The Old Vic

2012 - 2019

Bennetts Associates' work with the Old Vic stretches back to 2012, culminating in the third and major project completed in 2019 was undertaken as part of a wider redevelopment of the 200 year old theatre. The transformation creates a more welcoming environment for patrons and safe-guard the long-term future of this historic theatre.

Planning permission was obtained in 2014 for phase 2, a major transformation and annexe. In summer 2015, Bennetts Associates then completed a range of short-term improvements to the front-of-house areas while the Old Vic embarked on a fundraising campaign for the main works. The project included a new box-office and bars, floor finishes, lighting and signage and the complete refurbishment of the lower ground floor bar as an all-day café. Our design strategy proposed the use of simple removable plywood joinery, hardwood floors and white-painted walls throughout.

For phase 3, our third project with the theatre was completed in 2019, with the scheme improving accessibility and the much maligned WC provision in a complete transformation of front of house spaces. A new main entrance from Waterloo Road with new stair and lift serving the basement and ground floor was inserted into the Grade II* listed theatre by relocating the rear wall of the auditorium. This created a more spacious foyer and box office that is accessible for the first time, in addition to providing new front-of-house wheelchair access into the re-raked stalls.

Working with Interior Designer Rebecca Richwhite, the new bar spaces and WCs revitalise the front of house experience and create an all-day destination. Carefully selected materials explore texture and colour through the use of tactile elements such as Clayworks textured wall and ceiling finishes and exposed mild steel, along with theatrical touches by Old Vic Associate Artist Rob Howell and Lighting Designer Hugh Vanstone.

We set out to make changes to The Old Vic that were reflective of the needs of today’s audiences and our local community. An accessible front of house, new lift, 10 auditorium wheelchair spaces, double the loo provision, an additional bar …. all feel like significant steps towards securing The Old Vic’s future as an artistic powerhouse and a vital civic resource

Kate Varah
Executive Director


Project Information

  • Client
  • The Old Vic
  • Interiors
  • Rebecca Richwhite
  • Project Manager
  • Buro Four
  • Project Manager
  • Plann
  • Cost Consultant
  • Aecom
  • Theatre Consultants
  • Charcoal Blue
  • Access Consultants
  • David Bonnett Associates
  • M&E
  • E3
  • Structural Engineer
  • Momentum Engineering
  • Contractor
  • RISE Contracts
  • Fire Consultants
  • The Fire Surgery