Now in its fourth year, Jack Thorne’s A Christmas Carol will return to The Old Vic as an Old Vic: In Camera production (12-24 December 2020). The show is part of a programme of online work that will run through to spring 2021 alongside Your Old Vic, the theatre’s free online programme of artistic and educational content.
A Christmas Carol will play live from an empty auditorium as a full-scale production for 16 performances only with 80,000 tickets available for the run.
The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus said:
“Thanks to a wonderful team effort, and to the adventurous spirit of the writers and actors involved, we have managed in the last three months to deliver three very memorable productions and I’m delighted to be announcing A Christmas Carol as the next offering.
“Back in May I received an extraordinary email from a well-known actor offering to help in any way he could and expressing a long-standing wish to play Scrooge. Although at the time our conversations revolved around bringing back a live audience in time for Christmas, that clearly is no longer possible, and I’m incredibly grateful to him and to everyone for willingly agreeing to change tack and join us in reconfiguring this much loved production into an Old Vic: In Camera event.
“I’m excited to tell the story in this new format, with the powerful addition of close-ups, and hope it will provide much needed sustenance for audiences (a mince pie or a satsuma if not a chocolate digestive) on this gruelling journey. We will be announcing full casting very soon.”
Warchus went on to explain that to open The Old Vic with social distancing measures would lead to a loss of £5.6 million per year. He described this as “unthinkable” for any organisation, but particularly for one with no regular government subsidy operating as an independent charity.
A new commission for Cracked as part of The Old Vic’s One Voice series of solo performances has also been announced. Originally curated and hosted in 2019 by Russell Brand, Cracked is a series written in response to the changing attitudes around mental health and addiction.
This year’s new commission, in recognition of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, is entitled Burn and is written and directed by Olivier Award-winning actress Sheila Atim and performed by Weruche Opia. Burn will be streamed for free on The Old Vic’s YouTube channel.
Sheila Atim said: “It’s an extraordinary time in history and the need to connect and communicate is arguably greater than any other moment in our collective lifetime. I’ve been so heartened by people’s enthusiasm towards digital theatre and free creative content during this time – it’s so important that access to the arts remains open and I am glad for the opportunity to add my voice into the mix.”
In addition, to mark Remembrance Day, the theatre will also be presenting the Remembrance series, which was curated by Arinzé Kene in 2018 to mark 100 years since the Armistice.
Remembrance brings together five solo performances to shine a light on the powerful, poignant and surprising stories often hidden in the shadow of conflict. It will also be streamed for free from 9 November on The Old Vic’s YouTube channel.
Warchus added: “The return of live performance is clearly going to be one of the last stations on the journey but as the neon sign outside our 202-year-old building defiantly reassures, “We’ll Be Back”. In the meantime we are extremely grateful for the passionate and crucial support which is sustaining us month to month and we are committed, in return, to delivering a steady stream of new Old Vic: In Camera productions beyond A Christmas Carol and up until our reopening.”