Education & Community Projects at The Old Vic in 2023

The Old Vic shares more information on the Education & Community projects coming to the theatre in 2023. Alongside the return of established programmes including Schools Club, Take the Lead, The Long Covid Wellness Project, Matinee Idols and OV Backstage, The Old Vic also welcomes new community and schools-focused initiatives, such as One Voice and Take the Lead Primary. 2023 will also welcome the return of workshops and programmes for emerging theatre professionals OV Theatre Makers, OV Facilitators and Front Line.

This programme follows the launch of a new online platform called The Hub, a platform with over 60 industry assets available for free, globally. Launched in November 2022, The Hub has amassed 60,414 page views across 104 countries in its first two months.

Last year, building work on The Old Vic’s new space The Annex also began. Once completed, The Annex will be an exciting new arts space in the heart of South London, which will allow The Old Vic to double the number of education, community and artist development participants they work with. The Annex is scheduled for completion in winter 2024. Find out more here.

The Old Vic’s Education & Community programme works with people aged 6–80+ offering creative approaches to social mobility, mental health and wellbeing. Through varied programmes, the theatre builds community, opens up access to the arts and trains the emerging theatre professionals of tomorrow. This is done through bespoke workshops in schools, online or in the theatre, tickets to Old Vic productions and via innovative employability and training programmes.

In 2022, The Old Vic welcomed 6,584 learning and education participants from 32 boroughs – 4,508 participants saw Old Vic shows for free, and attended a total of 331 free workshops, working with 131 freelancers. All programmes are offered free of charge.

Hannah Fosker, Education & Community Director at The Old Vic said:

This year, we hope to build on the huge breadth of Education & Community work The Old Vic delivered in 2022. Last year for the first time since the pandemic we welcomed over 6,000 participants to The Old Vic for our in-person workshops and programmes. We also launched The Hub, a hugely ambitious free online platform and two new programmes – the Long Covid Wellness Project and OV Backstage, the latter of which offers paid placements on an Old Vic production. This year, OV Backstage participants have already begun work behind-the-scenes of our upcoming production, Sylvia.

We are looking forward to what 2023 will bring, especially as we prepare for the opening of The Annex in 2024. As we make plans for the new space, The Old Vic will pilot new strands of work. This year, we are delighted to broaden our primary school offering with a primary version of our successful employability programme, Take the Lead. 



The Hub is a totally free online resource which harnesses the creative industries both for emerging theatre makers to develop their craft and for anyone looking to develop their employability skills to navigate any industry. Over 60 new and unique pieces of content provide global audiences with a range of innovative and interactive workshops, guides, films and podcasts which cover careers and CV advice, activities to support good mental health and wellbeing plus interviews with a diverse range of our associates. It demonstrates the many ways you can pursue a career in theatre and the endless transferrable skills the creative industries can provide, regardless of your age or experience.

The Old Vic aims to add a further 30 pieces of new and exciting content between now and autumn 2023, including a new interactive set design resource, a podcast series on female representation in theatre and workbooks to help burgeoning writers and theatre makers adapt work for the stage and make their work more accessible.

The platform explores all elements of the creative industries in different formats including video workshops, career development podcasts, an interactive theatre glossary, a virtual theatre careers tour and downloadable resources that support independent learning.

The creation of The Hub has been made possible through the Digital Accelerator Programme, launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies to help cultural organisations invest in strategic improvements to their technology infrastructure.


Long Covid Wellness Project | Mar – May 23

Applications for 2023 are now open until 23 Feb

Launched in 2022, the Long Covid Wellness Project was a creative project, led by movement and voice theatre practitioners and supported by a drama therapist.

Consultants and health practitioners created a six-week programme working with 16 adults with Long Covid. Weekly sessions explored how movement and breathing techniques can be used to support fatigue, muscle and body aches, loss of strength and balance issues.

Alongside these workshops, a detailed five-month research period was carried out to gain insight on the impact of Long COVID on individuals’ day-to-day lives, mental health and wellbeing.

This project was run in partnership with the Research Department of Behavioural Science and Health at University College London. The programme will return in 2023.

