London’s Old Vic has unveiled a programme of audience engagement work, which will be delivered online while its building is closed.
Titled Your Old Vic, it includes archive recordings of shows, a digital education hub for young people, supported by Matt Smith and Claire Foy, moving its youth employment and training scheme online and setting up a pen-pal scheme for over 60s and primary school children.
Smith and Foy, who starred together in the Old Vic’s production of Lungs, are ambassadors of the Old Vic Education Hub.
Created for homeschooling, emerging talent and anyone with an interest in theatre, the hub includes teacher resource packs, careers advice and behind-the-scenes videos.
Interviews include Lucy Prebble, Tom Scutt, Tim Minchin, Conor McPherson and Emma Rice.
The Old Vic’s youth employment programme, Front Line, has also been moved online, to help people with skills such as CV and cover letter writing and interview techniques.
It will include weekly mentoring sessions and online training in teamwork and customer service.
The Old Vic has also revealed plans to release archive recordings of shows staged during Matthew Warchus’ tenure for free, beginning with a filmed version of A Monster Calls.
Sally Cookson’s devised adaptation of the novel will be streamed for free on YouTube on June 5 and will be available for a week.
Warchus said: "I’m very happy to announce this array of free online content, which we aim to be fun, engaging, useful and supportive to our various audiences during this difficult time.
"We are facing a tough and even perilous year ahead, fighting for our survival like so many others in the cultural sector. But while our building is dormant, its heart is still beating and our sense of purpose – as an artistic powerhouse, fuelled by a spirit of fun and adventure, with an equally strong social mission – is stronger than ever."
Elsewhere, the theatre has announced its intention to stage a major artistic celebration of the NHS in 2021.
The event, currently in development, will chart the life of the NHS from its inception in 1948 to the present day.
In celebration of the NHS’ 70th anniversary in 2018, the Old Vic commissioned and staged a series of monologues, which will now be released on YouTube weekly alongside a new commission by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo.
The first will be released on May 14.