Lambeth council has approved a loan of £3.75 million for a new education and community centre at the Old Vic, joining neighbouring borough Southwark in backing the theatre’s major capital project.
It is part of a collaborative funding arrangement between the two London boroughs, which between them are giving a £7.5 million loan to the Old Vic to enable development of the hub.
Southwark council approved its funding in July, with Lambeth also agreeing to their side of the deal, both under 10-year repayment plans.
Known as the Annex, the hub will provide on-site facilities to house the Old Vic’s education and community work, including its programmes for young people and residents from Lambeth and Southwark, which both border the south London theatre.
The £12 million project will comprise a new performance space for the Old Vic, enabling it to stage studio theatre for the first time.
Other plans for the five-storey extension include creating a free play text library for schools and an on-site cafe and workspace.
The additional space will allow the Old Vic to introduce a number of new community and education programmes such as hosting a choir as part of a social prescribing scheme with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation and a crime-reduction programme tackling violence among young people. There will also be training and skills sessions to nurture new on and offstage theatre talent.
Old Vic executive director Kate Varah said: “We are absolutely delighted that both Lambeth and Southwark Borough councils are enabling this important development to begin. Time and time again, they have backed investment in cultural infrastructure that results in an improvement in employability and social mobility for local people. This vision and dedication is to be celebrated.”
She described the Annex as a vital part of the ambition to sustain the theatre “as an artistic adventurer and civic resource for the next 200 years”.