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100 years ago: Doors save the Old Vic.

10 June 2022

June 9th, 1922.

THE Observer has been most zealous in its effort to save the “Old Vic.” from its difficulties, and it is fortunate in being able to announce that one of its readers is generously finding the balance of the £30,000 needed to secure the future of the famous theatre. It is both a splendid and a timely gift. Miss Baylis and all who have played at the “Old Vic.” have worked under conditions of the greatest difficulty. It has been impossible to carry out all the requirements of the County Council, or to provide adequately for the needs of the most modest of repertory theatres. The audience has put up, very willingly, with accommodation which contrasts sharply with that of other theatres. The players have been cramped in their dressing-rooms. Storage and workrooms have had to be found at a distance, repairs have been almost dangerously postponed. Yet, in spite of every disadvantage, the “Old Vic.” has made a most valuable contribution to English drama. During the war it was almost alone among London theatres in offering plays which were not an insult to intelligence. It has done far more than any theatre or company for Shakespeare. It has given their first opportunities to actors and actresses who are now foremost in their art, and it has done good service to music. A foreigner in London might well marvel at the national indifference which allowed such art as the “Old Vic.” offers to be so meanly housed on the unfashionable side of the river. And that indifference might have shaken even the courage of Miss Baylis had she not been supported by the loyalty of the players and the audiences whom her enthusiasm inspired. We congratulate her and all associated with her on this well-merited reward of their work.

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