Prince of Wales announced as patron of The Old Vic
There will be a partnership between the theatre and The Prince’s Trust.
The Prince of Wales has been announced as the new royal patron of The Old Vic to mark the theatre’s bicentennial year in 2018.
To mark the patronage and the birthday, the theatre and The Prince’s Trust have formed a partnership to provide four work placements a year for young people.
The theatre will offer placements for participants in the charity’s Get Hired projects and will train, and in some cases hire, front of house staff from other Prince’s Trust programmes for its flagship employability project, Front Line.
In a letter introducing The Old Vic’s bicentenary year, Charles said: “As The Old Vic celebrates this remarkable milestone, I can only congratulate its staff and supporters on all that has been achieved so far and I wish this great national institution every possible success for the next two hundred years.”
Kate Varah, executive director of The Old Vic, said: “The Old Vic is more than a theatre. A commitment to educating the next generation has been a part of its DNA for 199 years (for 40 years of them an education college was even run backstage).
“As we approach our bicentenary in 2018, with HRH The Prince of Wales as our Royal Patron, this happy collaboration with The Prince’s Trust allows us to demonstrate the wide benefits that theatre, this theatre, brings.
“Creativity, confidence, perseverance, problem solving, are all skills gained by the young people that take part in our employability programmes each year.
“For many, this is where they take the next vital step in their lives towards employment and independence.”
Dame Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust, added that she hopes the theatre’s 200th birthday is “an amazing celebration of British culture”.
She said: “Since HRH The Prince of Wales founded The Prince’s Trust more than 40 years ago we’ve supported 870,000 young people.
“We’re really excited that this new partnership with The Old Vic will give even more young people the opportunity to create a brighter future.”
The bicentenary season begins with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens this winter, while productions for 2018 will be announced in the autumn.
The royal family has had a long history with the theatre, dating back to before it even opened on May 11 1818, when it was named the Royal Coburg.
Princess Charlotte of Wales laid the foundation stone for the building in 1816 and in 1833 Princess Victoria, aged 14, was brought to see a ballet at the theatre.
After she became queen, it became affectionately known as The Old Vic.
Its centenary gala in 1918 was presided over by Queen Mary and in October 1929 the Queen Mother unveiled a plaque on the front of the theatre in honour of its benefactress Emma Cons.
The Old Vic will restore this plaque during the bicentenary year to honour the dedication Cons had to social work and to helping others, as well as the contribution of her niece Lilian Baylis, whose mantra “Dare, Always Dare” is displayed in the foyer.