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London’s Old Vic plans to overhaul frontage with neon signs and LED screens

Artist's impression of the Old Vic redesign. Photo: Bennetts Associates Artist's impression of the Old Vic redesign. Photo: Bennetts Associates
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The Old Vic is planning to overhaul its exterior for the first time in 35 years by introducing neon signs and LED screens at the front of the building.

The London theatre, built in 1818, has submitted proposals to Lambeth Council that would involve major alterations to the design of the building’s front.

Plans include installing illuminated neon signage above the existing canopy, which would display the title of the current show – similar to signs at the Royal Court – as well as introducing an illuminated Old Vic sign and installing digital screens where it currently has posters.

The Old Vic logo on the building’s rendering, installed with the last redesign in 1982, would be replaced with a larger logo painted in block lettering across the whole front of the building and along its side.

The plans also include bringing the building up to 21st-century security standards, and replacing its main entrance doors.

A clock, removed from the side of the building several decades ago, will be reinstated.

Planning documents state that the building has been designed so its facade is in line with the “bold rebranding” of the theatre that occurred after Matthew Warchus took over as artistic director in 2015.

The application claims the project will “restore and refresh the facades” in order to reflect the rebranding while also staying true to the building’s original character, and giving it more prominence on the street.

Kate Varah, the Old Vic’s executive director, said: “The proposed works forms part of a multi-phased transformational programme of investment and renewal planned for the Old Vic over the coming years. This is the first step.”

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