Councils propose support for Old Vic expansion plans

9 July 2019

Two south London councils are proposing fresh backing for The Old Vic as part of the world-famous theatre’s ambitious plans for a new community cultural hub.

The not-for-profit theatre’s new Annex building, which it hopes to open in 2022 close to the border between Southwark and Lambeth, will bring a range of benefits for the local community in both boroughs. Working together, the Annex will open doors for young people to access training, work experience and apprenticeships in the arts, and provide local residents with mentors and training to help them develop their careers.

At their meeting on Tuesday 16 July, Southwark Cabinet will consider plans to approve a loan of £3.75m, to be paid back over a ten year period. In that time, the council and its residents are expected to receive almost £2m of social value. In addition to the jobs and skills opportunities, the Old Vic will also contribute tickets for the council’s project to offer all primary school pupils in the borough a free trip to the theatre, and run a range of other workshops and projects for local people. These will include a crime reduction programme for young people, taking a public health approach to tackling youth violence.

Lambeth Council is set to consider making a similar loan, with similar benefits for local people, in the coming few weeks.

Cllr Rebecca Lury, Southwark’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Equalities and Communities, said: “Southwark has a long standing and positive relationship with the Old Vic, which has helped many young people in Southwark gain unique and valuable insight into the world of theatre. We have promised to make sure Southwark residents are able to thrive and take advantage of the many opportunities on their doorstep. This exciting arrangement with the Old Vic is just one part of this; delivering jobs, skills and training for our young people, and opening up the world of culture to a wider and more diverse group of people.”

Executive Director of the Old Vic, Kate Varah said: “The Annex is a once in a generation opportunity. With the visionary collaboration of Lambeth and Southwark Councils, we will together ensure that this vibrant theatre sustains financially, and that its wide-reaching social engagement is so deeply embedded there can never be any doubt about the value of The Old Vic to those it serves: a civic resource, a beacon for cultural adventure, a place where everyone can explore in an environment where they feel truly welcome.”

Page last updated: 09 July 2019