Matthew Warchus has extended his tenure as artistic director of the Old Vic for an additional three years in order to oversee the completion of the theatre’s major new capital project.
The director took over running the theatre from Kevin Spacey in 2015, on a contract that was due to end in 2020.
However, he has now confirmed he will continue to lead the London venue until 2023 as it continues its redevelopment with the creation of an on-site education hub.
Warchus admitted that moving from a freelance career to running a building had been “a very strange experience”, but said he would now “miss it way too much to go back to just directing”.
He told The Stage: “After 30 years of directing, you can get a little bit tired or disillusioned, or [feel like] you’ve reached your horizons. It’s not the buzz of an opening night or a production going well that are the real stand-out things, though I feel lucky when that happens, but it’s when I walk around front of house and see 60 school kids waiting to come in and have their first experience with theatre.”
“Three more years of working to really build and strengthen the social mission aspect of the theatre is very fulfilling for me,” he said, adding he hoped the completed capital project and the theatre’s renewed focus on its community engagement would be “a meaningful legacy” for his and executive director Kate Varah’s tenures.
Warchus was speaking at the unveiling of the Old Vic’s redeveloped font-of-house spaces, which include double the number of women’s toilets, improved accessibility and a new food and drink offering.
The theatre also formally launched a £12 million project to create an education and community annexe, which will provide on-site facilities for this work.
The five-storey extension will also include a studio space, enabling the Old Vic to stage small-scale work for the first time.