The Old Vic Tunnels - a unique performance space offering opportunities for young people to gain experience in production and be part of an innovative and diverse arts venue is the latest winner of the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.
Supporting a large group of 16-25 year olds working as producers, marketeers, technicians and front of house staff, The Old Vic Tunnels Volunteer Scheme has had over 300 young people take part so far, expanding their skill set and producing sell-out shows.
On presenting the award to The Old Vic Tunnels, the Prime Minister said:
This is an incredibly exciting project, bringing together young people from diverse backgrounds and offering them the chance to be part of such a creative and engaging venture at the heart of their community.
It’s a really inspiring example of the Big Society in action, giving young people responsibility, the opportunity to develop skills and confidence and to make a difference to their area at the same time. Congratulations to everyone behind the scheme and all the volunteers who have helped to make The Old Vic Tunnels such a success.
On receiving the award at Downing Street, Artistic Director of the Old Vic, Kevin Spacey said:
We’re delighted that our work at the Old Vic Tunnels has been recognised with this Award. The Old Vic has always invested a great deal of energy and investment into building programmes that connect with the communities it serves, whether by enabling local residents to watch productions at reduced prices, developing extensive educational initiatives to inspire young people or by encouraging people in our neighbourhood to take the stage and explore new ideas. The Old Vic Tunnels has given us an exciting new space where new talent can develop and where we can extend the reach of our work into the community. It has also allowed us to bring visual artists together with theatre producers and musicians to create truly innovative productions. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received so far and excited about the long term future of this unique space.
The Old Vic Tunnels:
The Old Vic Tunnels receives private sector support from Bloomberg, this core funding has been matched by v inspired, a scheme to encourage 16-25 year old volunteers.
In February 2010, The Old Vic acquired this new performance space beneath Waterloo Station from BRB (Residuary) formerly British Rail. This unique venue showcases productions, performances and installations.
The first music concert in the venue featured Villagers who received a Mercury prize for their single Becoming a Jackal.
The Old Vic Tunnels volunteers have produced an extravaganza of cross-art collaboration, the sold-out Dark Carnival: Notes from Underground.
Most recently, the Old Vic Tunnels has been home to the British premiere of Scorched, a Dialogue and Old Vic co-production by award-winning playwright Wajdi Mouawad.
Read more: Nominate someone for the Big Society Awards