Reported in The Guardian newspaper, Tim Ronalds – who ran the Hackney Empire renovation – has called for a £13 million facelift for the Waterloo venue. Ronalds made his pronouncement after being commissioned to investigate the Old Vic. It means a big headache for Kevin Spacey — whose company is resident there — and the owner and CEO of the theatre, Sally Greene. Ronalds insists that the work is vital. The Old Vic, he says, has structural problems that include a badly shaped auditorium and a roof that leaks (since the theatre was bombed in 1941, it has been covered with a temporary asbestos roof).
Greene told the newspaper that the renovation would go ahead, but that the theatre would not be closed while structural work was going on. “We’ve been assured that we don’t have to close the theatre in order to do it,” she said, “so we have no intention of stopping while the work is carried out.” She hopes to get the funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Greene believes the fact that the theatre isn’t government-subsidized already means that it’s got a high chance of success. “I am quite optimistic,” she said.
Plans for the Old Vic Theatre Company include The Philadelphia Story up next with Spacey to star and — due later in 2005 — Richard II, again with Spacey in the lead.