Live theatre is returning to the London stage with the Old Vic’s revival of Lungs.
Yes, we’ve had Globe Shakespeare productions and National Theatre shows streaming throughout lockdown, but nothing quite beats the immediacy of live theatre, does it? And whilst we’re still a way off seeing actors tread the boards in person, the Old Vic is taking a step towards the return of live theatre, with a new initiative called Old Vic: In Camera. It begins next month, with a revival of last year’s production of Lungs, starring The Crown co-stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith.
Lungs will mark the first time that a live physical performance has appeared on a London stage since the theatres closed in mid-March. The “socially distanced version” of the play see Foy and Smith reprising their roles from autumn 2019, with our reviewer praising the production’s “magnetic appeal”. Director Matthew Warchus also returns for the play, which sees a couple grappling with the environmental costs of bringing a child into the world.
Even so, this version of Lungs won’t be quite the same; aside from no audience, there will be minimal staging due to the need to keep numbers in the theatre down. The show will be available via camera only, and one thousand tickets are available for every performance (matching the theatre’s usual capacity), with the odd matinee featuring during the run. Though tickets will be priced at the usual level – between £10-65 – each ‘seat’ will have exactly the same view, and the Old Vic is asking audiences to give what they can to help support the theatre at a time when their revenue has completely dried up. You’ll also be able to add donations to ensure the survival of one of London’s best-loved theatres, with tickets expected to go on sale soon (signing up to their newsletter will give you the inside track).
The performances will also be followed by “a major series of rehearsed play-readings” from the Old Vic, which, though they’re yet to be revealed, sound jolly exciting. The fight to save London’s theatres will require every ounce of the creativity and verve which makes our theatre scene world-class, and so whilst we’d much rather be settling into our seats at the Old Vic, this brilliant initiative is the best way to support them through the pandemic.
Find ticket info about Lungs, and learn more about the Old Vic: In Camera series, here.
Also published on Medium.