old Vic Theatre when I went to see Samuel Beckett's No's Knife. It was performed by Lisa Dwan who did such an extraordinary, passionate performance. It was a one hour show so conceived by Lisa Dwan and she brought a tremendous experience to the stage.

Absolutely fell in love with the exterior of the theatre and I wasn't expecting it to look rather like a glamorous pub hence the name 'The Old Vic'.

It's almost situated in the middle of Waterloo and it feels like it doesn't belong to the rest of area. It looks exquisitely attracting to the eye.

It had a vintage inspired, wooden feel to it and it also felt luxurious with a very special twist to both the exterior and interior of the Old Vic.

I was fascinated with the windows you see in front of the Old Vic. In some way it also felt very peculiar and adorable.

Reminded me of a very elegant dolls house. It looked quite small compared to the other grand theatres in the West End. It's like a magnificent box placed in an ordinary place in London and it stands out with its grand lights and design.

These were the many reasons why I loved The Old Vic. It does have a warm, gorgeous interior. The oval shaped auditorium was an incredible capture in my eyes.

I love the format of the stage and the seating area. The cafe/drinking space is a glorious addition to the theatre. I've never seen a theatre so crammed in ages. The amount of people visiting that night was immense.

Immerse yourself in The Old Vic.


Love MD.

Josh Mcloughlin

I saw Ralph Fiennes in The Master Builder at the Old Vic earlier this year - brilliant play at a brilliant theatre. Great seats, sound and service.

Milly E

There's something about the Old Vic to me that no other theatre in London can compete with. Perhaps its the way that the building seemingly stands alone in the busy hub of Waterloo, looking almost like part of a film set as people pool onto the road outside of it. 

Perhaps its the fact that the first play I ever saw in London was at the Old Vic - a Kevin Spacey production of the Philadelphia Story and I fell in love with the magic that is the London theatre scene. Or perhaps it's because it's always pushing the boundaries of what is shown and i've never seen a production that wasn't at least interesting, if not always my cup of tea (sorry No's Knife - i'm a cretin and I just didn't get it. But I was intrigued!)

Whatever the reason its a beautiful theatre and well worth a visit. The bar downstairs has plenty to offer in the way of food and drink or there are lots of restaurants in walking distance for a pre theatre snack. 

Consistently good - its a must visit!


The old vic has been running consistently good theatre for the last 10 years. I will miss Kevin Spacey as artistic director greatly, but am looking forward to seeing more of what Matthew Warchus has to offer - so far so good I say!


Seated at the side of the Dress Circle with a partial view did not take anything away from the performance by Ralph Fiennes in The Master Builder. Beautifully classic theatre, and seating that is comfortable enough to breeze through the show with its 2hr 45mins runtime.

Dianne H

I felt compelled to write a review of this gorgeous old (in name, but not in style) theatre as I recently went to see a production of The Lorax which was superb.  From hanging at the bar (eating free truffula seeds (skittles) to the decor and comedic acting everything was on point.  Great view of the stage from the side cheap seating and looking around I would have no hesitation in booking restricted view seats to avoid missing out on amazing theatre on a budget!

Can't wait to re-visit as an aspiring theatre buff


Wonderful theatre, which with Kevin Spacey at the helm has continued to bring consistently high quality plays. Almost impossible to get a bad seat, even day seats offer a fantastic view. Highly recommend catching a show here, whether you call London home for many years or just a few days.

Alanna S

Gorgeous old theatre that's seen a recent front of house modern refurb. They are particularly nimble with their stage design, re-arranging the audience between most productions. Highlights from the past few years include Hedda Gabler, Future Conditional and Electra and I'm gutted I never got to see Spacey tread the floors over his time there. Worth a visit if you're a tourist and becoming a regular if you're a local.

Cookie Monster
moderatorStaff WriterTastemaker

Great theatre with some excellent productions in recent years. We particularly enjoyed seeing Richard Armitage in The Crucible.