You won’t find many independent theatres with as much history as the Old Vic.
It was the original home of the English National Opera, the Sadler’s Wells dance company and the National Theatre. It’s also been a tavern, a college, a coffee house, a lecture hall and a meeting place in the past. Nowadays, it’s playing host to opera, dance, cinema, music hall, classical dramas, variety, big spectacles and novelty acts.
This not-for-profit theatre is known for putting on outstanding shows like A Christmas Carol and, more recently, The American Clock. Next up on stage is Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”, a blistering drama set in 1947 America. But the Old Vic doesn’t just cover the drama-stuffed, edge-of-your-seat type stuff.
Over the rest of the year you’ll find performances like “Present Laughter”, a provocative comedy directed by Matthew Warchus, and “Sylvia”, a funk, soul and hip-hop musical set to take stage in November. “Sylvia” celebrates the life of Sylvia Pankhurst, her pivotal role in the campaign for women’s rights and the price of the passion and politics that tore her family apart. For a full list of everything showing this year, click here.
But a visit to The Old Vic isn’t complete without stopping by at their bar, Penny, for a quick drink. Perfect for both pre and post theatre, you’ll find a variety of unique drinks and hot and cold food. Better yet – you can use The Old Vic’s app to order your drinks via your phone and you’re free to pick them up whenever you like. So there’s none of that “standing in a queue worrying about missing the first five minutes” lark.
The Penny bar was named after the Penny lectures, which were instigated by former manager Emma Cons who took over the theatre in 1880. During her time as manager, no theatre was performed and the venue became a music hall and coffee house. Because she was strictly for the temperance movement, no alcohol was served on the premises from 1880 to her death in 1912, when her niece Lilian Baylis took over.
Emma was an educationalist and part of the programming at The Old Vic included ‘Penny Lectures’, which were affordable sessions for the local community and were led every Tuesday by scientists (and included lectures on things like the telephone) for 1p. They actually led to the establishment of Morley College, which is still going today.
This article was sponsored by Grand Marnier. We recommend starting your evening at the theatre with a delicious Grand Marnier cocktail at the Penny bar. Try The Grand Sidecar: the signature classic cocktail for Grand Marnier. Truly refreshing and perfectly balanced, the Grand Sidecar combines the citrus notes of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge bitter orange liqueur with the intensity of cognac. 18+ only. Please drink responsibly. For all the facts, visit drinkaware.co.uk.
Also published on Medium.