We became such a close community from a group of people brought together by The Old Vic with only Long Covid in common to soon becoming a very close, caring, group who looked forward to each session. The Long Covid monster couldn’t take that from us in fact it gave us it!’ 2022 Participant

Generously supported by MariaMarina Foundation

Community Club | Jan – July 23

Applications for 23/24 programme open Summer 23

Community Club offers 10 community groups across London and the surrounding area who have experienced barriers to accessing the arts the opportunity to build a relationship with The Old Vic and one other arts venue in Lambeth through a series of workshops and performances. Over six months, participating groups receive three pre-show workshops, a backstage tour, tickets for three Old Vic productions and one at a partnering Lambeth arts venue. Group leaders also receive a CPD and networking session.

This programme is open to any community groups in London working with people aged 18+.

Generously supported by Lambeth Council through the Community Connections Fund

Matinee Idols | Six annual sessions

Registration year round

Matinee Idols is a free scheme for people over the age of 50 to discover more about The Old Vic, engage with shows, learn new skills and interests, and tackle the effects of loneliness in the local community.

I feel very blessed to be a Matinee Idol member. I feel we are really cared about and that in itself is a treasure.’  Matinee Idol participants.

12 Choirs of Christmas | Nov 2023

Applications for 23/24 programme open Summer 23

12 Choirs of Christmas supports mental health and wellbeing by partnering community groups for people aged 50+ with primary schools across London to create 12 intergenerational choirs. Each choir is supported by a musical director and has two rehearsals before they perform their live Christmas concert in the festive surroundings of The Old Vic foyer.

I heard many seniors talking about how much they appreciated singing with children, and it could be the start of further partnership between the schools/groups. It most definitely promotes wellbeing and good mental health.’ 12 Choirs Participant


OV Backstage | Jan – Feb 2023

Applications are now closed

Applications for 23/24 programme open Summer 2023

OV Backstage offers paid placements on an Old Vic production to six 18–25-year-olds from underrepresented backgrounds in the arts.

Participants shadow an industry professional across 15 paid sessions and get hands-on experience in one of the following disciplines:

  • Costume
  • Production Management
  • Set
  • Sound
  • Stage Management

The project culminates with a networking session to help participants take the next steps in their careers. Each participant will receive a fee for taking part in the programme. Additional support for travel costs is available if required.

Paapa Essiedu who, along with Director Lyndsey Turner, was involved in creating the programme during A Number in early 2022, said about OV Backstage:

‘It’s more important now than ever to open up pathways to those who are trying to build a career in the creative industries, particularly those from the global majority, which is what OV Backstage aims to do. I believe that we all have a responsibility to show the viability and vibrancy a career in theatre offers, and in that way to expand and nurture the next generation of talent.’

OV Theatre Makers | Feb 23

Applications are now closed

Applications for 23/24 programme open Summer 2023

A UK-wide free training programme for ages 18–25.

An opportunity for participants to dive into the world of theatre-making and shape the future of theatre with creatives from across the UK. During the six-month programme, participants are supported by a director and leading theatre-makers whilst exploring contemporary theatre and theatre-making practices. The toolkit of skills will allow participants to begin developing their own work.

‘I enjoyed the teamwork in the group and the respectful, non-judgemental, environment the staff created. I enjoyed the masterclasses the team set up for us. They ensured we learnt a lot and that our ideas from the course were heard.’  Participant

Generously supported by The Boshier-Hinton Foundation, Chapman Charitable Trust, CHK Foundation, Noël Coward Foundation, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Fenton Arts Trust, Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust

OV Facilitators | Apr – Jun 23

Applications open Feb 23

OV Facilitators is a highly successful creative practitioner training programme for 20 participants a year, through which participants gain advanced hands-on experience in creative facilitation, allowing them to develop key transferable skills as they prepare to lead their own workshops at the end of the programme. Past participants now work as part of The Old Vic’s freelance pool of facilitators as well as venues including The Donmar Warehouse, The Yard, Tender Education and Arts and Ministry of Stories. OV Facilitators is made possible thanks to generous support from The Old Vic Impact Fund.

