May 2018

The Old Vic at 200: How RBC supports this iconic London theatre

Without government subsidy, The Old Vic needs corporate benefactors like RBC to survive. CNBC talks with Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Capital Markets Europe and Kate Varah, Executive Director of the theatre to find out why this partnership is so important.

The Old Vic’s landmark 200th birthday on 11 May presented a unique opportunity to celebrate the theatre’s rich heritage but, more importantly, to look ahead to its bright future and ensure The Old Vic continues to play an integral, creative role in society. As the theatre’s Principal Partner, the bicentennial celebrations and activities raised the profile of the RBC brand with The Old Vic’s broad audience, including the local community, corporate clients and ultra-high net-worth supporters. Our support means that one of the world’s most iconic and indispensable creative hubs can continue to create a powerful legacy for generations to come.

Since our partnership began in late 2015, RBC’s transformational support has enabled the theatre to deliver 11 world premieres, three new adaptations, four family shows, six revivals and two dance productions. These have been enjoyed by over 700,000 theatre goers, with over 140,000 bookers coming through The Old Vic’s doors for the very first time. The impact the theatre is making in London, and the global, cultural scene is remarkable. In its 200th year, perhaps more than any other, The Old Vic is embodying theatre manager Lilian Baylis’ saying ‘Dare Always Dare’ and we are delighted to part of this incredibly exciting and daring journey. On the anniversary Artistic Director Matthew Warchus said: ‘The beloved Old Vic Theatre, named after a princess but sounding like a pub, is 200 years old. Situated like a beacon, right at the geographical centre of our capital, it occupies a unique place in the hearts of innumerable theatregoers and theatre-makers as London’s local theatre. Its special identity was established by the inimitable Lilian Baylis who ran the company from 1912 to 1937. Her tenacious, assertive, daring and celebratory vision pervades the bones of the building to this day. At this anniversary, we celebrate The Old Vic’s iconic and iconoclastic history and look forward to a long and vibrant future as an exciting, welcoming and uplifting hub of creativity. This is your theatre, so come along and celebrate with us.’

RBC is incredibly proud to be Principal Partner of The Old Vic, enabling the theatre to deliver more content, to more people, across more productions than ever before. Together, RBC and The Old Vic are committed to promoting world-class excellence in the arts and to strengthening the social fabric of the communities in which we live and work. As an organisation, we recognise the vital role that creativity plays in building vibrant, engaged, strong communities and economies so investing in the arts is a long standing priority. Our connection with the theatre has powerful echoes of the work started in 1982 when Canadian theatre impresario Ed Mirvish saved The Old Vic and restored the auditorium back to its 19th century glory. This investment three decades ago ensured that the theatre survived the threat of redevelopment and further prospered under the protection of The Old Vic Theatre Trust established in 2000 by Sally Greene, OBE.