Just two days after throwing a star-studded gala celebration in honor of outgoing artistic director Kevin Spacey, who presided over the theater’s affairs for 11 years, London’s Old Vic has unveiled its inaugural season under new creative commander-in-chief Matthew Warchus.
“After 25 years of freelance directing, I unexpectedly find myself running my favorite theater in the world. Or, if you like, my two favorite theaters, since The Old Vic can now transition with relative ease between London’s best in-the-round space and the traditional, magnificent end-on auditorium,” said Warchus, adding that he hoped to offer more productions per season and a “something for everyone” approach.
Among the most high-profile productions heading to the theater, starting in September, is a fresh adaption by David Hare of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, starring Ralph Fiennes. Another production sees last year’s Cannes acting award winner Timothy Spall taking the lead in Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker. Warchus will direct both productions.
Rob Brydon, star of The Trip and a U.K. TV comedy regular, will also feature alongside 23 young performers in Future Conditional, a new comedy by Tamsin Oglesby about the British school system.
Warchus is reteaming with his Matilda creators, composer Tim Minchin, choreographer Peter Darling and designer Rob Howell, to bring to the stage a new musical based on 1993’s Groundhog Day, while another film, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, will get also a theater adaptation.
The Groundhog Day announcement confirmed expectations that the musical based on the Bill Murray comedy would have its world premiere at the Old Vic, sometime next spring. The show was recently announced for a Broadway run starting in 2017. Warchus also confirmed that plans are proceeding to develop a stage musical out of his 2014 film Pride, about a group of gay activists supporting a Welsh mining community during the prolonged strike of 1984.
Meanwhile, a recently announced transfer partnership with Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman could see Old Vic shows given added life on Broadway.
“When Lilian Baylis ran The Old Vic, she kept a sign over her desk which read ‘Dare, always dare!’ ” said Warchus. “Taking my cue from her, my goal is to program invigorating seasons which are, by turns, surprising, smart, adventurous and fun.”