Front Line Lambeth | 12 Jun – 25 Jul

Applications will open 06 March

Building on the success of our Front Line programme, Front Line Lambeth offers Lambeth residents aged 16 – 30 paid placements in one of six cultural organisations across Lambeth. The programme supports young people to take the next step in their career, into either paid employment or further training.

Participants will watch one of our productions, shadow various members of staff and take on important roles welcoming patrons to our theatre and partner organisations

‘Frontline has taught me key skills, professionalism, and networking techniques within the theatrical industry. I have learned about what people work together within their different roles on and offstage in order to bring to life a production and now understand the true importance of teamwork and collaboration.’ Front Line Lambeth Participant

Generously supported by Lambeth ELEVATE and The Worshipful Company of Grocers


Take the Lead | Jan – Mar 23

Applications are now closed

Applications for 23/24 programme open Autumn 24.

Take the Lead is a free employability programme for students in years 11–13. In 2022, The Old Vic worked with 27 schools, exploring five core employability skills – communication, self-management, self-belief, teamwork and problem-solving – utilising drama and theatre techniques. This year, Take the Lead will enter its fifth consecutive year, thanks to vital support from our Principal Partner, RBC, and our funders CVC Foundation, John Lyon’s Charity and The HW Sanderson Art in Industry Fund.

‘It’s an incredible programme and our students have been really fortunate to have had the opportunity to take part. The proportion of applications to Russell Group universities and high-level apprenticeships has shown a rapid increase since we have been taking part in Take the Lead which is a testimony to the raising of aspirations as well as confidence the students gained as part of the programme.’  Teacher involved in the 2022 project

Principal Partner Royal Bank of Canada

In association with CVC Foundation

Generously supported by John Lyon’s Charity and The HW Sanderson Art in Industry Fund

Take the Lead Primary | June 23

Applications will open Spring 23

This year, The Old Vic introduces Take the Lead Primary, which builds on the success of its inaugural secondary school programme. An estimated 85% of jobs in 2030 haven’t been created yet – resilience, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit will be key for young people’s future success. Primary Take the Lead will work with six local primary schools over a series of workshops to develop understanding, empathy and confidence in their imagination.

Schools Club | Jan – Jul 23

Applications are now closed

Applications for 23/24 programme open Summer 23.

Working with 40 schools each year, this programme is designed to encourage the next generation of theatre-makers through providing young people in years 9–13 with an introduction to a broad range of non-performing roles. Schools Club supports the curriculum and works with schools and students from areas of London with poor arts provision, inspiring students to pursue a career in the arts.

With the experience with The Old Vic, I feel like I am catching up now because I have seen more plays, I’ve got contextual knowledge of drama and it’s like really helping me right now.’ Schools Club Participant

Generously supported by Tina Alexandrou, The Broughton Family Charitable Trust, The Hearn Foundation, Lambeth ELEVATE, Ric Lewis & The Black Heart Foundation, and two donors who wish to remain anonymous

Work Experience | Feb and Jul 23

Applications open Spring 23

Run twice a year, our work experience programme offers 30 participants aged 14–18 the opportunity to discover how a producing theatre operates, meet industry professionals and find out more about careers in the arts.

One Voice | 06 Feb – 05 June

Applications are now closed

Following the debut of four new monologues in October by professional playwrights, each examining the global issue of the growing climate emergency, three participants from our Schools Club (14–18-year-olds), Emerging Theatre Practitioner schemes (16–25-year-olds) and Matinee Idols (50+), have been selected to write a monologue as part of One Voice: Whose Planet Are You On?.

Whose Planet Are You On? is part of One Voice, a series of monologues specially commissioned by The Old Vic and funded by the TS Eliot Estate, that continues the theme of creating fresh new work which responds to the issues of today. The One Voice series was conceived by The Old Vic’s Artistic Director, Matthew Warchus.

Participants will be mentored by a professional writer and given a bursary to spend on their professional development. The project will culminate in a digital premiere of all seven monologues, available free of charge to audiences via The Old Vic’s website in summer 2023.

Funded by the TS Eliot Estate

Further projects to be announced later in the year.

To find out more about the Old Vic, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop