The Old Vic has announced a new artistic initiative Old Vic: In Camera, combining a run of socially distanced performances of Duncan MacMillan’s LUNGS, with Claire Foy and Matt Smith reprising their roles, followed by a major series of rehearsed play-readings, all streamed live from the iconic Old Vic stage with the empty auditorium as a backdrop. Exact dates are still to be confirmed.
Rekindling live performance in this irrepressible 202-year-old venue, albeit with minimal staging and accessible only via camera and live stream, is a genuine thrill for us.
But this series is both an exciting creative experiment and also crucial in igniting the box office now all our usual channels of revenue have been entirely wiped out, and we fight to preserve this beloved theatre for our audiences, surrounding schools and communities, staff, crew, and the myriad of writers, performers and creatives that work with us.
LUNGS, first staged at the Old Vic in October 2019, is an emotional rollercoaster of a play about a couple wrestling with life’s biggest dilemmas: melting ice caps, overpopulation, political unrest. Why on earth would someone bring a baby into this world? Artistic director Matthew Warchus directs.
Each new performance of LUNGS and each subsequent play reading in the Old Vic: In Camera series will be available for up to 1,000 people per night (with some matinees) replicating the venues usual audience capacity size.
Tickets will be priced, as they are in the auditorium, from £10-£65 and whilst all ‘seats’ offer the same view (from the comfort of your own home), audiences are asked to give what they can to help support the theatre in return for access to this totally unique experience. There’s also the option to add a further donation on top of this for those who are able to give a little more.
Old Vic: In Camera is made possible thanks to the support of Royal Bank of Canada as The Old Vic’s Principal Partner. Since the beginning of Matthew Warchus’ tenure in 2015, RBC has sponsored 31 main stage productions and now, in the face of such challenging times, RBC continues to support the theatre by enabling the delivery of this series. To make this new artistic initiative widely accessible, there will also be a number of PwC £10 Tickets offered across all performances.
LUNGS will be the first in the series, performing a socially distanced version for several days during June. Onsale dates for LUNGS and the remaining titles in the series, with well-known casts, together with schedules and booking details for the months ahead, will be released soon.
The Old Vic says: “We hope that audiences will join with creatives to support this new series and feel excited to be part of a live theatre community once again. We need everyone’s help in making sure that The Old Vic and our productions are still here to enjoy when our much-missed normal lives resume.”
Btw 1k is capacity of @oldvictheatre & £10-65 is what audiences usually pay. This ‘exciting creative experiment’ is ‘crucial in igniting box office now all our usual channels of revenue have been entirely wiped out’.
Lungs will be followed by streams of rehearsed stage readings pic.twitter.com/pihxK4AwrZ
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) May 27, 2020