Inside the Old Vic

Inside the Old Vic

The photograph shows the Royal visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King George V and Queen Mary) to the Old Vic in 1910. At this time the theatre's licence did not allow plays to be presented. Entertainments consisted of films, lectures, variety bills and concert performances of operas. In 1912 Lilian Baylis obtained a dramatic licence and introduced fully staged opera and plays. Between 1920 and 1925 the drama company became the first ever to stage every Shakespeare play (except Cymbeline). By the mid 1920s, the Old Vic had become the only place where actors could learn to play Shakespeare. Until 1923 the backstage and workshops were shared between the theatrical companies and Morley College. The foyer was a working men's café and the 'Peace and Plenty' restaurant. Until the lease ran out in 1927, cooking smells and the clatter of plates permeated the auditorium.