Famous names help The Old Vic celebrate its birthday

The Old Vic in London has announced an impressive list of ‘bicentenary ambassadors’ who will help it celebrate its 200th birthday. The actors, writers and directors on the list “will lend their support to this momentous occasion by celebrating the past, present and future of our beloved theatre.”

Founded in 1818, The Old Vic is an epicentre for British theatre, and was the original home of the National Theatre before it moved to the South Bank. To mark its birthday, bicentenary ambassadors will appear on stage, share their thoughts on the theatre, attend special events and organise performances.

Notable ambassadors are Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Julie Walters, Pearl Mackie, Kim Cattrall, Glenda Jackson, Ian McKellen, Derek Jacobi, Martin Freeman, Tom Stoppard, Mark Rylance and Ben Kingsley.

“I’m determined that the celebrations to mark this milestone shouldn’t be about eulogising a historic artefact,” said artistic director Matthew Warchus. “The Old Vic is important not just because of what it’s been but because of what it can be – now and in the future.”

Added Glenda Jackson: “There is no mystery as to why this theatre puts on such great work: it is because of the support and encouragement they give to their creatives, right from the inception of a project.”

Among the confirmed events are a series of monologues curated by Maxine Peake to mark International Women’s Day; an acting workshop led by Helen McCrory; and digital birthday messages from actors including Judi Dench, Jane Horrocks and Ralph Fiennes.